Inflammation is a process that is meant to heal the body, but chronic or excess inflammation has an adverse effect on your health, and can cause most chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, stroke, liver problems, cancer, dementia, and autoimmune disease like thyroid disorder, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
The best way to reduce inflammation is by listening to your body and giving your body what it needs. Try the following six tips on how to reduce inflammation and stay healthy:
1. Increase Your Omega 3 Intake
Omega 3 has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. The B vitamins, zinc, and Magnesium are critical for converting omega-3 fatty acids found in plants into the active form, DHA. DHA is critical for protecting your eyes, brain, heart, and the blood circulating throughout your body.
Omega 3 oils can be found in salmon, tuna, flaxseeds, walnuts, olive oil, and canola oil.
The suggested daily Omega 3 intake is 2 tablespoons of flaxseed powder or 2,000-3,000mg per day + a complex B vitamin + a multi-vitamin.
2. Follow an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Make green leafy vegetables the biggest staple of your diet. They are full of critical vitamins which protect your immune system and critical for every cell function.
Snack on fruits to satisfy your sugar craving.
Mix up your meals with a side of whole (not refined/processed) grains like millet, quinoa, or brown rice, and beans like lentils and nuts. The high dose of Magnesium consumed will directly protect your heart and keep the inflammation level low.
Try to switch from coffee and black tea since they deplete the most important B vitamin, thiamine. Switch to decaffeinated green tea since it contains antioxidants that reduce inflammation. A recent study found that green tea can block oxidative stress which directly causes inflammation.
Cook with anti-inflammatory herbs such as Boswellia (also called Indian frankincense), ginger, turmeric, oregano, and garlic. These herbs directly decrease inflammation in the intestines.
3. Eliminate Foods and Habits That Aren’t Good for You
Trans-fatty acids are linked to an increase in inflammation. They are found in margarine, fried foods, packaged cookies, crackers, and many other processed, pre-packaged ready-made food. Avoid these foods as much as possible.
If you have an allergic reaction towards certain foods, it’s good to cut it out completely. Some of the most common food allergens are gluten (i.e., wheat, oats, rye), eggs, dairy, soy, and nuts (i.e., peanuts). To find out which foods you are allergic to, work with your doctor on how to do an elimination diet.
Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine whenever you can since it will directly reduce inflammation.
4. Exercise to Reduce Inflammation
Boost your body’s natural anti-inflammatory capabilities with exercise. Physical activities keep the joints flexible and during exercise, your body produces more antioxidants which fight inflammation.
Exercise for at least 30 to 45 minutes minimum five times a week. Yoga and Pilates are good options for fighting inflammation. Anyone can exercise no matter what your fitness level is.
5. Relaxation and Sleep
Our bodies need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night to properly rest. Enough quality sleep will decrease inflammation.
Chronic stress is not good for your body. By relaxing more, your stress hormones will decrease, helping decrease inflammation.
Relaxation techniques may be as simple as taking deep breathes for 1 minute every hour and taking proper breaks every few hours. Walk away from a problem so the mind can relax and refocus.
6. Adjunctive Therapy
Acupuncture, water therapy, laughing, socializing with others, volunteering, and other mind-body treatments can quickly lower your stress hormones and decrease inflammation.
A proper massage and fasting increases disease-fighting white blood cells which will, in turn, decrease inflammation.
What about Chronic Inflammation?
If you suffer from chronic inflammation, or your inflammation persists even after changing your diet and lifestyle habits, go visit your doctor. Work with an integrative healthcare provider such as Dr. Payal Bhandari M.D., to formulate the right treatment to effectively reduce your chronic inflammation. She can also give you advice on any supplements you need to take, if necessary.