The prevalence of inflammation and chronic diseases may surprise you.The World Health Organization (WHO) ranks chronic diseases as the greatest threat to human health. Unfortunately due to many lifestyle habits, the number of those suffering with a chronic condition is multiply faster and faster. Back in 2000, nearly 26% of Americans were living with a chronic condition. More recently in 2014 nearly 60% of Americans had at least one chronic condition, 42% had more than one and 12% of adults had 5 or more chronic conditions. On a very serious note, 3 of 5 people die due to chronic inflammatory diseases. These are diseases such as stroke, diabetes, cancer, heart disorders, chronic respiratory diseases, obesity, and diabetes. With this many people suffering from chronic diseases, it’s likely we will find things in their lives that are linked to causing inflammation within the body. This post will cover ways to naturally reduce inflammation.
Do you need to naturally reduce inflammation?Most people are unaware they have chronic inflammation until they are diagnosed with a chronic condition linked to it (such as the ones listed above). However many suffer from chronic inflammation, yet have not been officially diagnosed with a chronic disease.
A few signs of you may need to naturally reduce inflammation you can look for include:
- Body pain
- Mood disorders like depression or anxiety
- Frequent inflections
- Acid reflux
- Joint pain
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Weight gain
- Joint stiffness
- Shortness of breath
First Step To Naturally Reduce Inflammation.
Know Your Supplements. The Big 3: Vitamin K2, Omega 3’s, TurmericVitamin K2 is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in the Western diet. This might sound surprising as most people have hardly heard of this vitamin! Broad spectrum antibiotics are thought to possibly be the blame for this deficiency. Another reason is that the foods this vitamin is typically found in are not consumed regularly in the western diet. You can find Vitamin K2 in foods like liver, sauerkraut and organ meats (yum). Journal of Neuroimmunology published a study which highlighted vitamin K2 was effective at inhibiting the pro-inflammatory iNOS in the spinal cord and the brain immune system in rats that had multiple sclerosis symptoms. MK-4 version of Vitamin K2 is what is most widely recommended when looking at ways to naturally reduce inflammation. It is thought to help with bone health, heart health, cancer protection and sexual health.Vitamin D as well will help you double down on your bodys ability to process and use these vitamins, and in turn naturally reduce inflammation in your body. It’s best to consume these vitamins with a healthy fat meal like salmon, avocado, coconut oil, etc.Omega 3’s as one of the top hits. Omega 3’s are an essential fat needed within the body. The healing effects of incorporating omega 3’s has widespread effects on the body. In particular, your brain. Fun fact – your brain is comprised of about 60% fat. So fueling your body with this healthy fat also fuels your brain.
This is especially critical for those experiencing things like brain fog, fatigue, depression and anxiety.Another reason omega 3’s are so important is to balance out the omega 6’s within the body. It’s all about the sweet spot ratio of your Omega 3’s and Omega 6’s. Omega 6’s are most commonly consumed by refined vegetable oils. For most people, an omega 6 to omega 3 ratio of 4:1 is ideal.
And if ratio’s make you scratch you head like me sometimes, that means:
4 omega 6s
1 omega 3.Some experts even suggest taking it one step further if you’re looking to naturally reduce inflammation for ultimate optimization of your health with a 1:1 ratio or higher in favor of omega3s. The average American eats a ratio of anywhere from 12:1 to 25:1. So not only do you want to focus on upping your Omega 3’s, its also important to be cognizant of your refined vegetable oil consumption so you can reduce Omega 6’s as well.
Recommended Omega Dosage: 2250 mg EPA / 750 mg DHA per day.I love using iHerb’s website to find and buy supplements and have them shipped right to my house. Super easy. [thrive_lead_lock id=’911′]Hidden Content[/thrive_lead_lock]turmeric so special is that is has the most powerful anti-inflammatory tool we are aware of in nature: curcumin (the active component inside). It is also a very powerful antioxidant. You’re going to want a high quality turmeric if you’re looking to naturally reduce inflammation.
Other than it’s incredible inflammation crushing properties, turmeric and curcumin has been known to:
- Increase brain function and lower your risk of brain diseases
- Lowers your risk of heart disease (and may even reverse many steps of heart disease).
- Prevent Alzheimers (or even be used to help treat).
- Fight against cancer.
