How to naturally tame chronic inflammation

Most of us associate inflammation with pain, but inflammation isn’t always a bad thing

Racha Adib
Racha Adib
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Most of us associate inflammation with pain, such as when our knee gets swollen after a fall. But inflammation isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, in most cases, it’s our body’s attempt to heal itself when something harmful affects it.

In other cases, however, inflammation can last a while and get out of control. This form of inflammation, also known as chronic inflammation, has been associated with various disorders such as cancer, diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, stroke, celiac, psoriasis, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease, Alzheimer’s, you name it.

There are a number of ways you can naturally tame chronic inflammation and a lot of the times the key lies in your diet and lifestyle habits.

Consume fatty fish. People who consumed fatty fish, a rich source of Omega-3, cut their risk of heart disease by 23 percent due their anti-inflammatory effect. Examples of fatty fish are salmon, sardine, and tuna. Remember Bake or grill fish as opposed to frying. To reap the full benefits, eat fatty fish at least three times a week. Not a fan of fish? Consider taking a one gram daily supplement of Omega-3.

Load up on Vitamin K. Another study revealed that Vitamin K can play a protective role against cytokines, small proteins that regulate inflammatory responses. Where is Vitamin K found? Think dark green: Spinach, lettuce, broccoli, chicory, and parsley.
Get a dose of lycopene. Lycopene, found in tomatoes, have been shown to reduce inflammation, specifically in the lungs, and subsequently reduce the risk of developing asthma. To get a concentrated dosage of lycopene, go for tomato juice or sauce.

Consider probiotics. In a study on mice, it was reported that inflammation in the intestine of mice could cause DNA damage and raise their risk of cancer. To keep intestinal inflammation at bay, beneficial bacteria, also known as probiotics, may be the solution. Incorporate yogurt in your diet one or two times a day. And if you’re not a fan of dairy, you can always take it in supplement form.

Drizzle olive oil. A substance called oleocanthal, found in olive oil, fights inflammation the same way anti-inflammatory drugs do; by inhibiting the activity of an enzyme called cyclooxygenase which plays a role in the inflammatory pathway. Adding olive oil to your diet lowers your chances of developing inflammation related diseases such as colon cancer and heart disease.

Sip on Green Tea. Green tea has been trendy in the recent years, and with good reason. This drink contains a natural antioxidant called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) not found in other teas. According to some studies, EGCG stops the production of inflammatory chemicals; specifically those involved in arthritis by preventing cartilage from breaking down.
Incorporate rosehips. Recent research suggests that Rosehips could tackle a wide range of inflammatory diseases. More recently, rosehips have been shown to improve symptoms of arthritis, bowel disease, and heart disease. These red berries can be made into a jam, added on your oatmeal, or brewed as tea.

Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight raises your inflammatory risk; however your body fat distribution may be even more important. It’s riskier if you put fat on your waist as opposed to your hips. Why? Because a large waistline, above 88 cm for women and 102 cm for men, can raise your chance of having high blood pressure, high sugar levels, and high triglyceride. These all contribute to an inflammatory condition called the metabolic syndrome, a precursor of diabetes and heart disease.

Get adequate sleep. Based on research, your inflammation risk is much greater if you’re not getting your seven to nine hours of sleep. Furthermore, anything that stresses the body, from too little sleep to too much tension, may cause fat to accumulate on your belly.

Get active, but don’t overdo it. With no doubt, physically active people are at less risk of inflammation than people who follow a sedentary lifestyle. But extreme workouts can cause inflammation levels to rise for a day or two. The key is to get enough exercise but not too much. Anyone who goes beyond an hour a day should consider taking omega-3 supplements or green tea extract.

Floss every day. The link between gum disease and heart disease has been well recognized. The bacterium that causes inflammation and swelling in the gums appears to be the cause of inflammation in the arteries responsible for blood clotting. Then again, it’s never a bad idea to have good oral hygiene.

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