Is your body burning out of control? When asked this question most of us would answer no. But many of us would be wrong…dead wrong. Inflammation is a fire in our bodies and many of us have a raging wild fire in us that is burning out of control.
Inflammation is a bit of a double edged sword. Acute inflammation (when the body responds to an injury or infection) is a good and healthy thing, It’s how our body protects itself. But chronic inflammation is a whole other story. Chronic inflammation sticks around after the body no longer needs it. This kind of inflammation is implicated in all sorts of nasty diseases that range from incredibly painful to just plain deadly. Diseases like heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, asthma and even irritable bowel syndrome have been shown to be inflammation related. The following are some tips for combating chronic inflammation naturally.
Eat more fresh fruits and veggies: Especially dark leafy greens like kale, collard greens, mustard greens, arugula and spinach. Other produce that should be high on your list is brightly colored fruits and vegetables like watermelon, raspberries, red and yellow peppers which are packed with phytochemical’s and antioxidants that stop inflammation in its tracks.
Get more of the right kind of exercise: Some high intensity exercise can actually bring on acute inflammation, but doing moderate-intensity activities like walking, jogging and swimming done for 10 to 20 minutes at a time at 70% of your maximum heart rate is beneficial in lowering chronic inflammation. Doing yoga on a regular basis has been shown to lower inflammation. In a 2010 study women who practiced yoga on a regular basis had lower interlukin-6 levels (a marker of inflammation).
Add herbs or natural supplements to your daily routine: Ginger, turmeric, garlic and rosemary all have powerful anti-inflammatory properties without the adverse side effects that come with many of the anti-inflammatory drugs on the market. You can either use the herbs in cooking or take the herbs in supplement form.
Get lots of EFA’s (essential fatty acids)in your diet: This is probably one of the most effective ways to lower inflammation naturally. While we tend to get plenty of omega 6 and 9 fatty acids in our diet omega 3’s seem to be much harder to come by. Eating 4 ounces of fatty fish like wild caught salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, anchovies or oysters at least 3 days a week can help you keep inflammation at bay. Not a fish fan, no problem you can always take a fish oil supplement. Vegetarians can substitute a high quality algae supplement.
Get plenty of sleep: Sleep is where our body repairs and rejuvenates its self. Getting 7-9 hours of sleep a night can be crucial to good health. Keep in mind that each of us has different needs and these numbers are generalizations but however much sleep your body needs, you should always wake each morning feeling well rested and ready for the day.
Dump the processed food: Eating minimally processed foods that are fresh and whole are “real foods” and a great way to lower inflammation and feel great. Pastas and breads made with whole wheat flour, grass fed and pastured meats, raw and lightly cooked produce are all examples of “real foods”. Whole foods will give you more energy and aid in weight loss while processed foods that are loaded with refined sugar, sodium, chemical additives and preservatives can kick inflammation into overdrive.