Your immune system protects you from germs and other foreign substances that could make you sick by making parts of your body become inflamed (or heat up and swell). However, sometimes the reaction can be overwhelming (or it goes too far). Sometimes inflammation can become chronic as a response to stress, junk food, or other lifestyle triggers.
This chronic inflammation is associated with many serious health issues, including diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers, arthritis, fatigue, and depression. To reduce your risk, you may need to change your diet and other daily practices.
Start with these ideas for following an anti-inflammatory lifestyle.
Eating to Reduce Inflammation
1. Focus on plants.
Most vegetables and fruits are rich in protective compounds like antioxidants and polyphenols. Load up on spinach, kale, berries, and citrus fruit. Some vegetables like asparagus and sweet potatoes also serve as prebiotics that tighten your gut and lower inflammation.
2. Limit refined carbohydrates.
On the other hand, foods like white bread and snack cakes have been stripped of fiber and nutrients. They encourage chronic inflammation and weight gain.
3. Steam and grill.
Your cooking methods matter too. Instead of frying with oil, try steaming with water or grilling with dry heat.
4. Drink coffee.
Moderate amounts of coffee also provide beneficial polyphenols. Just steer clear of the flavored coffee creams that are full of artificial thickening agents and sweeteners.
5. Add garlic.
Many natural seasonings have anti-inflammatory properties. Spread roasted garlic on bread or add it to mashed potatoes and homemade pizza.
6. Choose healthy fats.
Not all fats are created equal. Monounsaturated and omega-3 fats help to decrease inflammation. Good sources include olive oil, nuts, and fatty fish. By contrast, saturated fats aggravate inflammation, so go easy on the red meat and whole fat dairy products. Avoid trans fats.
Other Lifestyle Changes to Reduce Inflammation
1. Lose weight.
You can experience chronic inflammation even if you’re thin. Still, maintaining a healthy weight makes you less vulnerable.
2. Exercise regularly.
Exercise has an overall positive effect. While an intense workout may cause temporary inflammation, it enhances your health in the long run.
3. Drink water.
Staying hydrated is essential. Quench your thirst with plain water and tea instead of soda and juice.
4. Brush and floss.
Bacteria from your mouth and gums can travel to the rest of your body. Aim to brush and floss for at least 2 minutes twice each day.
5. Use natural cleansers.
Check the labels on your household cleaners and personal beauty products. You may be able to avoid potential toxins by buying organic brands or using plain vinegar and baking soda.
6. Quit smoking and limit alcohol.
Tobacco and alcohol aggravate inflammation. Many adults need more than one attempt to become tobacco-free, and combining nicotine therapy with counseling may lead to success this time.
7. Check your medication.
Some over-the-counter and prescription drugs have side effects that reduce inflammation. If your doctor recommends that you take aspirin daily or prescribes statins to lower your cholesterol, you can consider this a bonus.
8. Sleep well.
Most adults need about 7-8 hours of sleep to keep their minds and bodies strong. Go to bed and wake up on consistent schedule and keep your bedroom dark and quiet.
9. Relax and refresh.
Managing stress plays a major role. Find a relaxation practice that works for you such as daily meditation or taking long walks.
You can reduce chronic inflammation by watching what you eat and drink and making other positive lifestyle choices. Protect your wellbeing and support healthy aging by bringing chronic inflammation under control.
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I really wanted to talk about this topic today because your natural health and wellness is important. You can adopt healthy lifestyle practices that improve your health, your environment, and enrich your life, which can in turn improve the lives of those close to you. You have the power to break the cycle of poor health, including chronic disease, so that you can leave a legacy of health to your loved ones.
I use functional medicine and lifestyle medicine as the first line of treatment, before medications, to treat lifestyle-related chronic diseases. Lifestyle-related chronic diseases include diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and some cancers, just to name a few. Lifestyle practices, such as eating a whole-food plant-based diet and regular physical activity, can help you lose weight, reverse some chronic diseases (if you suffer from them), and can even help you with detoxification. In certain cases, these approaches may even outperform pharmaceutical therapy. But I always tell my patients that conventional medications may be appropriate at this time to prevent catastrophic illness, but over time, you can work to make the necessary lifestyle changes to possibly reduce and/or eliminate medications. Please remember to always consult your physician for your particular needs and circumstances prior to making any decisions whatsoever.
Is Dietary Supplementation Right For You?
For some people, vitamin and mineral supplements offer important health benefits. Supplements are designed to fight deficiencies found in our diet and complement the food we eat regularly. Supplements are basically “helping hands” to our daily food.
If you suspect that you aren’t getting the nutrients you need, consider shifting your focus from supplements to eating better.
But it is very important to note that we are not eating the same foods we ate years ago because the soils have been depleted of critical nutrients through current industrial farming practices. And because the soil is not as good as it used to be, the food supply (grown from the depleted soil) is not as good as it used to be. For example, you are not getting the same levels of magnesium as you would have gotten 30 or even 50 years ago.
Second, much of the food has been genetically altered, which can impact the inherent and unique nutritional composition that each food possess. For example, ancient einkorn wheat has less gluten, more protein, more Vitamin A, and more beta carotene, than modern genetically modified wheat.
Third, the toxic load in the environment today is much higher than 100 years ago. We can see this with global warming, toxic landfills, polluted oceans and waterways, etc. Toxicity levels interfere with nutrient assimilation and absorption not just into the foods, but into our bodies as well.
So… if you are unable to eat better, the supplements in my MaxHealth Total Wellness Bundle may provide the extra boost you need.
These are my favorite Wellness and Immune-Boosting Supplements to use! This MaxHealth Total Wellness Bundle will ensure you have the intake of the important vitamins, minerals, and probiotics to decrease inflammation and boost your innate wellness day and night. Taken together, it’s a solid plan for increasing your body’s natural resiliency.
For best results make sure you use the supplements with dietary changes including a whole food plant-based diet, regular exercise (at least 2-3x per week), regular sleep (8 hours per night), and intermittent fasting (at least 1-3x per week).
Since weight management is very important in combatting chronic diseases, I recommend that you be mindful of your weight and its fluctuations, and that you monitor your weight AT LEAST on a weekly basis. I recommend a scale that includes a body composition monitor (*this scale cannot be used with a pacemaker or other implanted devices).
Physical activity (or exercise) can improve your health and reduce the risk of developing several chronic diseases like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and cancer, just to name a few. Physical activity can improve your mood, boost your immune system, help you maintain a healthy weight, and is a great way to detox your body!
I often recommend yoga and resistance training for physical activity, but as you are aware, there are plenty of forms of “movement” that you can do! But for the basics, especially if you’re just getting started, yoga and resistance training are where I would start.
Yoga can be a great way to improve your strength and flexibility, manage your stress, improve your heart health, and lose weight! I recommend using a grounded yoga mat to connect yourself with the earth and reduce inflammation.
Resistance training is the mainstay for overall health. It not only has beneficial effects on reducing body fat, it also increases muscle size and strength. Check out some basic dumbbells/free weights that I recommend to everyone.
Another alternative for dumbbells/free weights are resistance bands. They are great for physical therapy, yoga, strength training, and excellent for traveling.
Remember, living a healthy lifestyle including eating a whole foods plant-based diet, regular physical activity, and reducing stress are the best ways to maintain a healthy weight. Let me know what you think in the comment section below.
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