Inflammation is a natural process that works as our first line of defense to protect our bodies against foreign invaders such as bacteria and viruses.
Although short periods of inflammation are generally a good thing, long-term exposure can be dangerous to our health and can put us at an increased risk for various diseases such as cancer, heart disease, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, and autoimmune conditions.
Adopting an anti-inflammatory lifestyle helps to reduce chronic inflammation, helping to keep us healthy and reduce our risk for illness and disease.
Some common signs of chronic inflammation include:
- Aches and pains
- Depression and anxiety
- Acid reflux
- Weight gain
So many of the foods we find at our local grocery stores or at restaurants tend to be the biggest contributors to chronic inflammation.
Some of these common offenders include:
- White, refined sugar
- Refined and processed grains, including white bread and pasta
- Fried foods
- Saturated fats
- Vegetable oils
- Processed meats
Here are some natural ways to reduce inflammation and get you feeling your very best.
Lemon water is an effective way to support your liver, promote detoxification and reduce and eliminate inflammation.
Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into a cup of hot or room temperature filtered water and enjoy first thing in the morning. It can also be enjoyed throughout the day or in the evening.
Eliminate refined grains
Not only do refined and processed grains (i.e., white bread and pasta) lack in nutritional content, but they also tend to have an inflammatory effect on our bodies.
Always try to include whole grains in your diet as a healthier alternative. They provide us with beneficial vitamins and minerals and have an anti-inflammatory effect. These include:
- Brown rice
- Sprouted wheat bread
Incorporate good quality fats
Healthy fats are an excellent (and tasty!) way to reduce inflammation.
Fatty fish are a great source of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. These help to combat and reduce inflammation. They include salmon, cod, trout, mackerel, sea bass, sardines, anchovies, arctic char and tuna.
Other sources of healthy fats to include in your diet on a regular basis include:
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Coconut and avocado oil
- Nuts and seeds (i.e., almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds)
- Flax and chia seeds
Green tea contains powerful antioxidants, polyphenols and EGCG, which have strong anti-inflammatory properties.
Consume 1-2 cups of loose-leaf green tea a day for their anti-inflammatory benefits.
Turmeric contains a powerful substance called curcumin, which is known for its strong anti-inflammatory properties.
Try using this delicious spice throughout the day to help combat inflammation.
It can be used in smoothies, eggs, soups and stews and tastes great in marinades and dressings. You can also season your roasted vegetables or grain side dish.
Click here for a delicious turmeric “golden milk” latte recipe.
A healthy gut is one of the key components to a healthy, anti-inflammatory lifestyle.
To help promote optimal digestion, incorporate probiotic-rich foods on a daily basis.
Cruciferous vegetables are known for their anti-inflammatory effects by providing us with ample amounts of antioxidants.
Consume at least 1 serving of cruciferous vegetables from the Brassica family everyday to help reduce inflammation. These include:
- Bok choy
- Collard greens
- Broccoli sprouts
A sedentary lifestyle can be a big contributor to inflammation.
Aim for at least 30-45 minutes of exercise 3-5 times a week to help suppress inflammation and reduce our risk for disease.