•Smoking has been linked to a lot of inflammatory conditions.
•While swelling caused in the process is not pleasant, it is a way that the body protects itself from further harm.
Type 2 diabetes has long been considered to be an inflammatory condition.
According to Diabetes self-management, other factors play a role in the development of type 2 diabetes, but inflammation is most certainly involved.
But what exactly is inflammation and what can you do to stop it?
Inflammation is the process in which the body’s immune system kicks into full gear to fight off harmful things, such as injury, bacteria, viruses, toxins, or heat.
There are two types of inflammations; Acute inflammation which is mild, often accompanied by redness or swollenness that can go away on its own, and Chronic inflammation; which is longer lasting and more painful.
For chronic inflammation, healthy organs and tissues may be attacked by inflammatory cells.
While swelling caused in the process is not pleasant, it is a way that the body protects itself from further harm.
In a study, researchers suggested that type 2 diabetes may start as a result, in part, of obesity and extra fat in the stomach area, causing fat cells to produce chemicals that lead to inflammation.
There are other factors such as genetics and lifestyle conditions that may result in the body becoming less “sensitive” to insulin with type 2 diabetes, and the resulting insulin resistance can also lead to inflammation.
This causes a person's blood sugars to creep up higher and higher, eventually leading to type 2 diabetes.
If you have type 2 diabetes or are at risk for type 2 diabetes, medication may play a key role in helping you to manage this condition.
But experts advise not to overlook the role of lifestyle steps that you can take to either prevent type 2 diabetes in the first place or to help manage type 2 diabetes and limit the chances of complications.
Here is what you can do
Drop the refined carbohydrates
Diabetes experts advise people to limit refined carbohydrates (carb) foods, such as white bread, white pasta, white rice, sugary drinks, and foods that contain refined sugars.
“If possible, try and include more “anti-inflammatory” foods in your eating plan. Examples are vegetables, whole fruits, whole grains, fatty fish, nuts, seeds, and healthy oils such as olive oil,” they said.
- Include foods rich in anti-oxidants in your diet
In a generation that is embracing fast foods, research indicates that fast food promotes insulin resistance, which can lead to type 2 diabetes, as well as weight gain.
“Focusing on foods that are rich in polyphenols, types of antioxidants that can lower inflammation. Examples are berries, cherries, plums, red grapes, onions, spinach, kale, walnuts, almonds, and legumes (beans),” they said.
Tea, coffee, and red wine are beverages that contain phenols (but talk with your dietitian or provider about amounts that are safe for you to drink).
- Include white meat in your diet
Kenyans are known for their love of red meat. According to research red meats and processed meat are high in saturated fat, which can increase inflammation.
The study, published in Diabetes Care by researchers from the Harvard Chan School found that frequent use of high-heat cooking methods (such as broiling, barbecuing/grilling, and roasting) to prepare beef and chicken increased the risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Cut back on spicy foods
Herbs and spices can influence blood sugar. Researchers suggest cooking or preparing meals with these anti-inflammatory herbs and spices: Turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, cumin, cloves, basil, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, parsley, and peppermint.
But thorough research and consultation have to be done before you include them in your diet since some spices like chilli are likely to raise your blood glucose.
- Engage in more physical activities
Physical activity should be part of your daily routine. Go for that 30-minute early or evening walk.
This helps the body to release anti-inflammatory chemicals and also helps the body use insulin more efficiently, thereby reducing insulin resistance.
Physical activity also helps better your blood sugar level.
- Cut back on alcohol, drink more water
Experts advise going easy on alcohol.
Small amounts of alcohol (such as red wine) may be helpful, but overdoing it can worsen inflammation. Do not start drinking alcohol if you don’t drink already.
- Quit smoking
Smoking has been linked to a lot of inflammatory conditions. We all know it is bad for our health.
“The nicotine in tobacco activates certain white blood cells, called neutrophils, that release molecule that can increase inflammation, “
This is according to the November 2016 issue of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology.
Tobacco use is associated with other harmful effects on the body, as well.
- Reducing stress.
Stress is a part of life for most of us, but you can lessen and manage it.
“The body responds to acute or short-term stress by enacting the fight-or-flight response; this response releases adrenaline and cortisol to speed up heart rate, breathing, and muscle contraction (so that you can run away if you need to!)," they say.
Constant stress causes the stress response to stay turned on and that can eventually lead to chronic inflammation.
Finding ways to reduce stress can help you turn off that stress response.