The very many methods of fighting excessive inflammation
Want to enjoy better health for longer? You need to reduce the amount of inflammation in your body. Read on for nine ways you can do this.
If you keep up with all the latest health studies, or at least those reported on throughout the world, you can be forgiven for believing that almost everything you do is bad for you. Eating red meat, being vegan, eating too much, eating too little, eating just right without a cheat day, the tiresome outcomes are endless.
Of course, most of us know how to identify bad food, read the label, and moderate our vices as appropriate. For a vast majority of people, that should be enough.
Yet one issue is pernicious – the growth of inflammation.
Inflamed tissue is often painful and sensitive, often leading to redness, swelling, and pain. It can exacerbate other health issues you might have, while restricting your healing and potentially even provoking an autoimmune response.
As expected, there are many lifestyle habits that can provoke inflammation. Infections and injuries are the most common, but obesity, an unhealthy diet, smoking, stress, poor sleep, and many more factors can influence how much you experience this.
Nine ways you can fight inflammation
In order to counter the narrative that everything is out to get you – let’s put the power back in your hands. In this post, we’ll discuss (at length) the very many effective methods of fighting inflammation. Sure, it may not be a fight you outright win forever, but the mere act of trying can help you feel ten times better within yourself.
With that in mind, let’s get started.
1) Understanding inflammation
If you’re to fight something, you have to know your enemy. For that reason, it’s good to consider how inflammation shows up in your own life, as well as what it’s comprised of.
Put simply, inflammation isn’t out there to “get you.” In fact, it’s a very important physiological defense system used to help protect you from injuries, irritants, pathogens, and more. For example, if you’re injured, then inflammation can help you clear away the debris and dead cells from the opening, and that also allows for increased blood flow and oxygen supply.
What we’re looking to fight is excessive inflammation due to lifestyle habits that are less than healthy. Keep that in mind, because it will help you avoid over-correcting the issue. After all, any good boxer knows their technique isn’t defined by how hard their punches can be, but by the defensive footwork they can put into place. As such, knowing how and why to fight inflammation is half the battle.
2) Consume anti-inflammatory foods
There aren’t many health problems where eating is a valid course of action for recovery and wellbeing, usually, we’re told to limit our diets and keep our habits contained. Of course, that still applies here, but if you eat the right foods, they can be fundamental in helping you fight inflammation.
Fatty fish is packed with Omega-3, and that’s incredible for fighting inflammation. Berries have antioxidants in them, as do herbal teas like green tea or matcha. You can also gain healthy fats from elsewhere, such as almonds and walnuts. Broccoli, leafy greens, and fruits like oranges make for fantastic staples of your diet.
It’s also healthy to switch to whole grains if you can. Brown rice, quinoa, oats, and more can give you that dietary boost you’re looking for without changing much of your standard dietary intake. All of the foods listed here are delicious, and many can be used in various recipes. Always having these stock standard options at home can be ideal.
3) Stay well hydrated
It’s always important to drink enough water each and every day. That’s water, not just flavorings and coffees. While drinking water won’t immediately reduce your inflammation, it will ensure you support your immune system, detoxify you by flushing out waste products and toxins, promoting optimal blood flow, and improving your joint health too. This last point is especially important because inflammation around your joints can be uncomfortable and difficult to deal with.
As such, keeping a cool glass of water with you throughout the day is perhaps one of the best decisions you could make for your well-being, especially if you cut out most of the sugary or caffeine-filled drinks you enjoy throughout the day because of that (though a little coffee is unlikely to harm you).
4) Cut or limit your vices significantly
We all have bad habits, and if you state otherwise, then your bad habit is a slight preference for mistruth. There’s no shame in having a bad habit, in some cases they can bring texture to our lives. For example, heading out to the bar with your friends for a great night out once a month or so can be enjoyable and lead to great memories, provided you moderate your intake of alcohol and don’t put yourself in harm’s way.
That said, and especially as we get older, limiting your cutting your vices significantly can be ideal. This will help you focus most of all on the good habits and practices that help you feel better about yourself.
