Inflammation goes hand in hand with many health conditions. Inflammation is a response the body uses to heal an injury or infection. When the inflammatory response goes haywire, it can damage tissue and cells.
Chronic inflammation is linked to Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis. Studies are ongoing to find why inflammation has a role in these chronic health conditions, but there is a lot of research that does believe there’s a connection.
For this reason, your parents need to take measures to manage the inflammatory response that’s always present. Diet and exercise are two of the ways to do so. Here’s a closer look at what your parents can do to help manage inflammation.
Learn to Manage Stress
It’s impossible to avoid all stress, but your parents can learn to better manage it. When stress builds, exercise is one way to ease it. It’s not the only way.
Talking about the things that are stressing you, rather than bottling it up, helps with stress management. Learning to stop negative self-talk, distracting yourself with a favorite activity or hobby, or blasting music and dancing or singing along also helps.
Thirty minutes of exercise should be your parents’ goal every day. If they need to skip days, it’s not the end of the world, but experts feel 150 minutes per week should be the bare minimum. Make sure they’re getting enough exercise.
Walking is one of the best exercises for older adults. It’s not hard on the joints and helps ease stress and inflammation. A 30-minute walk around the neighborhood or on a local nature trail is a good place to start.
Add Anti-Inflammatory Foods to the Diet
A proper diet can help ease inflammation. Processed foods, lots of sugar, and saturated fats don’t help. Instead, your parents need to eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and fiber. Lean proteins, especially fish that have high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, are also beneficial.
Each day, try to eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables. Greens like broccoli, white cauliflower, purple cabbage, and orange carrots are good. Things like yellow bell peppers, blueberries, red raspberries round out the rainbow.
Whole grains that don’t have simple carbohydrates are ideal. Whole barley, whole oats, quinoa, and farro are good choices. Dried beans are high in fiber, too.
A healthier diet and exercise may help your mom and dad lose weight. Weight loss also helps ease inflammation. Make sure the foods your parents eat aren’t contributing to weight gain.
If they need someone to help cook their meals, talk to caregivers. Caregivers can come up with a weekly menu with meals that contain these anti-inflammatory foods. They can take your parents shopping and cook meals. Call to ask about prices.
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