I have been talking a lot about inflammation lately! And that’s because more and more research is pointing towards Chronic inflammation to be one of the most important causes of disease in modern society. Inflammation is almost always a factor in diseases such as Cancer, Diabetes, Arthritis, Heart Disease, Neurodegenerative Diseases and even Behavioural Changes.
I also believe in the fact that our body knows how to heal itself! But you see, the thing is that our modern-day diet and lifestyle is such that makes it very difficult for a common man to keep inflammation at bay! As a result, our cells lose the capacity to heal itself! The result is slow deterioration of health that often leads to full-blown diseases.
In this article, you will discover 6 ways to keep inflammation in check or in other words, support a healthy inflammatory response by the body.
We are constantly being exposed to toxins on a daily basis. There are pesticides, heavy metals, air pollution, mold, and more. Hydrating effectively is one of the key strategies to make sure the body is able to effectively detox. Hydrating really well helps to clear out the bowels, keep toxins moving through the liver and kidneys, and helps to eliminate them through sweat. Additionally, your cells require adequate hydration to carry out proper functions. In general, the more hydrated you are, the less inflammation will be present in your body.
Check out some basic rules of hydrating your body in our online course Basics of healthy eating!
Hydrate yourself first thing in the morning before consuming your first meal. This will help flush out your body and get it primed for the day. You may add a pinch of natural salts such as pink Himalayan salt to your water to provide electrolytes.
Stagnancy breeds disease! It is incredibly crucial to keep things moving. This applies to just about every organ system including the bowels, urinary tract, sweat glands, circulatory system, lymphatics, and even your muscles. Keeping these systems flowing is what keeps them healthy. When we become stagnant in any of these areas it leads to accumulation of toxins in the body which in turn leads to inflammation. Daily exercise is a must for moving the lymph and boosting circulation. Delivering fresh blood to your tissues is an important strategy for lowering inflammation as it helps to flush away metabolic waste and provide nutrients to inflamed tissues for faster healing.
Go for walks and get adequate exercise on a daily basis. Avoid sitting for extended amounts of time. Getting regular massages or simply doing self-massage on a daily basis is a great way to boost your circulation.
Chronic stress is one of the well known causes that could lead to a rapid increase in inflammatory biomarkers called cytokines. If we don’t do anything to control our stress, then these cytokines could be highly damaging to the body over time. Chronically elevated pro-inflammatory cytokine markers weaken our immune system over time. And this could increase our likelihood of catching infections and disease. Read more on Stress and how to manage stress in our blog “Stress through an Ayurvedic lens”
One of the best ways to help your body heal as well as counteract the stressors of daily life is really getting the best sleep possible. During sleep, your brain flushes out metabolic wastes and the body is put into a deep healing state. Chronic stress on top of poor sleep is a recipe for rapid degeneration of health.
Optimizing sleep has a lot to do with regulating your circadian rhythm. Your body is designed to be awake when the sun is up and asleep when the sun is down. With so many artificial light sources, the body no longer receives the right signals for sleep.
To get a good night sleep it is important to see the morning sun! And try to be in bed by 10:00 PM if possible. Did you know, every hour of sleep before midnight is equal to 3 hours after midnight? Avoid artificial light within 1-2 hours of bedtime by using blue light blocking glasses. If you have a hard time falling asleep, try to blackout your room with good curtains. Limit caffeine intake. Develop a good pre-sleep routine. Practice gratitude to relax your mind. More on sleep in my blog “Sleep like a baby”.
You all know by now, you are what you eat! If you want to manage inflammation, you need to start thinking about what you are putting into your body.
Many people go about their days thinking they are eating healthy when all they are really doing is flooding their body with sugar and refined carbs, that is putting their body in a constant inflammatory state. At the same time, many people are consuming foods that are hard to digest and lead to inflammation in the digestive tract. Chronically inflaming the digestive tract is one of the most common factors seen in people with autoimmune diseases. As gut inflammation leads to leaky gut, which leads to undigested food particles as well as foreign material and toxins slipping into the blood stream. This could overwhelm the immune system, causing massive inflammation.
In my previous blog “Top 7 inflammatory foods” I mentioned all the foods that lead to inflammation in the body. First and foremost, sugar and grains must be removed from the diet. Also, anything that is easily metabolized into sugar should be drastically limited to help balance blood sugar.
Replace the majority of calories from carbs with healthy fat sources. Use coconut oil, grass-fed butter or ghee, olive oil, and avocado oil. Other great fat sources include coconut milk, avocados, nuts and seeds (if tolerated), and fatty cuts of pasture-raised meats.
Avoid highly processed vegetable oils like canola, safflower, and soy at all costs as these are highly inflammatory to the body.
Emphasize on the consumption of a variety of non-starchy vegetables and herbs for phytonutrients and antioxidants. Small amounts of low-glycemic fruits like berries, lemons, and limes are great too. Flooding the body with these nutrients is powerful way of introducing a good antioxidant support to combat free radical induced inflammation. For more on healthy eating, check out our self-paced online course on “The basics of healthy eating”, where you will find easy to follow rules of a healthy and well balanced diet. It also has great info on various nutritional supplements with their Pros & Cons.
Although nothing can replace a healthy diet, but sometimes supplements are needed to speed up the healing process for those who are struggling with a health challenge. Certain supplements have been shown to be powerful modulators of inflammation.
Here are the top 3 supplements for managing inflammatory conditions…
Omega-3 is on top of the list of anti-inflammatory nutrients.
Omega-3 fatty acids are one of the most important supplements for reducing inflammation. Most people today are consuming highly processed diets that are high in Omega-6 fats and deficient in Omega-3. This imbalance alone contributes to higher levels of inflammation in the body. Therefore, by increasing your ratio of Omega-3 to omega-6 fats is crucial in keeping inflammation in check.
Curcumin is one of the most comprehensively studied anti-inflammatory compounds. Derived from the Indian root spice, turmeric, this compound has tremendous healing potential in many areas of disease which may have a lot to do with its ability to mitigate inflammation.
Vitamin D deficiency is becoming very common in our society due to sunscreen use and low amounts of sun exposure. On top of this, the average diet is severely lacking dietary sources of Vitamin D such as organ meats and certain fish. Vitamin D is one of the most powerful nutrients responsible for modulating and coordinating the immune system. By re-coordinating the immune system, vitamin D has a powerful anti-inflammatory effect.
Want to learn more on inflammation, what’s the difference between acute and chronic inflammation and what are its risk factors, causes and consequences. Powerful strategies on how to lower inflammation and reduce the risk of disease with diet and lifestyle instead of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), do check out our self-paced online course on Managing Pain with Diet and Lifestyle backed with the wisdom of Ayurveda!
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It is my humble wish to make Basics of Ayurveda and holistic nutrition available to each one of us in an easy to understand format. ‘coz if all of us are healthy at the deepest level of the soul, only then this planet will be a happier place to live!
M.Sc., R.H.N., Certified Ayurvedic Lifestyle Consultant
The content provided in my blogs are for knowledge sharing purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.