Nowadays, it's prevalent to hear about inflammation. When an outside agent enters your body, it sends cells to help attack the foreign object or to help it heal it (like in wounds).If your body sends these cells without any foreign entity, it might be due to chronic inflammation.
Many things can affect chronic inflammation, like poor sleep, stress, and bad eating habits. All of them can impact your inflammation levels, leading to chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and mental disease (like Alzheimer's).
While there are many ways you can fight inflammation, one of them is changing your diet completely. The 4Rs diet is often used to help fight inflammation.
This article will explore everything related to the 4Rs diet. We'll discuss what it is, how to do it, and additional tips to help you reduce chronic inflammation.
What Is Chronic Inflammation?
There are two types of inflammation:
- Acute inflammation
- Chronic inflammation
Acute inflammation is a one-time response in your body. For example, you cut yourself while chopping some vegetables. Your body starts sending signals to help with the healing process.
On the other hand, chronic inflammation is when your body continuously sends inflammatory cells even though there is no outside danger. This leaves your body in a constant state of alert.
Studies show that chronic inflammation can be one of the reasons for the appearance of diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
Symptoms of Chronic Inflammation
There are specific symptoms to determine if you have chronic inflammation. Here is a list of some of the most common signs.
- Body pain
- Stomach issues (poor digestion, bloating, diarrhea, constipation)
- Weight gain
- Trouble losing weight
- Depression or anxiety
The duration of these symptoms depends on how fast you start making lifestyle changes. This means that they can last months or even years.
The 4Rs is a four-step protocol to help you reduce inflammation. It stands for remove, replace, reintroduce, and repair.
Let's talk about each one of them.
The first step is to remove all those things that are causing inflammation. You can remove several things: stress, foods, and pathogens.
Stress can have a direct impact on your digestion and absorption of your nutrients. When you are stressed, your body produces more cortisol and adrenaline. Both hormones have a massive effect on your body.
Stress-relieving techniques like breathing exercises, meditation, exercise, and art therapy can help you manage your stress levels.
Allergenic foods might be one of the main reasons you get inflammatory symptoms. After all, you have heard the saying, "you are what you eat."
Some of the most common allergenic foods are sugar, alcohol, dairy, eggs, gluten, grains, pseudo-grains (quinoa), legumes (beans, lentils, chickpeas), GMOs, and nightshades (tomatoes, peppers, and potatoes).
Since you are removing several foods, you must replace them with gut-friendly food. Include many non-starchy vegetables, high-quality protein, healthy fats (avocado, nuts, and seeds), and dairy substitutes.
Finally, eliminate any outside pathogens that might be causing your harm like bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites, toxic substances, and yeast infections. Make sure to get the proper testing to determine if you have any of these in your system.
Once you remove stress and those substances jeopardizing your immune system, you must assess whether you have good digestion. This can be checked if you have adequate levels of stomach acids and digestive enzymes.
If you don't know if you can have poor digestion due to low stomach acid or digestive enzymes, you can get a test lab to determine it.
If your lab results indicate poor digestion, you can take digestive enzymes before meals to aid food processing. This will help better digest proteins, fats, and carbs to avoid gastric problems.
Also, make sure to replace the foods previously mentioned with high-quality foods.
Once you remove those foods causing you harm, you need to reintroduce probiotics (healthy bacteria) to reestablish your gut microbiome.
There are two ways you can restore your gut microbiome. You can take a probiotic supplement to ensure you get high-quality bacteria. The second method is to include fermented food, which has natural probiotics.
Include foods like kimchi, kefir, sauerkraut, and yogurt.
Besides having a probiotic, you need to have a prebiotic as well. This is the food that feeds those bacteria. That is why they need to go hand in hand.
You can take a prebiotic supplement rich in inulin, fructooligosaccharides, or arabinogalactans. You can also include high prebiotic foods like oatmeal, apples, and bananas.
Also Read: Fermented Foods or Probiotics?
Finally, after a couple of weeks of taking probiotics and prebiotics, you can take additional supplements to help support your gut microbiome.
So, which supplements can you take to support your gut health?
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Vitamin D
While you can include foods high in these nutrients, taking a supplement can assure the quality and quantity for you to get the amount you need.
Additional Tips To Reduce Inflammation
There are other things to consider when it comes to helping you reduce inflammation. Including some of these tips can aid along with the 4Rs diet.
- Exercise. Practice at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week to help you reduce inflammation and strengthen your gut microbiome.
- Food journal. Make sure to have a food journal to write down everything you eat and your mood. This can help you determine any time you have a reaction and create patterns in your food and mood.
- Optimal hydration levels are crucial for helping your body function properly. If you don't know how much to drink, divide your weight in pounds by half to give you the number of ounces, or multiply your weight in kilograms by 35 to provide you with the number of milliliters. For example, if you weigh 200 lbs, you should consume 100 oz of water, or if you weigh 70 kg, you should have 2,450 mL.
The Bottom Line
Chronic inflammation has a lot of negative repercussions, like an increased risk of chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease. The right foods and supplements can help heal your gut microbiome, which helps reduce inflammation.
The 4Rs diet, which means remove, replace, reintroduce, and repair, can be one of the ways to help you reduce inflammation.