HOW TO REDUCE CHRONIC INFLAMMATION
We all know how it goes—you try to pop a pimple and still aches for a while afterward. You accidentally crunch your fingers in the car door and they swell up and turn red for a while. Why does that happen?
It’s your body’s response to an aggressor (in these cases, pain), and it’s called inflammation. Inflammation causes your cells to swell up in order to protect a damaged area.
For example, if you cut your finger on a kitchen knife, you’re going to see the area get red and puffy. Your body is swelling up the area to prevent bleeding and close the wound against invasive bacteria. It’s also reminding you that there’s pain there, so you should take extra care of that injury.
As you can see, inflammation is a great function that our bodies perform on our behalf. But did you know that a big portion of the population has chronic inflammation throughout their bodies? And it turns out that’s sort of a really big deal.
WHY CHRONIC INFLAMMATION?
The reason that many people experience chronic inflammation (which isn’t usually painful, or at least not in the ways you’d expect) is because of their diet. Because many people consume the Standard American Diet, they are being exposed to a huge number of processed chemicals and modified ingredients that the body isn’t quite sure how to handle.
If you get a thorn stuck in your hand, it’s going to get inflamed because your body says, “This is in me now, and I don’t know what it is!”
The same thing happens with processed chemicals. If your body sees, say, high-fructose corn syrup, it says, “Hmm. This is sugar! Maybe.”
It doesn’t really know, so it’s going to low-key treat it like an intruder to keep you safe. Eating like this often promotes widespread low-grade inflammation, which is directly linked to a number of America’s biggest killers—heart disease, cancer, and stroke, to name a few.
HOW DO I REDUCE INFLAMMATION?
Thankfully, there are a ton of options when it comes to reducing inflammation; in fact, there are so many that you can find quite a few that work easily for you.
- Check Your Omega Fats. Maintaining the correct balance between omega fats is crucial to helping your body stay calm. (Hint: you should have more omega-3s than omega-6s, and the Standard American Diet is loaded with 6s). Try out some fish (especially sardines) and olive oil to bump up your numbers.
- Sleep More. You probably hear it all the time, but it’s true—sleep really matters. Sleep is when the body repairs itself, so if you’re not getting enough, your body is always running on half-fixed parts. Let your body take care of itself and purge out toxins every day by giving it the time it needs during sleep.
- Try Out Green Tea. Tea, especially of the green variety, contains a number of helpful antioxidants that help your body deal with oxidative stress.
- Calm Down. Speaking of stress, try to take it slow. Your body responds to stress by releasing hormones that inflame you. Studies show that even a few deep breaths when you’re stressed out have a big role in cutting down inflammation. So breathe, meditate, get a massage, or try yoga. You can take care of your body through exercise, flexibility, and reduced stress all at once!
These are just a few of the many ways to reduce inflammation in your body. Check out anti-inflammatory foods and lifestyle habits, and incorporate some in your day-to-day. There are so many that it’ll be easy to find something that fits with your life!
- Nuts like almonds and walnuts
- Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines
- Fruits such as pineapple, strawberries, blueberries, cherries, apples, and oranges
- Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and collards
- Ginger and turmeric
- Garlic and onions
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Green or Black Tea
- Dark Chocolate
- Whole grains
- Bone Broth
- Coconut Oil
- Chia Seeds
- Herbs such as basil and rosemary