Inflammation is your body’s first line of defense again injuries, illness, infections, and toxins. The immune system sends inflammatory cells to heal tissue and fight off foreign invaders.
But, when this inflammation continues for a long period of time it can lead to major diseases such as heart disease, type II diabetes, obesity, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and fibromyalgia, autoimmune diseases, and neurodegeneration.
When inflammation persists like this, it’s called chronic inflammation. This can occur from stress, a response to a poor diet, allergens, or immune dysregulation. It’s important to get chronic inflammation under control before it develops into something more serious.
There are three steps that are essential to reducing chronic inflammation and allow you to avoid prescription medication.
Step 1: Clean up your diet
Your gut is going to be the top priority when trying to combat chronic inflammation. In fact, you can’t address inflammation without targeting your gut health. Gut bacteria play an important role in increasing the immune system, producing serotonin, and making energy available through the food we eat.
Alcohol, sugar, caffeine, and even red meat can all disrupt your digestion. Feed your gut with fermented foods, probiotics, plant-based foods, and zinc. Fermented foods contain good bacteria which detoxifies the body and inhibits inflammation within your gut.
Get rid of the junk food hanging out in your cupboard. Sugary foods cause a surge in blood-sugar levels leading to inflammation. Foods that contain artificial sugars, gluten, and high sodium can also cause a lot of inflammation in your body.
You should focus on foods that are antioxidant-rich foods to fight inflammation, such as leafy greens like kale and spinach, or berries like blueberries and raspberries. Other foods that are great for combatting inflammation include tomatoes and foods high in Omega-3’s like seaweed, hemp seed, flax seed, olive oil, coconut oil, and fatty fish.
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Step 2: Exercise
New research has shown that 20 minutes of moderate exercise like fast walking, will produce an anti-inflammatory cellular response I the body by a reduction of the cytokine TNF. Cytokines can kill off cancer cells and infected cells, and TFN cytokines can cause cell death and have pro-inflammatory properties.
You don’t need to do any intense exercising to have anti-inflammatory properties, so don’t be intimidated if you are someone who suffers from a chronic inflammatory condition. You can greatly benefit from some moderate physical activity.
Step 3: Sleep, stress, and serotonin
Serotonin plays an important role in your sleeping habits and overall stress. It’s a neurotransmitter that is manufactured in the brain and intestines. Between 80-90% of the bodies serotonin is produced in the digestive tract so gut health is going to play a big role in serotonin production.
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Serotonin affects mood, sleep, appetite, memory, social behaviors, and libido. When you don’t produce enough serotonin, it can lead to insomnia and trouble sleeping, which in turn leads to high cortisol levels, fatigue, and inflammation. So it’s very important to not only combat stress but to pay attention to your gut health in order to improve your sleeping habits.
One way you can help improve your body’s ability to be resistant to stress is to include adaptogenic herbs to your daily routine. Adaptogen refers to a plants ability to adapt to exterior stress. We can use these herbs to help stabilize and strengthen our body and reduce stress. Some of these herbs include maca, ginseng, ashwagandha, and Rhodiola.
By making small changes to your daily life to reduce inflammation, you can improve your overall health and minimize the risk for more serious health conditions.
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