Inflammation is a buzzy health word that I'm sure a lot of you have been hearing lately, and for good reason. Inflammation is a good thing when you sprain your ankle or break a bone because it's the bodies natural way of beginning the healing process. So, when your ankle swells or you feel heat around a brand new cut, that is inflammation working for you, not against you. But, when inflammation begins to happen chronically, due to exposure to environmental toxins, food allergens like wheat, gluten or dairy, or repetitive stress symptoms, that's when things get really scary.
When the inflammatory response is provoked in the body, it calls immune cells and fluid to the area to help calm things down. While this can be good, those inflammatory molecules and fluid can really disrupt the functioning of wherever [the inflammation] is located. That’s why chronic inflammation’s at the root of so many diseases, from Alzheimer’s to cancer. (Well + Good)
Although this sounds grim and scary, you have the power to control the inflammation in your body. Start with these 4 tips and help your body win its fight against inflammation.
1. Get Rid of Processed Foods
Gluten, sugar and trans fats (those are fake fats made in a lab btw) have little to no nutritional benefit and are very irritating to the stomach, which equals major inflammation. Getting a handle on your diet, which means eliminating processed foods, is the very best way to heal your inflammation. Start by eliminating anything that comes in a box or prepackaged container because that normally means that the food has been processed and is laden with irritants.
2. Add In These Anti-Inflammatory Foods
It's not enough to simply eliminate processed foods from your diet to rid your body of inflammation. Be sure to add lots of colorful veggies to your plate at every meal to ensure that you are feeding your gut bacteria which help heal inflammation. Start by adding in wild salmon, extra virgin olive oil, kale and probiotic rich kombucha to your diet. These foods are very healing and full of nutrients that will help calm your inflammatory response.
3. Sleep It Off
Loss of sleep, even for just one night, can prompt your immune system to turn against healthy tissues and organs. Aim to get at least 7.5-8 hours of sleep per night. The best way to get closer to this number is to get into bed 15-20 minutes earlier each night. Do your best to turn off all cell phones and television at least 1 hour before bed. You can also try spraying your room with lavender or taking a hot bath before bed to get you ready for some good, anti-inflammatory sleep.
4. Try Meditation
Chronic stress leads to high levels of inflammation in the body. So, how do you work on decreasing stress levels? Well, there are a handful of things you can do but meditation has been shown to be one of the best ways to decrease stress levels. Start by using a meditation app like headspace to help guide you in your first few meditations.