Turn down the dial on the #1 health problem you didn't know about, with these 10 Natural Alternatives.
By now you’ve no doubt heard about inflammation, and you know that too much of it isn’t good for your body. But what is inflammation exactly? What role does it play in disease? And most importantly, what can you do right now to lower it?
Two categories of inflammation exist: acute and chronic. Acute inflammation is a short-term response that works at the exact place where a problem has occurred, i.e. a cut or sprained ankle. Chronic inflammation can have long-term and whole body effects because it produces a steady, low-level of inflammation throughout the body. This low-grade inflammation often doesn’t have symptoms but doctors can diagnose by checking one’s blood for C-reactive protein (CRP-a marker for inflammation in the blood) as well as by looking into a person’s diet and lifestyle habits.
By embracing an anti-inflammatory diet and other natural ways to reduce inflammation, you can help to reduce your risk of diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and Alzheimer’s.
To help get you started on your healthier lifestyle journey, we’ve picked our top 10 natural ways to reduce inflammation!
The main active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, a compound that gives the spice its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. You can cook turmeric in a variety of dishes including roasted vegetables, rice, soup or even to make golden milk! Studies have shown that curcumin is most effective in high doses (up to 1,500mg daily), however the curcumin content of turmeric isn’t that high so it’s recommended to take a supplement that contains significant amounts of curcumin.
2. Eat Your Greens
Green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, or arugula contain antioxidants and bioactive compounds that reduce inflammation and help to prevent free radicals from creating new inflammation. They’re also rich in magnesium which reduces the inflammatory marker, CRP.
3.Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids play a significant role in regulating your body’s inflammatory process. Since your body can’t produce omega-3s, you have to get them through food or supplements. You can find these in fish, walnuts, chia seeds, salmon, and ground flaxseed. The amount a person needs daily can vary but it’s suggested that men consume 1.6 grams while women should get 1.1 grams.
Weight gain is a major cause of inflammation but getting active can help to offset this. It’s not necessary to do HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workouts for an hour a day, everyday; all it takes to help reduce inflammation is at least 20 minutes of daily activity- this can include walking, cycling or even doing your everyday chores at home!
Chill, and we can not stress (no pun intended) this enough, OUT. No matter how healthy your diet is, inflammation isn’t going to go away if your stress levels are always high. Stress increases blood pressure and heart rate which makes your blood vessels work harder, therefore creating damage and affecting the body’s ability to regulate inflammation. Although stress is often unavoidable, learning how to manage it when it does occur can help to prevent new inflammation. Try meditating, listening to music or yoga to help escape the everyday stressors of life.
6. Prioritize Sleep
Even in healthy individuals, not getting enough sleep can trigger inflammation. Sleep disturbances such as waking up throughout the night or failing to fall asleep have been shown to increase the levels of inflammasomes that are linked to chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and hypertension. Improving the quality of your sleep can work directly to keep inflammation at bay by avoiding pro-inflammatory activity that occurs in the presence of poor sleep. To get the 7-9 hours of sleep you need per night, try creating a night time routine.
7. Green Tea
Tea has antioxidants that reduce inflammation called catechins, and green tea contains EGCG, which is the most powerful type of catechin. Studies suggest that drinking green tea regularly can help reduce inflammation-driven conditions.
8. Reduce Alcohol Intake
Although research suggests that moderate alcohol consumption can offer some benefits, it’s excessive drinking that can increase inflammation and lead to “leaky gut,” which can drive widespread inflammation throughout the body. Cutting out alcohol briefly can allow the body to reduce existing inflammation, but if you like having your nightly glass of wine or cocktail, stick to just that, one or two standard drinks per day.
9. Take Care Of Your Gut
The imbalance of gut flora (good & bad bacteria) can cause inflammation and a variety of other health issues. Alcohol, sugars and trans fats can cause an overgrowth of bad bacteria while stress can also reduce good bacteria. In order to protect the existing good bacteria, it’s ideal to cut out these harmful foods and incorporate probiotics (good bacteria) into your diet on a daily basis. Fermented foods such as yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut and miso are rich in probiotics and can help to strengthen your gut’s microbe to reduce inflammation long-term.
For those who experience pain, consistently using CBD either topically or orally, can be a great, natural way to help reduce inflammation in the body. CBD interacts with endocannabinoid receptors in your brain and immune system that receive signals from different stimuli and help your cells respond. The two main cannabinoid receptors are CB1 and CB2- CB1 can control mood, sleep, memory and appetite while CB2 has been known to affect the immune system. Since inflammation is an immune response, it’s important for any compound to focus on the CB2 receptor to help reduce inflammation and CBD just so happens to be the most abundant compound to activate the CB2 receptor.
Whether you’re experiencing acute or chronic inflammation, there are plenty of natural ways to reduce inflammation in the body. Find what factors in your lifestyle could be contributing to your inflammation and try incorporating some of these alternatives into your daily routine so you can be on your way to feeling like your very best self!