Did you know low grade systemic inflammation is the root cause of most chronic diseases? In some cases, this inflammatory response is due to the food we eat and our lifestyle habits.
Several factors affect immune function. They include food sensitivities and/or allergies, alcohol consumption, antibiotic use, stress levels, diet, lack of sleep, gut health and lifestyle.
Symptoms of low-grade inflammation vary wildly from person to person. The most common include premature ageing, susceptibility to bacterial, fungal, and viral infections, acid reflux, skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and acne, arthritis or achy joints, brain fog, urinary track infections and candidiasis. Typically, these symptoms become chronic over time and are difficult to treat because often the symptoms are targeted and not the root cause: low-grade inflammation.
1. Eat a salad every day. Eating leafy greens like kale, arugula, spinach and lettuce gives your body the vital nutrients and hydration it needs to stave off inflammation. Greens are packed with antioxidants and bioactive compounds that keep free radicals from creating new inflammatory responses. Click here to learn about the 10 health benefits of plant-based Mediterranean diet.
2. Eat at regular intervals during the day. This practice helps to keep blood sugar levels stable and prevent systemic inflammation as a response. Healthy snacks include apple with almond butter, cashews, tortilla chips and guacamole. The aim is to keep blood sugar levels stable.
3. Prioritize your sleep. Chronic sleep deprivation results in low grade systemic inflammation because the body is not getting the deep, restorative sleep it needs to heal, repair and rejuvenate. Studies show 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep is ideal for most adults.
4. Spend time outside. Studies show as little as a 20-minute walk outside can reduce inflammatory markers. Our bodies are designed to move, and to be outside absorbing the sun for vital vitamin D production. Low vitamin D levels can result on chronic low-grade inflammation and be a precursor to some cancers. If you suspect you could be vitamin D deficient, check in with your primary care physician to get tested. Click here to learn more about the benefits of spending time in nature.
5. Add turmeric to your spice drawer. Turmeric has powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, and antioxidant properties. Turmeric’s curcumin reduces inflammation naturally, without damaging the liver or kidneys. Add it to sauces, smoothies, roasted veggies and elixirs for a little boost.
6. Focus on your gut health. Remove inflammatory foods such as gluten, dairy, alcohol, nightshades and processed foods with additives, preservatives and added sugar. Add probiotics to help populate the gut with good bacteria. Add prebiotics to feed the good bacteria. To learn more ways to support your gut health, click here.
7. Take a break from alcohol. If consumed in excess, alcohol is inflammatory. It is advisable to take a break from alcohol while working to decrease low-grade inflammation. It will help improve sleep and increase energy which will make it more likely you will make other healthy choices that support your health and well-being.
8. Cut out dairy and gluten. Dairy and gluten are two of the most common irritants to the digestive system. It’s best to cut out gluten for 3 weeks and then gradually add it back into your diet. Observe how you feel. If you feel no difference, do the same with dairy. Trial and error are the best approach.
9. Avoid processed food. Added sugars, dyes, and artificial ingredients are often found in conventionally processed food. All of which trigger and aggravate inflammation. Try cutting out processed foods while adding in antioxidant rich whole foods such as grains, fruits, vegetables and healthy fats.
10. Reduce stress levels. Finding ways to manage stress helps to keep inflammation in check. When you are stressed it keeps the body in a “flight/flight/freeze” high stress state. This creates systemic stress on the body and fuels inflammation on a cellular level. Develop stress resiliency by finding relaxing activities such as walking in nature, journaling, yoga, breathwork or meditation practices.
Keeping low-grade inflammation in check is important for overall health and wellness. Healthy habits and routines work to keep your mind, body and soul in balance. Small changes to your daily routine will reap big rewards in the long run. Health is a journey, not a destination. Start small, with 1 suggestion and build from there. Do not feel like you have to do all 10 tips at once. These are suggestions. Start with the one that resonates most and refer back to the others when you feel ready. Tap into your intuition and let it guide you.
If you need more support the Renew your Health Plan is a 4-week coaching intensive to help you tackle your top health goal. If reducing low-grade inflammation is a must for you, let’s connect. I will create a fully customized, evergreen plan just for you so you start looking and feeling your best right away! You deserve it.
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Ashley Logan is a Certified Integrative Health Coach, writer and workshop facilitator who helps women create actionable strategies that support physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellness for optimal health.
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