Believe it or not, inflammation can be a good thing.
Inflammation is a part of our immune system. It is a vital part of a healthy body’s natural healing response to infection or injury. Without inflammation, wounds and infections would never heal.
Inflammation can either be acute (isolated and finite) or chronic (occurring over a longer period of time). such as obesity, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel syndrome, heart disease, and cancer.
Therefore, identifying the causes and triggers of inflammation is crucial to a balanced, healthy body. Educating ourselves on how to live an anti-inflammatory lifestyle and providing the right conditions for our body to heal itself can improve our health tremendously, now and in the future.
Inflammation can be caused by stress, little or no exercise, mold allergens, mercury and pesticide toxins, food or environmental allergens, and chronic infections associated with yeast, parasites, bacteria, or viruses. A poor diet, consisting mostly of sugar, processed foods, refined flour, trans and saturated fats can also trigger inflammation. (Read more about food and inflammation here.)
To manage inflammation, educate yourself and incorporate healthy habits into your life.
Exercise. Energize your body by exercising every day. Exercise has been known to reduce inflammation, as well as strengthen and improve cardiovascular and immune systems. Exercise also improves your mood, reduces stress, and can aid in preventing insulin resistance. Start off with a five-minute walk until your stamina is increased. Aim for thirty minutes of exercise a day for five days a week. If stress is causing inflammatory flare-ups, try Yoga or Pilates.
Relax. Get some relaxing time in. For those with chronic stress, the goal of rest is to lower the cortisol in your body. Calm inflammation by meditating, deep breathing, reading, taking a warm bath, or even attending talk therapy.
Sleep. This way the body has time to heal. Getting the proper amount of sleep can reduce the effects of an inflammatory response. Seven to nine hours of sleep each night is recommended.
Consumption. Monitor your intake of drugs, alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine and reduce your consumption where needed. Try this for a week and see how much better you feel. Join a support group that will help steer you on the right track.
Avoid toxins. Surround your life with more natural products and less chemicals. Invest in high quality water and air filters and fill your home with houseplants to filter the air we breathe at home.
Consider an anti-inflammatory diet, which mainly consists of a high-fiber, high phytonutrient, plant-based diet. These foods are more unrefined, unprocessed, fresh, without sugar and trans fats. Choose monounsaturated fats like olive oil, avacados, and nuts. Add more omega-3 foods like wild salmon to your diet. Take a probiotic to aid in digestion and balance out the healthy bacteria in the gut. Taking Vitamin D and fish oil supplements can also help in reducing inflammation. Read more about inflammation-reducing foods here.
Learn ways to reduce pain management. Taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatories can help reduce inflammation, but they do not fix the cause of the inflammation in the first place. Pain medications should only be taken during acute attacks for short periods. Alternative pain relief therapies, such as massage, acupuncture, and even water therapy reduce pain and inflammation.
Inflammation is something many of us constantly undergo, which is why we need to soothe and nurture our bodies daily. Taking care of our bodies naturally is the best way to maintain and balance our overall health. Knowing the proper ways to reduce inflammation can keep you feeling healthy for years to come!
Remember to always consult your doctor about ways you can reduce inflammation as you set out to make lifestyle and diet changes.