Tips for Reducing Inflammation
While acute inflammation is necessary and helpful for us when we get injured, chronic inflammation creates damage in the body over time. Chronic inflammation has been found to be a driver of many chronic diseases such as diabetes, autoimmune disease, chronic pain, cancer, heart disease, and obesity. It's important to get your inflammation in check as soon as possible to prevent and heal serious diseases. Here are the things you need to be working on now to manage your inflammation:
Focus on diet
Eat lots of vegetables, some fruit, high quality grass-fed meat and pasture-raised organic eggs, wild caught fatty fish, some whole grains, healthy fats (organic olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, nuts/seeds, etc), and herbs & spices.
Cut out fast food, energy drinks, packaged foods, sweets, alcohol. Avoid vegetable oils with high ratios of omega-6 fats (canola, corn, soybean, sunflower, safflower, peanut, and cottonseed).
Check food intolerances
A food intolerance is a lack of genetic machinery to make enzymes to break down different foods. If you have an intolerance, you cannot properly break down a specific food and every time you eat it, it sits in your gut and creates inflammation. That inflammation can cause issues in any area of the body. Common symptoms are joint pain, brain fog, fatigue, eczema, acne, and digestive problems. A food intolerance evaluation will show you which foods your body cannot break down and contribute to your symptoms.
Make sure you have adequate vitamin D, zinc, magnesium, vitamin E, and selenium. This may require supplementation as out food sources are generally depleted.
Consider intermittent fasting. We now have many studies showing that reducing the time that you eat in a day has significant benefits on metabolism, immune function, blood sugar balance, and inflammation. Working toward eating in a 8 hour window during the day allows your body enough time to regenerate and clear out cellular waste products. This does not need to be done every day, and a fasting routine should be individualized based on how you feel doing it.
Intentional exercise 4-5 days per week helps to release feel-good chemicals/endorphins and stimulate tissue repair in the body. Get strength training in 2-3 days per week lower inflammation, improve cognition, stimulate metabolism, and influence healthy hormones. Strength training includes using resistance bands and weights like dumbbells, kettlebells, or barbells. Make sure to stretch every time you exercise to maintain mobility.
Maintain a consistent sleep schedule and aim for 6-8 hours of sleep per night. Avoid blue lights from screens, bright white light bulbs, and EMFs in the evening to allow your brain to prepare for sleep. Sleep cycles influence stress hormones and overall inflammation. If you can’t get to sleep, it’s time to find some answers.
Stress can serve us well in the short-term when there is an emergency that needs to be taken care of. Chronic stress, however, takes a toll on the body. We simply were not built to handle long-term stress and unfortunately, that is what most of us are faced with as we see never-ending to-do lists, long work hours, financial struggles, health struggles, and more. It’s extremely important to set aside time for yourself to decompress and reduce your stress. Here are some reasonable ways of doing that (besides taking a vacation): practice deep belly breathing for 5-10 minutes per day, write in a journal about whatever is on your mind, try yoga, walk outside in nature, put your bare feet on the ground for 10-20 minutes, reduce your screen time, laugh with a friend, and play with your dog (or someone else’s dog).
Avoid long-term use of antibiotics, proton-pump inhibitors (acid blockers), and NSAIDs (pain relievers), as they cause changes in the gut microbiome that can lead to chronic inflammation.
By working on these foundations, you’ll have powerful tools to get your inflammation under control. However, if you’ve been working on these things for months and not seeing results, you will need some help in figuring out what else is going on. Other causes of inflammation like chronic infections, adrenal dysfunction, and autoimmune disease may need to be investigated and treated more specifically.
If you’re needing more support, don’t hesitate to reach out for a consult to see how I can help you reach your health goals.