We’ve all experienced inflammation. Think of that splitting headache, sprained, swollen knee/wrist/ankle, that cut finger, or that miserable head cold. Inflammation makes its presence known in a loud, unmistakable way; it hurts, it can be swollen, and warm to the touch. This is acute inflammation and is a beneficial and necessary part of our immune system.
However, when inflammation doesn’t heal it becomes chronic or silent inflammation and continues to spew out low levels of inflammatory compounds. This continual process is the core cause of most illness, disease, faster-ageing and weight gain. Powerful tools to combat inflammation are available at your fingertips if you just know what and how.
Here are 11 ways to reduce inflammation and make you look & feel 10 years younger:
1. Drink enough water.
When cells are deprived of essential living-giving water, cellular function slows down, and so does your metabolism. This can affect every organ in the body from your heart to your skin. Your brain is 80% water and your body 70%.
A lack of adequate water intake can result in serious health conditions along with fatigue, foggy thinking, headaches, joint pain, muscle aches, hunger, cravings, weight gain and much more. You can calculate this by dividing you weight (kg) by 0.024 to give you a rough estimate in mL per day. This of course will vary according to weather, exercise levels, etc. You will be surprised by the figure. Remember move forward in the right direction bit by bit, with consistency being the key.
2. Reduce inflammatory grains
Opt for wholegrains and seeds that are gluten free such as quinoa, chia, brown rice, millet, buckwheat. These seeds and grains are more alkalising, which goes a long way to reducing the acidity of inflammation. And processed and refined grains release sugars into the bloodstream and can act identical to sugar.
Gluten, today is activating a greater inflammatory response in a larger proportion of our population. Why? Is this due to genetic modification of these grain, over-spraying with pesticides & herbicides, over-processing of the grains or over-consumption.
3. Get eight hours of sleep a night.
There is actually a chemical response happening inside the body during sleep that is important for reducing inflammation. A study found that sleep duration can have an effect on levels of specific cytokines (proteins important in cell signaling), which are important for regulating inflammation.
4. Reduce diet drinks and foods.
Diet drinks and foods contain artificial, laboratory-made sweeteners that can lead to an increased insulin response that can trigger weight gain, type 2 diabetes and other inflammatory health conditions. Make a lateral shift: choose sparkling water flavoured with real fruit, cucumbers, mint or ginger.
5. Exercise regularly and allow recovery time.
Not regularly moving your body can create inflammation. Exercising promotes healthy cellular function and reduces the markers for inflammation. Almost any type of workout that raises your heart rate counts, such as brisk walking, playing tennis, mowing the lawn, or even gardening.
And for those type A’s find a balance between over and under exercising. Try to switch up your workouts every day so you’re not taxing the same muscles. Give our body time to recover in order to see benefits and reduce the inflammation that comes from exercise.
6. Consume omega 3 rich foods daily – leafy greens…
Omega 3 fats help to effectively reverse inflammation. Naturally occur in wild salmon, sardines, flaxseeds, nuts, dark leafy greens, and fish oils.
Dark green leafy vegetables (such as spinach, kale, broccoli, chard, and collards) are packed with anti-inflammatory nutrients that reverse inflammation in the body. Turn it up with a daily green smoothie for breakfast or an afternoon snack. Click here for more green smoothie tips.
7. Consume ginger and turmeric.
These ancient herbs have been shown to play a significant role in lowering inflammation. I try to incorporate these ingredients into my meals as much as possible. They are great in stir-fries, roasted veggies, and soups.
8. Reduce processed foods.
Processed foods are inflammatory and one of the reasons many people are overweight and/or sick. Every country that has adopted the highly processed diet becomes unhealthy. Processed foods such as fast foods and junk foods are created to be highly rewarding and overconsumption.
9. Cut back on eating sugar.
Sugar is the number one inflammatory “food.” Sugar and its cousin, high fructose corn syrup, are two of the many sweet culprits that can have serious inflammatory health consequences including heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, and even aging skin.
10. Add cultured foods and drinks.
Cultured foods such as keffir, kombucha, sauerkraut promote an abundance of healthy gut bacteria that fight inflammation. Cultured foods also boost your immunity and help you lose weight.
11. Opt for anti-inflammatory cooking oils.
Swap out inflammatory cooking oils such as vegetable oil, canola oil, soy oil or corn oil. They have a very high omega-6 content and very low omega-3 content, which encourages inflammation. Instead, use anti-inflammatory oils such as olive oil, macadamia nut oil, coconut oil or red palm fruit oil.
12. Maintain your ideal weight.
Every fat cell, if overstuffed with fat, produces compounds that promote a vicious cycle of weight gain and inflammation. Drop the excess weight and your inflammation will decrease as well.
13. Get cold.
Applying ice or sitting in cold water causes inflammation to go down. If you are applying ice, be sure to put a wrap or towel between the ice and your skin to avoid ice burn. Take a cool shower or a swim at the beach (especially in Victoria…lol) for at least 3 to 20 minutes. It works wonders!
14. Start a meditation practice.
This ancient practice has major benefits, such as reducing cortisol levels. Even if it’s just a few minutes of deep breathing, you will begin to change your overall state of mind and significantly reduce stress. The practice of becoming present and deepening your breath calms the mind while reducing inflammation in the body. Ten minutes a day is all you need. Consistency is the key.
15. Daily stretching.
Daily stretching for 10 minutes combined with deep breathing reduces pressure on the joints, lengthens tight muscles and increases healing blood flow, and helps to decrease inflammation.
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Do you have any tips or insights on what has worked for you? Love to hear your personal story or journey. Just comment below.