By now, most of us know that inflammation within the body is one of the leading factors to increased disease and illness. In fact, heart disease, stroke, cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and numerous others are linked to chronic inflammation. These health challenges are affecting more and more Americans each year and a large percentage of these cases could have been prevented.
A diet high in trans and hydrogenated fats and sugar along with highly processed carbohydrates like chips, cakes, and fast-food are the leading culprits with a lack of exercise also playing a critical role in the development of these illnesses.
Health educators have been getting the word out for years about ways to decrease harmful factors while increasing healthy lifestyle habits and there is hope that eventually this dangerous trend will dissipate.
There are subtle signs of inflammation too including indigestion, sinusitis, aches and pains, hay fever, allergies, bleeding gums, asthma, stiff joints, puffy eyes, skin rash, and headaches. In a natural, healthy state, our body should feel good most of the time. Any of these symptoms may be a clue that something is causing inflammation within your body. Paying attention to the early signs may be the key in preventing a more serious long-term illness.
Sometimes these early symptoms may be caused by environmental irritants such as air fresheners, candles, personal care products, or pollen while at other times it may be something internal such as a reaction to medications, foods, or even supplements.
I suggest that people listen to their body and the messages it sends us. If you don’t feel well, something is going on. Our body speaks to us at all times, and sometimes we need to get quiet and pay very close attention to that intuitive voice. If you’re having chronic issues of any type, begin looking for the source and don’t stop until you find it.
Here are some important ways to begin reducing inflammation today so that you can improve your overall health:
- Rid your Home of Toxins – Chemical cleaners, air fresheners, and personal care products are the main cause of breathing issues and long-term damage especially to our lungs. Do yourself and your family a favor and throw out all chemical cleaners and personal care products and replace them with organic, healthy alternatives. For a list of which chemicals are the most harmful, visit: ewg.org
- Elimination Diet – One of the easiest ways to figure out which foods are triggering you is to do a short elimination diet. Eliminate the main culprits including dairy, wheat, sugar, gluten, eggs, corn, and soy for 7 days. Gradually begin re-introducing them one at a time. Keep track in a food journal how you feel before, during, and after you eat them. Look for signs of inflammation including mucus, fatigue, headache, indigestion, scratchy throat, and watery eyes or nose. Sometimes these can occur the next day so pay special attention and trust your intuition.
- Eat Alkaline – Too much acidity in our body can cause inflammation. Acidic foods include animal proteins, dairy products, sugar, processed foods, and alcohol. Try offsetting your acidity by bringing in more alkaline foods and beverages. Dark leafy green vegetables, pink Himalayan sea salt, and fresh lemons and limes are especially alkaline for the body.
- Superfoods – Some of the best ways to reduce inflammation are to consume concentrated forms of superfoods. Look for organic, raw, and non-GMO products such as: chlorella, spirulina, wheatgrass, sprouted kamut, turmeric, green tea, aloe vera, and tart cherry juice.
- Gut Health – By building our healthy gut flora, we strengthen our overall system and help to reduce inflammation. Take a potent probiotic supplement daily, eat fermented foods such as sauerkraut, and kombucha tea. Bone broth has also been shown to reduce inflammation in the digestive track and colon. Focus on consuming more organic product to eliminate the consumption of Glyphosate which is a harmful chemical in herbicide sprays used on non-organic produce.
- Omega 3 Oils – Adding more omega 3 rich foods to your diet in the form of hemp, flax and chia seeds, avocados, olives, salmon, sardines, and walnuts along with krill oil supplements, will help will help to off-set chronic inflammation and assist in creating healthy cholesterol levels.
- Quality Sleep – Sleep is absolutely essential in reducing inflammation. Ensure that you get quality rest at night and consider taking a regular, short nap during the day when possible. Sleep is restorative and assists our immunity, hormones, and other bodily systems to work at their optimal. Getting less than 6 hours of sleep per night has been linked to increased inflammation.
- Exercise – Doing some type of moderate exercise daily that keeps your heart rate at approximately 60-85% of its maximum (220-age x .85) helps to lower all inflammation markers within the body and assists in decreasing overall stress.
- Chill – These days it is imperative to incorporate a de-stress practice. It will be different for each person but some of the proven methods of lowering C Reactive Protein which is one important inflammation marker in the body are deep breath work such as breath of fire, yoga, meditation, and chanting. The key is keeping it regular and making it a daily practice for best results.
While some inflammatory disease can be genetic, approximately 75% is related to our environment and our day to day lifestyle choices. Be wise, make good decisions and start today. Even the smallest of shifts can positively affect your life, energy, and well-being.
- Always consult with your physician before making changes in your diet, exercise, or supplement regimen.
Jay Bradley is a Youthful Aging, Wellness & Lifestyle Expert Living in Los Angeles. http://www.JayBradleyLifestyle.com
He is the Best-Selling Author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!