Any time your body recognizes a foreign entity – whether it’s pollen, a chemical, a microbe, or something similar – it responds with inflammation. Persistent inflammation is a problem, because as Harvard Medical School explains, it is linked to serious diseases such as Alzheimer’s, heart disease, certain types of cancer, diabetes, and arthritis. For individuals already living with chronic conditions such as arthritis or diabetes, limiting inflammation is essential to controlling the impact of the disease. Thankfully, there are a few effective ways to reduce inflammation naturally, which we’ve shared here.
Eat Inflammation-Fighting Foods
One of the most effective ways to stop inflammation is to refine your diet to include inflammation-fighting foods. The Mediterranean diet has become popular in recent years due to its high volume of foods that fight inflammation. The diet comprises olive oil, fatty fish like salmon, and leafy greens, along with fruits like berries and oranges. Tomatoes, nuts, and whole grains can also help to keep inflammation under control. If you enjoy seasonings, try turmeric. It contains curcumin, which can help reduce the presence of free radicals and inhibit the production of inflammation.
Limit the Intake of Known Inflammation Triggers
Reducing your consumption of inflammation-causing foods is just as important as incorporating healthier options into your diet. No amount of fruits, vegetables, fish, or other nutritious foods can reverse the impact of foods known to trigger inflammatory responses. Try to avoid refined carbs like white bread and pasta, processed meat, soda, butter, and fried foods whenever possible. Additionally, make it a priority to reduce your intake of foods stored in plastic containers and select organic produce to limit your exposure to chemicals.
Stick to a Moderate Exercise Routine
Cardiovascular exercise gets your heart pumping, which boosts blood flow and helps you maintain a healthy body weight. Fat cells release cytokines, which prompt immune cells to create inflammation. Thus, the better you are able to maintain a healthy weight, the less inflammation you’ll experience. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate activity, five days per week. To stick with your routine, consider partnering with a workout buddy, signing up for a class, or even committing to a daily walk.
Improve Sleep Quality
Sleep is essential for cell repair and keeping the immune system on track, but most individuals aren’t getting enough high-quality, uninterrupted slumber each night. To facilitate deep sleep, be sure to shut off the TV before going to bed, and put your phone or tablet away at least an hour before bedtime. The blue light from screens can interfere with melatonin, a hormone which helps regulate sleep.
Adopt Healthy Stress Management Practices
Stressors are a natural part of life, and while it would be ideal if we could avoid them entirely, it simply isn’t realistic for most people. Because inflammation can be triggered by stress and anxiety, finding healthy ways for managing stressors can boost your overall wellness. From meditation to journaling, there are many options for alleviating tension. You may also want to try diffusing essential oils known for their calming effects (such as lavender), listening to music, or practicing yoga.
With these small lifestyle changes, you can make improvements in your inflammation levels to promote better overall wellness. Feel free to start slowly to see which tactics deliver the greatest results for you.