You meet a friend for coffee one afternoon. During the course of the conversation, you mention how your migraines have become worse than they were in the past. She mentions how she hasn’t felt up to par lately either. She’s been unusually tired, and she wonders if it’s because of her allergies.
You might be surprised to find out that both of these problems, and many more, often have one single cause: chronic inflammation.
Inflammation is a good thing when it is kept in its proper place. It comes to your rescue when you have a virus or when you have trauma, such as a broken arm or even a cut. However, chronic inflammation occurs when your body doesn’t recall the cytokines, which cause the inflammation, back to their proper station.
Chronic inflammation can manifest itself in many forms, including:
- joint pain
- high blood pressure
- sleep disturbances
- digestive complaints
- temporal arteritis (inflammation of the temporal artery)
- mood swings
- skin problems such as eczema and psoriasis
How do you help your body get out of inflammation mode?
Fighting Chronic Inflammation Naturally
There is truly an abundance of medications you can take to combat the symptoms of chronic inflammation. But why not get rid of it altogether by fighting the root causes?
Check out these eight lifestyle tips to get rid of your chronic inflammation:
1. Avoid Junk Food
Yes, this may be easier said than done. However, your sugar habit is preventing you from enjoying good health, and giving it up is worth the sacrifice. Sugars and refined carbohydrates (think white breads, pastries, donuts, and cereals) increase inflammation and prevent your body from receiving nutrients that it needs to decrease inflammation.
2. Switch From Coffee to Green Tea
Green tea contains an abundance of antioxidants that fight inflammation. As an added bonus, it contains large amounts of the amino acid L-theanine, which greatly aids in reducing anxiety.
3. Exercise at Least 3-4 Times Per Week
Moving your body helps your blood to mobilize and remove the toxins that are creating your inflammation. Move about as much as you can, even if you are combatting fatigue. Gentle exercises such as walking, stretching, and Pilates go a long way to helping your body recover.
4. Get Your B Vitamins
Homocysteine is an amino acid that your body normally breaks down into SAM-E and glutathione. The latter is what helps your body get rid of toxins. However, your body may have a hard time with this conversion, either due to poor diet or because of a genetic defect called MTHFR. When this occurs, toxins build up, and your body becomes chronically inflamed. What can you do about this?
First, ask your doctor to test your homocysteine level. This is a simple blood test. Many health care practitioners agree that a level of 6 or below is ideal. If your level is higher than that, consider supplementation of methylcobalamin (the active form of vitamin B12), 5-Methyltetrahydro Folate (make sure it’s not folic acid), and vitamin B6.
Once your homocysteine level returns to normal, you will notice a reduction in your symptoms of chronic inflammation.
5. Eat Your Greens
Whole foods such as green vegetables, whole grains, and fruits contain natural anti-inflammatories. Switching to a diet that consists of whole foods may be the single most important thing you can do to fight chronic inflammation.
6. Sleep Well
While you are sleeping, your body works hard to repair itself. If you are depriving yourself of this opportunity on a regular basis, your body will become chronically inflamed.
If you have trouble falling, or staying, asleep, try a natural sleep aid such as melatonin or L-Tryptophan 500mg-1000mg on an empty stomach.
This may seem like a no-brainer as well. However, if you are breathing in a shallow manner, you are depriving yourself of much-needed oxygen. A well-oxygenated body fights infection and bacteria more effectively and thus keeps inflammation at bay.
8. Get Your Vitamin D Level Checked
In high doses, vitamin D acts a steroid, reducing inflammation. If your level of vitamin D is low, you are losing out on this natural anti-inflammatory. It is especially important to check your levels if you live in a colder climate where you can’t get out in the sunshine. Many practitioners agree that a level around 80 is ideal.
If you are suffering from chronic inflammation, or if you think it might be at the root of your health-related concerns, don’t hesitate to get some help.
In fact, a great place to start is our recent presentation Fight Chronic Inflammation, Naturally. You’ll gain more valuable information, such as the causes of chronic inflammation, the common signs of inflammation, and ways to treat it with diet.
We hope you find it informative, and, most of all, we hope it aids you in getting the best care possible!