According to a Harvard Medical School report, “Chronic inflammation plays a central role in some of the most challenging diseases of our time, including rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, asthma, and even Alzheimer’s.”
Not all inflammation is bad. Inflammation is an essential survival process that helps the body fight off hostile microbes and repair damaged tissue. Signs of acute inflammation include pain, redness, swelling, immobility and heat. Inflammation can cause pain which lets us know that something is wrong internally. These mechanisms allow our body to heal itself. When inflammation becomes chronic is when it becomes a problem.
Chronic inflammatory risk factors include age, lifestyle factors, genetics, exposures to toxic contaminants and low sex hormones (maintaining sex hormones reduces the risk of several inflammatory diseases).
Chronic inflammation signs and symptoms include:
Depression, anxiety and mood disorders
Heart disease, cancer, diabetes
Chronic peptic ulcer
Systemic lupus erythematosus
12 lifestyle changes that can help decrease inflammation naturally
1. Maintain a healthy weight. Excess body fat can cause long-term low-grade inflammation. Body composition is more important than weight. Body composition can be measured with a dexa scan or in-body scan. Another good and convenient measurement is waist to hip ratio. Women should aim for a ratio of less than .8 and for men it should be less than .9.
2. Maintain a regular workout routine. American Council on Exercise recommends 150 mins of cardiovascular exercise and 2 days a week of strength training per week.
3. Manage stress. Having a positive mindset, practicing gratitude, deep breathing, limiting alcohol and caffeine, having healthy relationships, creating a relaxing environment, spending time in nature, and spending time in prayer can all help to lower stress.
4. Avoid Toxins. Most common way toxins enter body is through eating or drinking. Eliminating the use of Styrofoam and plastic. Avoiding pollution, dust mites, mold, asbestos, many household cleaners, lead, mercury, pesticides when possible.
5. Take a fish oil supplement.
6. Get adequate sleep. Not getting enough sleep can cause unhealthy cravings. Less than 6 hours of sleep a night create increase stress hormones and promote inflammation. Fatigue can also lead to less physical activity.
7. Avoid unnecessary NSAIDS (such as aleve, advil) and antibiotics
8. Avoid foods that cause inflammation
Sugar- sucrose, fructose, dextrose, glucose, lactose, maltose
Processed foods- chips, pretzels, convenience foods,
Refined carbohydrates- white flour, pasta, crackers etc.
Excessive alcohol- although red wine has some anti-inflammation properties
Processed meat like lunch meat, bacon
Trans fat- shortening, vegetable oils, margarine
High-fructose corn syrup
Gluten- celiac and people with gluten intolerance may find they have an auto immune reaction and increase inflammation levels
Casein- protein in dairy product people with arthritis seem to get relief when they cut out dairy
9. Incorporate anti-inflammatory foods
· Fruits 3-4 servings per day
· Vegetables 4-5 servings a day
· Nuts and seeds
· Legumes 1-2 servings a day soaked, sprouted, pressure cooked
black beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils, navy beans, peas
· Whole Grains: quinoa, couscous, farro, millet, buckwheat, barley
· Proteins: salmon, chicken, turkey, eggs, tempeh
· Healthy Fats: coconut oil, olive oil, ghee, grass-fed butter, avocados, omega- 3 fish oil high dose
· Herbs and Spices: turmeric, black pepper, rosemary, basil, oregano, cayenne pepper, dill, chili peppers, cinnamon, curry powder, garlic, ginger, rosemary, turmeric and thyme.
· Tea- 2-4 cups, green, oolong, white tea
· Omega 3 fats- Salmon, tuna, sardines, tofu, walnuts, flax seeds, soybeans, herring, mackerel, anchovies,
· Eat more plants
10. If you are feeling adventurous a hot/cold shower can work wonders for inflammation. Alternating 1-minute cold water with 1-minute hot water. Work your way up to 12 minutes.
11. Essential oils- Turmeric, (curcumin), frankincense, myrrh, orange,
12. Maintaining good dental hygiene- gum disease promotes inflammation in the body
Living an anti-inflammatory lifestyle is important for overall health and quality of life. If inflammation is an issue for you, try some these tips and improve your life.
I'm Trainer Joy and I love working with clients that want to make a lasting lifestyle change. Contact Jessica@stormfitness.com and ask for Joy! I would gladly offer you a free 30-minute consolation to discover how health coaching could be beneficial for your needs.
In health and wellness,
Storm Fitness Trainer Joy