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Healthy Habits to Help Ease Inflammation

There is no denying that inflammation is a likely underlying cause of various illnesses and chronic diseases. It has been linked to autoimmune diseases like arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and psoriasis, to name a few. Even without any major health conditions, many people still struggle with the symptoms of inflammation daily without taking control of the problem. While there are many different causes of inflammation in everyday life, this post will focus specifically on healthy habits that can help reduce its effects from occurring in your body.

How to Become Less Inflamed

1. Control Your Stress Levels:

Stress can trigger and/or worsen inflammation in your body through multiple pathways. First, it initiates an inflammatory response in the body by activating a stress hormone called cortisol, which increases blood sugar and makes the liver release proinflammatory substances. Second, elevated levels of stress hormones may be associated with increased intestinal permeability (leaky gut syndrome), which is a factor in most autoimmune disorders. Finally, there are multiple other ways stress can negatively affect your health. One is by causing gradual wear and tear on the body with increased inflammation, as well as causing emotional irritability and mood swings.

2. Do Not Eat Fried/Baked Foods:

Foods that contain high levels of frying or baking oils, such as fried chicken, French fries, and doughnuts, are positively correlated with an inflammatory response in the body. According to an article published on WebMD, fried foods contain trans fats, which trigger inflammation in the body by inhibiting the production of prostacyclin (a molecule that blocks inflammation).

3. Eat More Fruits and Vegetables:

Fruits and vegetables contain fiber and antioxidants. Both of these play a role in reducing chronic inflammation through multiple mechanisms. The fiber in fruits and vegetables helps promote regular bowel movements, which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects on the body. For example, women who eat more fruits and vegetables have decreased levels of C-reactive protein, which is a marker of inflammation that is closely tied to inflammatory diseases such as heart disease. Furthermore, antioxidants in fruits and vegetables help combat cellular damage from free radicals.

4. Eat Red Meat in Moderation:

In the past, research has found that eating red meat (e.g. beef) increased the risk of heart disease. Similarly, it may also increase the risk of developing an inflammatory disease through several different mechanisms. In particular, a diet high in red meat has been correlated with increased levels of C-reactive protein, which is also a biomarker for heart disease and other inflammatory conditions.

5. Limit Alcohol Intake:

In addition to being a major source of calories, alcohol is a depressant that can lead to inflammation in the body. A group of studies conducted by the University of Oxford found that drinking alcohol increases the risk of heart disease, which is also associated with increased levels of C-reactive protein. Furthermore, consuming large amounts every day has also been correlated with increased levels of inflammatory cytokines and cortisol.

6. Get Regular Sleep:

Studies have found that having a regular schedule of sleep (e.g. 7 to 8 hours) decreases the risk of chronic diseases. In particular, having an adequate amount of sleep has been associated with decreasing levels of C-reactive protein and other biomarkers for inflammation in the body.

7. Drink Water:

Much like alcohol, dehydration can trigger the body’s inflammatory response in multiple ways. Most importantly, it can lead to low levels of electrolytes in the body. Electrolytes include sodium, potassium, calcium, and chloride. All of these electrolytes are critical for normal functioning in the body and are often depleted during periods of excessive sweating or fever-like conditions. Furthermore, drinking water throughout the day helps maintain hydration levels in your body and prevents depletion from occurring over time.

8. Add More Omega-3 Fatty Acids:

Omega-3 fatty acids are an essential component of the body’s proper functioning. Studies have found that omega-3s play an important role in reducing inflammation in many different ways. One of these ways is by maintaining healthy levels of C-reactive protein and other biomarkers for inflammation in the body. Furthermore, most people do not consume anywhere near the recommended amount of omega-3s (2,000 mg per day) daily. One of the easiest ways to increase your intake of omega-3s is through foods like salmon, tuna, and flaxseed.

9. Do Exercises Regularly:

Physical activity has a multitude of benefits for the body. In particular, exercise may reduce the risk of chronic diseases by increasing levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), a fat that is beneficial for many aspects of the body and is involved in controlling inflammation. One method for increasing HDL levels is through high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Also, keep in mind that any exercise will help increase your HDL levels.

10. Take Vitamin C:

Most people are not consuming enough vitamin C in their diets. Many people take vitamin C supplements to bridge this gap, but you can also consume vitamin C naturally through foods like broccoli, strawberries, and citrus fruits. Vitamin C plays a role in reducing the risk of many different chronic diseases by helping maintain healthy levels of inflammation in the body. Furthermore, there is no evidence to suggest that consuming vitamin C through supplements will be harmful (unless consumed in large amounts).

11. Sleep in a Dark Room:

While you sleep, your body produces melatonin, which is a hormone that promotes sleep and decreases levels of inflammation in the body. If you are exposed to bright lights while sleeping, it can inhibit the production of melatonin and increase inflammation. Note that this does not apply to artificial lights coming from electronic devices or room lights that have turned off but still emit some light (e.g. lamp light). It’s important to turn these off entirely if possible.

12. Drink Green Tea:

Green tea has many health benefits. In particular, it reduces the risk of several different chronic diseases by downregulating inflammatory responses in the body and upregulating anti-inflammatory responses. One study found that drinking green tea reduced chronic inflammation in mice with obesity-induced diabetes and was associated with lower levels of inflammatory cytokines and C-reactive protein. Furthermore, drinking green tea can replace coffee in your diet while still delivering an energy boost and keeping your mind alert.

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