Inflammation can arise from immediate sources, like smashing your thumb with a hammer, getting snacked on by a mosquito, or even having one too many margaritas. However, another variety of inflammation is far more insidious: chronic inflammation. Often with no immediate cause or obvious source, this kind of lingering inflammation is associated with a giant raft of health concerns: allergic reactions, arthritis, immune system disorders, heart disease, cancer, obesity, acne and even mental health concerns such as depression.
Ideally, you want to keep the inflammation levels of your body as low as possible. Prescription steroids and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen do a fantastic job of quelling the causes and symptoms of acute inflammation. For chronic inflammation, however, eating the right foods and taking care of your body’s stress level is a better way to keep your system in balance. Try the following methods of reducing inflammation naturally, and talk to your doctor to decide which ones work for you.
1. Exercise: Ah yes, the universal tonic. Regular exercise decreases inflammation, as long as you don’t twist an ankle or overheat. For optimum levels, practice multiple rounds of physical activity with low intensity. Save the continuous over-exertion for the professional athletes.
2. Turmeric: The bright golden root that gives us curcumin (the color behind yellow curry) is also reputed to reduce inflammation. Long used by Chinese and Ayurvedic medicines, curcumin lowers the level of two enzymes that cause inflammation. Cook with turmeric or take it in capsule form.
3. Green Tea: Young green tea leaves contain special phytochemicals that seem to help fight inflammation. You need to drink 3-4 cups per day to see results, so double-bag your morning cup or take supplements to augment your intake.
4. Meditation: Yoga, pilates, outdoor walks, painting, singing, cooking, – whatever best reduces your stress and makes you happy must be an integral part of your daily life. Cortisol, the stress hormone, usually regulates inflammation naturally. But when you don’t stop to chill out and cortisol is overused, your body tissues become desensitized to its effects. Managing stress correctly and eating a healthy diet are the two most important factors that contribute to a person’s wellbeing. Don’t overlook ongoing stress in your life.
5. Omega-3s: Is there anything these friendly fatty acids don’t do? A major cause of inflammation in modern Western bodies is our over-consumption of omega-6 acids, which leads to an unbalance in the body. Right your system by making foods rich in omega-3s part of your daily diet: salmon, walnuts and ground flaxseeds are all good options.