Chronic inflammation has been linked to almost every health condition. It’s an underlying physiological damage that leads to many different health challenges including chronic pain, arthritis, peripheral neuropathy, depression, anxiety, ADD/ADHD, fatigue, brain fog, obesity, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, inflammatory bowel disease, heart disease, cancer and many more.
What causes chronic inflammation?
Chronic inflammation can come from many different sources. Some of the them are:
- Chronic Stress
- Inflammatory foods such as sugar, unhealthy fats, white flour, gluten
- Poor digestions: pathogens create cytokines
- Toxic thoughts and emotions
- Lack of sleep
- Lack of nutrients
- Sedentary lifestyle or overexercising
- Social isolation
- Toxic relationships
- Lack of meaning in life
Some people have no obvious source of chronic inflammation till we do functional medicine lab testing which in many cases uncovers the hidden origin of inflammation.
What’s great about this physiological imbalance is that once you lower the overall level of inflammation in your body it will not just improve one symptom but all of them simultaneously.
This is empowering because there are certain lifestyle and behavioral changes you can start implementing today to reduce your overall inflammation and become one step closer to reducing chronic pain and living a more energetic, vibrant life.
So, before you reach for anti-inflammatory medications, I encourage you to make an effort to implement these tips!
7. Simple ways to reduce inflammation.
1. Add in anti-inflammatory foods.
Say hello to vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, nuts, seeds, high-quality protein, herbs and spices. Eat different color foods – broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, beets, leafy green (kale, spinach), blueberries, raspberries, apples. These foods are loaded with antioxidants and phytonutrients which help reduce damage caused by inflammation.
- Have fun incorporating healthy anti-inflammatory foods. It’s a sign of self- care and self- love.
- Examine your mindset around the food. Instead of saying “ I can’t eat salad every day” say “ How many different colors can add to my salad today”
- Spice things up. Look for ways to add a little garlic or other spices when you cook. Spices like turmeric, cumin, cayenne, black pepper, rosemary, ginger, fenugreek, cinnamon, and cloves have been praised for their anti-inflammatory properties and many other benefits to health.
2. Eliminate Inflammatory foods.
Significant amount of inflammation comes from the food you eat. Most common foods that trigger the immune system and promote chronic fire inside of your body are sugar, gluten, refined flour, dairy, vegetable oils, artificial sweeteners, artificial additives.
- Take a food journal and record everything you eat for the next three days to become aware of what you’re putting in your body and how many inflammatory foods you’re eating.
- Focus on one inflammatory food that you’re eating the most. Observe your emotions around that food. Is there an emotional connection? Dig deeper and ask yourself a question of why you are eating this food.
- Consider eliminating as many inflammatory foods from your diet as possible. If this step is way too difficult, commit to eliminating one inflammatory food for the next 6 weeks. Notice the difference in how you feel.
3. Intermittent Fasting.
If you’re not struggling with low blood sugar consider intermittent fasting. Give your body a break for some period of time by not eating anything except drinking clean water or organic herbal teas. Process of digestion requires a lot of energy and can be inflammatory by itself.
- Find a schedule that works for you and your lifestyle. For example, eat between the hours of 11 am and 7pm and fast between 7pm and 11am.
- Go between 12-16 hours without eating several times a week. You might see even better results if you can restrict further to a 6-hour window access to food.
- Consider Intermittent fasting as a change in lifestyle and not change in a diet.
Make your sleep a priority and aim to have good quality sleep between hours of 6am and 10pm. Most of your body’s physical repair and regeneration occurs between these hours.
- Avoid watching TV or using your computer/ smart phone at least an hour or so before going to bed. TV and computer screen radiate blue light that prevents production of melatonin.
- Consider reading a good neutral book an hour before going to bed
- Keep your phone and all electronic devices away from you at night (or at least put them in airplane mode)
5. Reduce stress.
Chronic Stress is one of the biggest contributors to chronic low level of inflammation in your body. Stress is meant to last for a short period of time and not to be constant. Your perception of the events is going to affect the level of stress you’re experiencing. Changing your perception and developing resilience is going to take some time. Start implementing small steps every day starting today!
- Stay connected with Nature. Your body is a part of Nature so it will help your mind relax, re- charge and think more clearly. Be present when you’re in nature noticing its beauty and wisdom. Observe trees, branches of the trees, leaves, grass. Watch small birds! Ask yourself a question: “What kind of skills do they have to survive?” Find a tree and hug it! Notice how you feel.
- Move your body. Find any type of movement that brings you joy – running, hiking, dancing, biking, swimming, weightlifting or any other activity. If nothing feels joyful, start simple walking. Walking is the most therapeutic exercise for your body, mind and soul.
- Meditate for at least 5 min a day. It will make a difference.
6. Release toxic relationships.
Chronic emotional toxicity is very inflammatory, draining and destructive. There is an intimate connection between your emotions, mind and physical body. Toxic relationships destroy not only the emotional part of you but mental and physical too. Constant emotional pain creates imbalances and disease down the road.
- Look at people in your life and notice what kind of energy they are bringing to you. Is it supportive and nourishing or toxic and draining? Release all toxic relationships if possible.
- If you still have to stay in touch with an unhealthy person, limit contact with that person and have strong boundaries around it.
- Spend time with people you like and spend even more time with people you like yourself the most.
7. Release excess weight.
This step will take some time but when achieved it will significantly lower overall inflammation in your body. Start taking small steps and commit to losing 5lbs.
- Examine your mindset around weight loss. What’s holding you back? Is it fear? Is there a part of you that is afraid of losing weight? Find that part and talk to it.
- Become aware of your eating habits. Every time you notice a part of you that has the urge of making an unhealthy choice, pause and say “Thank you so much for offering me this comforting food. I know you do it out of love and I love you too. But I chose not to have it. I will pick something healthier for myself”
- Repeat steps 1-6 and watch your weight melt away.
If you desire to reclaim your health, increase energy, reduce chronic inflammation and pain learn about True Health, P.C. programs here.