- Reduce painful arthritis symptoms
- Fight depression. During a randomized control study, curcumin led to improvements that were similar to taking Prozac. *Participants who took both Prozan AND curcumin had the best results.*
If you’re looking for a wellness/maintenance daily dosage, you’ll want to aim for 2 grams per day.
If you’re struggling from any kind of chronic illness, pain, or condition, and truly want to naturally reduce inflammation, then you’ll want to aim for closer to 10 grams per day.*Pro tip: If you’re consuming turmeric through your home cooked meals, be sure to crack some black pepper in with that meal! When you do that, your body’s ability to use this powerful anti-inflammatory increases by 2,000%! This is a great remedy for inflammation. If you’re buying your supplements and taking them in pill form, make sure piperine is included.
To Naturally Reduce Inflammation: Go nuts on nuts.Eating nuts has been shown to ACTIVELY reduce inflammatory markers in your blood. C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin 6 (IL6) for you science folks out there. Knowing what foods to eat are super important when looking to naturally reduce inflammation. Nuts will be one food you see on the list of foods you should consume if you’re looking to naturally reduce inflammation, but I want to be sure you do not skim over that one. Nuts have even been shown to increase life expectancy and lower rates of heart disease and diabetes. Basically, go nuts on nuts. In order to achieve measurable results, it’s recommended you aim for 3-5 ounces, per day.
For example, if you are looking for a 1 ounce serving of nuts, use this as a frame of reference:
- 29 almonds
- 16 cashews
- 14 walnuts.
Instead of just getting your servings by eating raw nuts alone, here are some creative suggestions for incorporating nuts as you snack:
- Peanut butter + banana
- Almond butter + pear
- Walnut pesto + salad
Anti-Inflammation Foods Are Your Friend.Certain foods are known to cause inflammation while others are known to combat inflammation. This next section will focus on how to naturally reduce inflammation by adding anti-inflammatory foods into your diet. When in doubt, incorporate more of these anti inflammatory foods into your diet:
- Fatty fish (double whammy with the omega 3s!)
- Berries (strawberries, blueberries, goji berries)
- Dark chocolate or cocoa (woo-woo!!)
- Green tea (higher concentration is best).
- Extra virgin olive oil.
- Nuts (walnuts + almonds).
While we are on the topic of food and inflammation, you’ll want to avoid the following foods if you’re looking to stop consuming these inflammation foods:
- Sugary drinks (juice and soda).
- White bread.
- White pasta.
- Fried foods (mainly the transfats found here, double whammy on omega 6’s).
- Saturated fats.
- Table sugar.
- High-fructose corn syrup.
- Vegetable oil.
- Soybean oil.
- Excess in carbohydrates.
- Oils that contain omega-6 fatty acids.
- Aspartame found in “sugar free drinks.”
- Processed meats.
- Chips and crackers (processed snacks).
- Sugary desserts (cookies, ice cream, candy).
- *For some* = Nightshade family foods like tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplants (eliminating these and slowly adding them back in to see how you feel is a good test to see if you fall into this category)
Naturally Reduce Inflammation By Limiting Your Booze.
One of the best parts of ending my week (or sometimes my day!) is looking forward to a glass of high quality red wine. I’m a sucker for Pinot Noir.However drinking alcohol is a surefire way to ruin your journey to naturally reduce inflammation. Depending on how chronic your inflammation is, and how chronic your condition is, and how determined you are to jumpstart your body into naturally reducing inflammation… you may want to eliminate alcohol all together (especially when you are just starting out). I’m sure you’ve heard that there have been studies that have shown having 1 drink per day can actually be good for your heart. It’s actually this study here. While there are antioxidant properties of the flavonoids found in wine, as well as the probiotics found in beer (both of which are anti-inflammatory in nature), we do have to look at the risk vs benefit of these alcoholic drinks. Consuming alcohol will still take a toll on your liver, and this study is limited to 1 drink per day and focuses on the benefit of heart health and not chronic inflammation . Once you say “yes” to your second round, you’re crossing into the zone causing inflammation, rather than combating it. So, if I were you, I would just reserve a drink for special occasions. And on every other day adopt a a complete elimination of booze to kick start your body into a state of healing. This is an excellent decision to support your process of naturally reducing inflammation in your body.