In other words, try and cut down your alcohol intake, and sugary desserts (even the ones with aspartame), and work to quitting smoking completely. Whatever you take, it will certainly affect your body. Be cautious, and seek answers to questions like “does aspartame cause inflammation?”, “how worse can smoking affect my body?”, and “what are healthy alternatives of my craving?”
If you vape, try to get rid of that habit as well. All of these habits can lead to inflammation in your body, delay healing, and potentially age your skin as well. It’s important to remember that aging can come with its own form of inflammation, so trying not to age quite so rapidly is going to be a healthy step forward for sure.
5) Take the right supplements
Above, we mentioned some of the excellent dietary choices you can make to help fight inflammation. In some cases, you can supplement this intake if you don’t have room for it in your balanced diet that day.
For example, not everyone can prepare, cook or even afford fresh fatty fish every single day. No worries, because a tub of Omega-3 tablets can be a fantastic supplement to take each morning, ensuring you always have access to this vital nutrient.
This same logic applies to green tea extract. You can also gain benefits from turmeric which contains curcumin, great in Indian cuisine, and has proven to have antioxidant effects. Vitamin D can provide vital anti-inflammatory effects as well, as this hormone is fantastic for supporting the immune system. Probiotics can help you regulate your gut health, as can fermented healthy-bacteria foods like kimchi.
Furthermore, research into supplements is showcasing promising results. The benefits of BPC-157 seem to indicate great contributions in reducing inflammatory effects.
6) Improve your gut health
More and more science is coming out detailing the importance of gut health on every aspect of wellbeing, especially mood, surprisingly so. However, gut health can also influence your inflammation too, because it’s a vital element of your body’s immune system.
We’ve mentioned probiotics and hydration above (which can work wonders), but limiting NSAID use (like ibuprofen), avoiding the overuse of antibiotics, using prebiotics like garlic, onions, and bananas, and getting regular exercise can all be beneficial.
It can also be helpful to remove certain ingredients that affect gut health. For example, artificial sweeteners, like aspartame and sucralose may influence gut health and not always for the better.
7) Improve your hygiene routine
Now, we’re certain that you’re quite capable of keeping up your hygiene and won’t require much advice on that front. That said, it’s also good to discuss how hygienic processes can help you limit your inflammation.
For example, cold showers have been proven to help decrease inflammation, which can be a healthy alternative to take, especially in the summer. Remember that appropriate handwashing is also essential, as it can prevent infections and remove bacteria. Sometimes, anti-bacterial agents can limit the natural oils and healthy bacteria of your skin, so switching to more natural remedies can make a big difference.
This philosophy also applies to nail care, ensuring you avoid irritants, and of course, making sure you practice healthy, clean, and safe sexual intercourse will help reduce the chance of infections. There’s even evidence that good dental health can help. As such, maintaining yourself doesn’t just help you look and smell good, it helps you feel your best too.
8) Use cold compresses
Sometimes, you just don’t have the time to wait around for your diet or green tea drinking to have an effect, you need to deal with inflammation now. Cold compresses can be fantastic for this, as they can help reduce swelling and redness while also providing a hygienic interventionist approach that isn’t invasive in any way at all.
It’s why parents often use a frozen bag of peas (or similar) on the knee of a child who has suffered a fall from their bike, making sure to wrap this in a cloth or towel first to prevent frozen ice-on-skin contact. If you’re looking to reduce swelling, always having a cold compress to hand can be ideal. You can then seek further medical treatment if you need it.
9) Get regular physical activity
Regular exercise is great for reducing inflammation as it helps you get your blood circulating, oxygenates your muscles, and keeps you at a healthy weight. It can also improve bone and joint health which is fantastic for overall wellness.
You’ll find that physical activity doesn’t have to be too excessive to have a major effect, even going for a walk in the park with your dog can make a big difference. Make sure you’re getting at least 150 minutes of good aerobic activity a week, as is often recommended by health agencies.
With this advice, we hope you have all the tools in your arsenal to fight the battle against excessive inflammation.