When Inflammation isn't temporary
5 Simple Ways to Stop Inflammation
by Kelly Clonts
Inflammation is your body’s defense against toxins, infections, and injuries. But inflammation should be temporary – it should subside when no longer needed. When inflammation goes on and on, for months or years, it is considered chronic, and leads to disease, not healing. The most dangerous inflammation occurs inside your body where you can’t see it, and where there are no pain receptors so you don’t feel it. This inflammation is behind almost every chronic disease, including diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. However, making smart lifestyle choices and adding natural anti-inflammatory supplements can lead to a much healthier outcome for you and your body.
- Eat, whole, unprocessed foods: When you eat ‘real’ foods – that is, foods that don’t list a bunch of ingredients on their labels (or don’t have labels at all), you are doing your health a major favor. Whole, unprocessed foods provide vitamins, minerals, polyphenols, and fiber and are remarkably satisfying and naturally anti-inflammatory. If you’ve gotten into a habit of dining on less than healthy choices, start introducing berries, leafy greens, fresh vegetables, and nuts into your regular meals or as snacks. You may be surprised at the difference they make for your state of body and mind.
- Get a good gut feeling with probiotics: Along with a healthy diet of wholesome foods, supporting your gut with pre- and probiotics is a great way to get the most nutrient value from your meals, maintain healthy digestion, keep your immune system responsive, and support a mind-body connection that keeps you feeling energized and in balance. Some of your dietary choices may already supply you with prebiotics (leafy greens, peas, berries) and probiotics (yogurt, kombucha), but you can always add a probiotic supplement to keep things consistent, too.
- Get moving every day: It might feel counterintuitive to exercise more if you’re already dealing with pain and inflammation, but staying in motion is the best way to keep your muscles trained, toned, and ready. In fact, by resisting the urge to rest too much (a little is okay), you’ll actually feel better than you would by chilling on the couch.
- Manage your stress: Reducing reactivity and remaining calm can be tough for many of us. But making the effort to do so is absolutely worth it. Not only do you reduce your own stress levels, you reduce the stress of people around you. Try to note when you feel like you are ‘spinning up’ or ‘spiraling down’ in response to situations at work, family disagreements, or heavy traffic and realize that these are only temporary situations, even if your habit is to think otherwise. It might not relax you immediately, and it can take time to develop this skill, but even recognizing when you are going down old emotional roads is a good start. Other activities, like volunteering at local food banks or animal shelters, meditating in silence for ten minutes per day, and starting a daily exercise regimen if you don’t have one already, can help, too. In time, these simple practices can change the emphasis of how you think, your habitual patterns, and ultimately, how you deal with daily setbacks or unexpected challenges.
- Consider curcumin: This compound from turmeric (Curcuma longa) is one botanical you may want to add to your regimen every day. Curcumin is one of nature’s most powerful anti-inflammatories and has been clinically studied for virtually every type of health concern, from depression to dementia to cancer. It can be used on its own, or blended with other
Although the words ‘curcumin’ and ‘turmeric’ are often used interchangeably, they are not the same thing. Curcumin is a compound from turmeric that is considered responsible for much of the botanical’s benefits. Plain turmeric powder may contain only about 2 percent curcumin. Clinical trials today almost always use standardized curcumin extracts to provide high levels of this powerful compound. Curcumin can be difficult for the body to absorb in the digestive tract, so it needs a bit of help, so blending it with turmeric essential oil gives it the boost it needs for the best benefits for health.
If you want to manage your inflammation rather than have it manage you, making some lifestyle changes and adding the right nutritional supplements can make a remarkable difference.