Gut Check. Do You Have Inflammation Of The Gut?Gut health is all the rage right now- and for good reason. Inflammation in your gut can lead to a myriad of things such as depression, fatigue, autoimmune diseases, poor skin and weight gain. Your gut flora is SO important, they are the “good” bacteria that help you naturally reduce inflammation and even play a huge role in your immune system. To heal your gut, you’ll want to first begin with eliminating the foods that are setting your gut on fire (listed previously as inflammatory foods to avoid). Then you will want to start filling your gut with foods that make your belly happy (listed previously as anti-inflammatory foods to go to town on). But what you’ll really need to answer is this: how do you repair the damage done to all the “good bacteria” in your gut previously? Good news: this is actually quite easy! Foods like kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha and kimchi and loaded with awesome bacteria that your gut will LOVE. I’m sure you’re thinking, thanks for those foods buuuuuut, do I really need to eat sauerkraut everyday to heal up my gut? Of course you’ll want to try to incorporate as many probiotic foods as you can, but a daily probiotic supplement is the best way to stay consistent and fast track your gut into a happier state.
When choosing a probiotic, you will want to be sure to find on that includes strains of Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium.How much should you take? Shoot for at least 10 billion CFU per day. If you’re looking to find a good probiotic and have it sent to your home, check out this website to order probiotics.
While we are talking supplements at the gut lining, here are some other excellent choices to incorporate to heal up the walls of your gut:
Secret Weapon To Naturally Reduce Inflammation: Purify The Air In Your House With Plants.Inflammation and air quality are tightly bound. This may not be one tip that you get from many inflammation tool kits, but this is a HUGELY underrated way to naturally reduce inflammation in your body. Your lungs are a powerful set of organs which play a biiiiig role in filtering out the bad stuff and making sure your brain and heart get the oxygen they need. It’s estimated that you will take about 23,040 breaths per day… which equates to 8,409,600 breaths per year. Woah. Chronic inflammation of blood vessels leads to increased cardiovascular risk. Researchers have found that after folks were exposed to polluted air, they also found higher inflammatory markers in their bloodstream. A few things to first think about:
- Do you burn scented candles that are not pure? Do they have fragrances and toxic chemicals you’re burning into the air? (I know, they might smell AH-MAY-ZING, but they really aren’t awesome for our lungs to have to filter through)/
- Are you exposed to first or second hand smoke?
- -Do you clean your house with toxic cleaning products?
- Have you recently painted your house?
- What is the quality of your perfume and/or hairsprays?
- Do you dry clean a large majority of your clothes?
- Do you use air fresheners? (think- bathroom!)
- When is the last time you used and cleaned your humidifier (think-mold diffusing into your air).
- Do you burn wood in your fireplace?
I love plants. I had to actively restrict myself from writing I LOVE PLANTS when I typed that out.Filling the home with natural green plants actually has a lot of benefits other than purifying the air. Studies have actually shown that creating a garden oasis in your home reduces stress levels, boosts your mood, and even improves concentration and productivity by 15%. WOW! I wonder if that’s because you have better air quality so your lungs can provide cleaner oxygen to your body more easily? Just a thought.
Shoot for these plants that have been shown to filter air quality and purify all 8,409,600 breaths of the year:
Did you know you can buy live plants on Amazon? Just click the plant name!
- Boston fern.
Bonus Tip To Naturally Reduce Inflammation: Chiropractic Care.You’re probably like most people wondering: how the heck can a chiropractor address chronic inflammation? Doesn’t a chiropractor deal with spinal health?
The simple 2 responses to your pondering question “how can chiropractic help inflammation?”: your nervous system and immune system.You chiropractor can evaluate your spine and make any corrections or adjustments. Issues such as joint restrictions or dysfunctions can cause irritation within your nervous system. When your nervous system is irritated, no one is happy, and inflammation can flourish. Once a spinal adjustment is made, this allows your body to communicate better, move better (and usually feel better too). This leads to a better functioning immune system less inclined to short circuit in the fight against inflammation.
Let’s Recap:On your journey to address your health to naturally reduce inflammation, follow these
- Consume the big three supplements: Vitamin K2, Omega 3’s, Turmeric
- Go nuts on nuts.
- Consume foods known for their anti-inflammatory effects.
- Avoid foods known for their pro-inflammatory effects.
- Limit your booze.
- Heal and repair the gut.
- Purify the air you breathe by eliminating air toxins and adding air purifying house plants.
- Get under chiropractic care.