9 Ways To Reduce Inflammation
If you're familiar with inflammation, there's good reason. We hear about inflammation just about everywhere lately, and if you are wondering why, I'll be providing some more insight here.
Let's talk about the two types first.
There is both acute and chronic inflammation. Acute inflammation is part of the body's normal response to infection or injury. An example is when you cut your finger and experience redness or swelling. Your body then releases white blood cells to protect the area and start the healing process.
Chronic inflammation is quite different. It is slow, long-term inflammation lasting for extended periods of time. It can be anywhere from several months to years and can damage the body.
Chronic inflammation is the root cause of many diseases and often linked with obesity, type 2 diabetes, autoimmune disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and chronic stress.
Now that you have a better understanding of the two types of inflammation, let me share some more about chronic inflammation, the more concerning type.
If you are experiencing chronic inflammation, you have the ability to ease inflammation in the body and reduce the risk of chronic diseases by adopting an anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle. And, there's more good news! It doesn't take months or years to see results. You can start reaping the health benefits in as little as 1-2 weeks.
So what are some good health habits that you can start today?
Start with your grocery list.
Food and drinks with processed sugars and refined carbohydrates release inflammatory messengers, while fruits and vegetables help the body fight against oxidative stress which can trigger inflammation. Eat a rainbow of colors when it comes to fruits and veggies, all of which have anti-inflammatory nutrients that your body needs.
Focus on a whole foods diet with simple ingredients. Eat more wild fatty fish (salmon, tuna, sardines), organic vegetables, healthy fats (nuts, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, flaxseed) and whole grains.
Balance your blood sugar.
Focus on a combination of fiber, protein and healthy fat when eating your meals. Eating balanced meals with this combination is key to keeping blood sugar levels stable which in turn helps you avoid cravings, hunger, and irritability. Avoiding highs and lows in blood sugar levels prevents inflammation in the body that can lead to chronic conditions like obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
Getting 7-8 hours of quality, uninterrupted sleep is critical for your health and reducing inflammation. "Chronic, insufficient sleep can negatively affect immune cells, which may lead to inflammatory disorders and cardiovascular disease", according to a new study from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
The research published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine states this can have a long-lasting impact on inflammation and contribute to inflammatory diseases. The study is also the first to show that catching up on sleep doesn't reverse the effects of sleep disruption. ZZZ's please!
It's well known by now that exercise has positive benefits for our health including weight management and helping reduce many chronic conditions. But, did you know that it only takes 20-minutes of moderate exercise like a brisk walk to help reduce inflammatory blood markers? So, lace up and get moving!
Spices have been around for thousands of years and used since ancient time for their many medicinal properties. Try spicing up some of your favorite dishes with garlic, turmeric, cinnamon, cumin and ginger for their anti-inflammatory benefits.
If you're hooked on your cups of "Joe", try swapping your afternoon mug for green tea instead. Green tea has antioxidants called catechins, which reduce inflammation. Green tea contains EGCG, the most powerful type of catechin. Other types of tea have this too, but green tea has the most benefits.
Remove dairy and gluten.
Dairy and gluten are highly inflammatory foods. Even if you do not have an allergy, intolerance, or autoimmune disease, you may find it beneficial to remove them from your diet for a few weeks while incorporating an anti-inflammatory diet. You can then slowly start to incorporate dairy or gluten back into your diet and see if they cause any irritation.
Learning how to manage stress is key to managing inflammation. No matter how healthy your diet is, if stress is continuously high, you will experience inflammation. Finding healthy ways to cope is key. For example--meditating, deep breathing exercises, journaling, and nature walks all provide quick and long term stress relief and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Are you familiar with the ingredients on your food labels? Head over to your pantry or fridge and take a look. Please throw out anything you can't pronounce or with more than 5 ingredients on the label. Here are some sneaky inflammatory ingredients lurking around in your food.
Artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols
High-fructose corn syrup
Trans fats and partially hydrogenated oils
Refined oils such as canola, soybean and vegetable oil
Now that you're more familiar with both types of inflammation, if you weren't already, what will you do today to fight chronic inflammation?
To your health & happiness,