Recently, a friend emailed me asking what more she could do to reduce inflammation. She’d eliminated inflammation-causing foods from her diet like gluten, soy, dairy, corn, sugar, grains, and processed foods, but what else could she do? When I emailed her back with a few suggestions, she loved them and said you should post this! And so I did. Maybe these 8 tips for reducing inflammation beyond food will give you some new ideas too. Thank you Maria for inspiring me to turn our email into a post to help others.
8 Tips for Reducing Inflammation Beyond Food
Inflammation is an important natural part of our self defense system, a normal process that helps our body protect and heal itself. An increasing body of evidence shows that chronic inflammation causes and advances many common diseases such as such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and dementia. It’s even a major contributor to obesity. Besides tackling foods that cause you problems, what can you do ? Here are 8 tips to consider, and yes, several are food related. I couldn’t resist.
Reduce Your Toxic Burden
Reducing toxins such as pesticides, herbicides and fungicides in your foods is a terrific step, but what is lurking in your personal care and household products? You might be surprised. Read labels on your toothpaste, deodorant, makeup, shampoo, other personal care products as well as laundry detergent and other cleaners. What to get rid of? Parabens, phthalates, BPA, aluminum, lead, sulfates, and a long list of other harmful chemicals. A must read book is Dr. Joseph Pizzorno’s The Toxin Solution. As well, download the Think Dirty app for your phone and check out the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) page for great tips and guides on reducing toxins in cosmetics and home products.
Try Essential Oils
A 2010 study showed that essential oils such as thyme, clove, rose, eucalyptus, fennel, bergamot, roman chamomile, ginger, helichrysum, and patchouli had anti-inflammatory properties and might help reduce inflammation. Essential oils can be used topically, aromatically (diffusion or direct inhalation), and many can be taken internally. For more information enjoy this post on Healthline.
Consider Anti-Inflammatory Supplements
Curcumin, a component in the spice turmeric, is a tremendous natural anti-inflammatory. While you can cook with turmeric, it’s hard to eat enough of it to make a big difference. That is where curcumin supplements come in. Curcumin is poorly absorbed on it’s own, so buy a brand that includes piperine (which comes from black pepper) as it boosts curcumin’s absorption. Other supplements to consider are Alpha-Lipoic Acid, fish oil, ginger, resveratrol, and spirulina, a type of blue-green algae. Taking curcumin and Alpha-Lipoic Acid daily helps me keep inflammation in check. Before adding any supplements to your diet, be sure to check with your health care practitioner.
Consume Healthy High Quality Fats
Fat is not the enemy; good quality healthy fats, that is. Healthy fats are necessary for good health. The best are extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, and coconut oil. Olive oil has strong anti-inflammatory properties due to a compound called oleocanthal. Coconut oil is not only anti-inflammatory, but anti-microbial, anti-fungal, and contains lauric acid which is great for immune function. Plus, it tastes great. The inflammation-causing oils to avoid are seed oils and industrially produced vegetable oils that are tasteless and highly refined using chemicals.
Do you juice at home? One supportive habit for reducing inflammation is drinking green juices and vegetable juices daily. Fresh organic juices are nutritionally power packed with phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals. Unless juices at juice bars and markets are freshly made, organic, and not pasteurized, they are not as good for you. If you are not a juicer, its a terrific thing to get into for big health benefits. If you don’t have a juicer, please comment and let me guide you on the best options.
Avoid Antibiotics/Take Care of Your Gut
Did you know that approximately 70% of your immune system is in your gut? Avoid antibiotics, unless absolutely necessary. They not only kill bad bugs that are bothering you, but the good guys as well. Antibiotics really mess with your gut, and that messes with your immune system. Try taking a probiotic to support the good bacteria. Take care of your gut, and it will strengthen your immune system and reduce inflammation.
If your inflammation is from sore muscles or joint pain, infrared saunas can help, as the heat helps muscles to relax and circulation to increase. Infrared saunas create heat with light. Another benefit? Infrared saunas are also detoxifying. Infrared sauna studios are now available in many cities so check out what is available in your area. If you have the space and budget, you can buy them for home use.
Get Enough Sleep
One of the most important things you can do to reduce chronic inflammation is get a good nights sleep. Most doctors recommend 7-9 hours per night. Cheating yourself of sleep also cheats your immune system, because it’s forced to work harder to keep you healthy. Don’t let the demands of modern life rob you of a good night’s sleep, and in turn, your health.