Inflammation is one of those wellness buzzwords (along with collagen, cupping, and hormone balancing) that we kind of know we should pay attention to, but it all can feel really overwhelming. The truth is, all of us have inflammation on some level. But contrary to popular belief, it’s not all bad. Inflammation is a natural process that helps your body heal and defend itself. But chronic inflammation is another story. That’s why learning how to reduce inflammation is key to optimal health.
When prolonged, inflammation can do a lot of damage to our bodies. Chronic inflammation can manifest in the form of digestive stress (gas, bloating, constipation, achy joints), unhappy skin (acne, eczema, psoriasis), low energy, or extra weight you can’t shake. To an even more serious degree, chronic inflammation can seriously hurt our cells, leading to what Novant Health calls “the development of potentially disabling or life-threatening illnesses.” Cancer and Type 2 diabetes counted among them.
Featured image by Michelle Nash.
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How to Reduce Inflammation: 6 Tips You Can Do Daily
Inflammation is worsened by environmental toxins, stress overload, and a processed inflammatory diet—things that are unfortunately found in most of our daily lives. As with most processes that actually heal our body over time (instead of just masking symptoms), there’s no quick “off switch” for inflammation.
The good news? If you’re wondering how to reduce inflammation, there are simple practices you can incorporate into your day to get you feeling your best. Feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start? Try picking two habits from the list below that you can realistically add to your routine. After a couple of weeks, see if you can add another and build from there.
I know, I know. Easier said than done! But there are a few key things you can bring into your routine that make a huge difference in how you feel. Try incorporating a relaxing bath, yoga session, or meditation into your weekly, if not daily, rituals. Even a few mindful breaths before you start your day can help you instantly center yourself. I’ve been trying to pause and take a few slow, full breaths whenever I start to feel stressed during the day. It’s completely changed how I feel for the better.
Staying fully hydrated flushes out toxins that we’re exposed to on a daily basis. Think pesticides, heavy metals, air pollution, mold, and more. Hydrating effectively is one of the key strategies to make sure the body is able to effectively detox. Always have a glass of water on your desk and by your bed, and bring a water bottle with you whenever you leave the house. Are you still feeling uninspired? Add these 10 things to your bottle that will supercharge your water.
P.S. Did you know there are right and wrong times of day to drink your water?
Clean Up Your Diet
One of the easiest ways to lower inflammation is through our daily food choices. Foods like processed sugar, refined carbs, GMO dairy and soy, and oils like canola, soybean and corn can all be difficult on the gut, thus raising inflammation markers. Try incorporating more cultured/probiotic rich foods, greens, berries, healthy oils and fats, nuts, dark chocolate, green tea, and spices turmeric, cinnamon, garlic, and ginger.
Exercise decreases inflammatory markers and your risk of chronic disease. Moving our bodies sends fresh blood and oxygen throughout our body, pumping the lymphatic system for waste removal and gently restoring the digestive system if it feels off. Try to move for at least 30 minutes a day or get in a sweat sesh at the sauna. Walking is a great source of exercise. Or, you can try one of these ideas for joyful movement.
Try Dry Brushing
Dry brushing is an amazing way to move toxins through your body. It stimulates your lymphatic system, easing your body’s efforts to reduce inflammation. This is one of my favorite daily habits (along with facial massage). When I’m consistent, I notice smoother, more even skin. Plus, overall better energy!
Sleep is your body’s time for recovery. While you sleep, your body flushes toxins and enters a deep healing state. Many of us struggle with getting a full eight hours with our busy schedules. You can start by aiming to get 30 minutes of extra sleep a night and slowly increase until you’re getting 7-8 hours. Once you experience how great you feel after a truly restful night’s sleep, you won’t ever want to go back!
This post was originally published on January 17, 2019, and has since been updated.
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