Inflammation is caused by a variety of factors; diet, lack of exercise, stress, environmental factors, and chronic health conditions can all contribute to this often uncomfortable and potentially dangerous reaction in the body. Inflammation causes chemicals from your body’s white blood cells to enter your blood or tissues to protect your body from invaders. This process raises your blood flow to the inflamed area, often causing redness and/or warmth. Additionally, some of the chemicals can cause fluid to leak into your tissues, resulting in swelling and discomfort.
There are dozens of prescription medications given to those who suffer from chronic inflammation, but if daily meds aren’t something you want to explore just yet, a healthy and active routine every day can often help you control and even reduce excess inflammation.
According to the experts at Harvard Medical, one of the most powerful tools to combat inflammation comes from the grocery store. “Many experimental studies have shown that components of foods or beverages may have anti-inflammatory effects,” says Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health.
Along with a healthy diet of inflammatory-fighting foods, exercises such as yoga and mindful meditation can help fight chronic inflammatory conditions. A study conducted by University of Wisconsin-Madison neuroscientists found that people suffering from chronic inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and asthma — in which psychological stress plays a major role — may benefit from mindfulness meditation techniques.
Following this daily routine of exercise, meditation, and consuming inflammatory-fighting foods can help you control excess inflammation.
Create A Solid Sleep Routine— And Stick To It
Research has found lack of sleep both contributes to and increases inflammation. Staring at screens, whether you’re doom scrolling on your phone or throwing on a good Netflix show, can mess with your body’s ability to fall into a deep, restful sleep.
Your sleep cycle, as well as inflammation, are both regulated by the same biorhythms. Sleep is regulation by circadian rhythms, the 24-hour cycle that’s part of your body’s internal clock. One of the most important circadian rhythms is the sleep-wake cycle. This master clock is directly influenced by environmental cues, especially light, which is why circadian rhythms are tied to the cycle of day and night. When you stare at a screen, this confuses your brain and tells it that it’s not nighttime yet.
Circadian rhythms additionally regulate our immune system, which directly affects our levels of inflammation. Disrupt this cycle, and you’ll be more prone to inflammation. Too little and too much sleep both mess with your circadian rhythms, so creating a solid and consistent sleep routine will reinforce the healthy circadian rhythms that control both our sleep and our immune function, including inflammation.
Turn off your television and put down the smartphone at least 30 minutes to an hour before bed. Most adults benefit from between 7 and 9 hours of sleep a night, so don’t hit that snooze button too many times in the morning. If you’re getting quality sleep, you won’t need to anyway.
Plan Out Your Meals Ahead Of Time
Whether you meal prep or write out a list of what to consume during the day, be sure to track your diet to ensure you’re getting the right amounts of nutrients your body needs to fight off inflammation. You’ll need to significantly reduce your intake of sugar, dairy, and other potentially triggering foods like processed meats.
Be sure your diet includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, especially leafy greens, as well as fatty fish such as salmon or mackerel or tuna. Fiber and healthy fats, such as olive oil and avocado, will also help your body properly digest. It’s not about becoming so obsessively restricted in your diet that you can’t enjoy any sort of guilty pleasures, but it’s more about adding in as many of inflammation-fighting foods as possible each day.
An anti-inflammatory diet should include these foods:
- olive oil
- green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and collards
- nuts like almonds and walnuts
- fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines
- fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges
You can even be crafty and mix olive oil with the anti-inflammatory spice turmeric in lieu of heavy, sodium and sugar-filled dressings on your leafy greens salads. Top that salad off with some fresh salmon and chopped nuts, and you’ve got a meal ready to fight back.
Cut Back On The Booze
One glass of wine could have anti-inflammatory benefits. Research has shown that drinking an occasional glass of red wine is good for you. It contains antioxidants and can help protect against heart disease as well as harmful inflammation, among other benefits. Interestingly, red wine likely has higher levels of antioxidants than white wine.
But drinking more than one can easily have the opposite effect. Alcohol causes inflammation in the intestines and impairs the body’s ability to regulate that inflammation. Additionally, inflammation worsens alcohol-related organ damage, and excessive drinking can have serious implications for long-term health.You don’t have to cut out alcohol entirely from your diet, but significantly reducing your intake and the type of alcohol you’re consuming will have a major impact.
Instead, sip green tea, matcha, kombucha, or try an ACV-turmeric-and-honey drink that packs a serious anti-inflammatory punch.
Take A Supplement That Reduces Inflammation
This is easiest the hack of all! Incorporate daily supplements that work to reduce inflammation, such as NutraPrice’s Inflammation Support Duo. This set of supplements work together to combat the damage inflammation can cause by providing the body with omega-3 oils and powerful natural ingredients such as turmeric and black pepper.
Alongside a healthy diet, taking daily supplements can keep your body in great shape while helping you feel your best every day.
Exercise and Meditate
Researchers have begun making connections between negative emotions (such as stress and anger) and inflammation. And while a healthy diet, sleep, and supplements won’t magically erase the stressors in your life, how you manage that stress can significantly help you on your health journey.
A 20-minute session of moderate exercise can have anti-inflammatory effects. Exercise produces an anti-inflammatory cellular response, and it helps you get any stress out of your system.
At some point in your day, try to meditate! Just 20 minutes of an Ayurvedic breathing technique can lower stress-related inflammation. Regular meditation has been also proven to reduce inflammatory responses in the body, as well. Meditation offers incredible healing benefits, because, during meditation, your breathing and heart rate slows, allowing cortisol levels to drop. Getting your mental state into a much calmer mode will support your inflammatory response, too. Sustained, chronic levels of stress lead to your body being less able to cope with the amounts of cortisol it’s producing, which forces your immune system into overdrive. Take some time to yourself, breathe, and find a way to get centered. Changing your mindset daily will improve both your physical health and mental health.
Sleep, a healthy diet, supplements, and exercise coupled with meditation can all help you on your journey to reducing and controlling excess inflammation. Just remember to stick with this routine, as results won’t necessarily be instant!