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How Your Diet Affects Your Body

People think about food as something that makes them sad. They’re sad when it makes them gain weight. They’re sad when they have to eat healthy. They’re sad either way. That makes me so sad to see all this sadness associated with the wonders of food!

Your diet directly affects your body’s internal environment, and you are a reflection of that environment. Many of America’s biggest health concerns — depression, fatigue, anxiety — are directly linked to an unhealthy diet. Fortunately, your body reflects a healthy diet, too.

If you get a sunburn and your skin turns a bit red, that’s inflammation. If you sprain your ankle and it swells, that’s inflammation. When your body is exposed to some form of damage, it sends out the cleanup crew, which leads to inflammation.

This doesn’t just happen with injuries. When you eat inflammatory foods, you create damage along the lining of your gut. Meanwhile, your blood vessels get coated with fat plaques that can lead to heart attacks and strokes. Your inflammatory crew needs to take care of these, too, but if it’s busy cleaning up all the time from unhealthy food choices, it has fewer resources to fight off other diseases and infections.

Here’s the other thing: anti-inflammatory pills don’t work. It’s not just vitamin C that keeps you healthy, but also all of the other things in oranges or broccoli that help your body absorb vitamin C naturally. You can’t pill your way into health. You actually have to eat healthy foods.

Inflammation isn’t that great. It leaves you feeling achy, tired, and grumpy. Plus, you’re more likely to experience depression and anxiety or to develop irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis, and other joint issues.

People often want the quick fix. They think they can just eat junk and then take a probiotic, but it doesn’t work that way. If your lawn is completely filled with weeds, throwing a few healthy grass seeds out there is not going to make much of a difference. You’ve got to get rid of the weeds.

Fortunately, there are plenty of anti-inflammatory foods to help out your natural cleaning crew. Aside from the oranges and broccoli I mentioned, I advise you to eat as many veggies as you want, along with nutrient-rich food like salmon, avocados, and nuts.

You’d be amazed how fast inflammation goes away just by changing your diet. Eating well really can do wonders for your body. It literally changes your body’s chemistry, which in turn changes the way you feel.

When you eat unhealthily, all those foods tell your body messages that it’s in an inflammatory environment, that food is not readily plentiful, and that it needs to store every type of calorie it takes in. No matter what you eat, actually, your food sends your body messages, and your body responds. If you’re only putting garbage in, you can only feel like garbage, because that’s all that is available.

If you’re unsure whether you’re in an inflammatory state, ask yourself if you have any of the following symptoms:

If you answered in the affirmative to any of those symptoms, the next thing to do is take a look at how many inflammatory foods are in your diet. Although you could have underlying medical conditions as well (in which case, see your doctor!), many of these symptoms should improve with good healthy lifestyle habits.

By being mindful about what you eat and adopting a healthy diet full of anti-inflammatory foods, you’ll likely find yourself feeling better both physically and mentally.

Dr. Jaime Hope is a dual board-certified physician working outside of Detroit, Michigan, in one of the busiest emergency departments in the country. In over twelve years on the job, she has learned that no matter what brought her patients to the ER, they all want the same thing: to live happier, healthier lives. Today, whether she’s helping patients, teaching future doctors, or engaging the local community, Dr. Hope is showing others how to create better habits and make healthy living fun, practical, and accessible.

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