There's a key culprit that scientists are now studying for its role in everything from obesity and diabetes to heart disease and depression: chronic inflammation. And if you’re serious about staying healthy and vibrant, it's important to take action to calm it.
Unlike acute inflammation, which is temporary and beneficial in protecting us from infection and injury, chronic inflammation occurs when your immune system’s switch gets stuck in the “on” position. As a result, it wages a continuous war on your own cells—a war that could stack on the weight (especially around your waistline) and makes you wake up feeling tired and sore, head-achey, and just pretty crappy.
As a nutritionist, I believe that the best way to prevent or heal chronic inflammation is to eat anti-inflammatory foods (minimally processed foods) and to avoid pro-inflammatory foods including sugar, artificial chemicals, and gluten.
But to truly win your battle against inflammation, you’ll need to change other aspects of your lifestyle as well. Here are seven powerful steps you can take:
1. Maintain proper hormone levels
Hormones like insulin (triggered by refined carbohydrate intake) and cortisol (triggered by stress) are inflammatory to your system. Endocrine disrupters (found in many personal care products can suppress thyroid hormones, which not only regulate metabolism but are involved with gut health and inflammation and play a critical role in nearly every physiological process in our bodies.
2. Exercise regularly.
A few years ago, researchers followed more than 4,000 middle-aged people for more than 10 years. They found that regardless of their weight or body mass index, people who did at least two and a half hours of moderate exercise each week lowered their markers of inflammation by at least 12 percent. Now, that's cool!
3. Reduce your exposure to toxins.
When your immune system encounters foreign substances—including environmental toxins—it can react by creating inflammation. I recommend detoxifying your life by switching to safe, natural personal care products.
Walking down the cosmetics isle of your supermarket or favourite salon, many of the skin care products that surround you are cocktails of chemicals that have been suspected to cause allergies and even cause hormonal disruption.
Some say that plant-based ingredients are better able to mimic the skin’s structure and support its health.
4. Sleep longer.
Research shows that shorting yourself on even a few hours of sleep each night can trigger pro-inflammatory changes. Aim for at least seven hours of snooze time nightly. To improve your sleep, turn off electronic devices well before bedtime and use blackout curtains to block outside light.
5. Get some sunshine.
Noticed how you're feeling a little more energised now the weather is improving?While too much exposure to sunlight is harmful to your skin, the natural vitamin D you get from sunlight is a crucial immune system modulator, and a deficiency is associated with inflammation. Shoot for 10 to 15 minutes in the sun each day. Remember you SPF!
6. Enjoy a massage.
Seriously! Research suggests that a 45-minute massage can lower your levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines. So don’t think of a massage as a guilty pleasure—think of it as therapy.
7. Respect the mind-body connection.
Science shows that a simple meditation practice—along with other mind-body approaches such as yoga and tai chi—can markedly improve your health. A recent review of 34 separate studies concluded, “Mind-body therapies reduce markers of inflammation.” And you don’t need to meditate for hours; even just five or ten minutes a day can be beneficial.
I hope you find this information useful, I'm alarmed at how many of my customers, patients and friends complain of not feeling energised and well, so please feel free to drop me a line at email@example.com if you have any questions. We're in this together x