My Top 5 Tips To Reduce Inflammation Without A Rx
Hello my strong + savvy Plante Lifers!
It’s a sad truth that the average American diet contains tons of inflammatory foods: high fructose corn syrup, white flour, white sugar, pasteurized dairy, fatty red meat, trans fats, GMO products like corn and soybean oils, and all those chemicals in processed foods. Yuck!
Equally frustrating is that many diseases are a product of chronic inflammation in the body, and our modern medicine focuses on addressing the symptoms of the illness instead of the root causes. Granted, those symptoms suck: persistent illness, bacterial, respiratory and viral infections, visible signs of aging, acid reflux and heartburn, skin conditions like psoriasis, acne and eczema, chronic pain, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, urinary tract infections, and candida overgrowth.
It makes sense if you think about it; heart disease is inflammation of the arteries. Arthritis is inflammation of the joints. Inflammation is even thought to play a big role in the “allergic diseases” like asthma and Crohn’s disease, and possibly degenerative disorders like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
The good news is that if you suffer from inflammation, you may be better served by heading straight to the cause on your own before resorting to medication. Healthy progress can be as simple as making some important changes to your lifestyle and eating habits.
Read on to learn more about what causes inflammation and my Top 5 Tips to reduce this chronic condition in your body.
Just to be clear, inflammation isn’t always a bad thing. There are two types of inflammation: acute and chronic. Acute inflammation starts quickly and can disappear in a few days, like heartburn. This short duration is because the inflammation is a result of your body’s defense against something hazardous—like a virus, a bacteria or damaged cells. So when the tissue inflames, your body is trying to remove these foreign invaders from your system and heal the injury. It’s a good thing, yet not something to be ignored!
When in trouble, your immune system floods your body with defense cells and hormones. So, when dietary and environmental toxins build up in your body, your immune system will run on overdrive trying to rid your body of these foreign invaders. This constant battle in your body leads to chronic inflammation, which can last for months or years. And that’s what can lead to that truckload of symptoms and diseases.
So, what commonly causes inflammation?
Repeat after me: all good health starts in your gut!
If you have any sort of low-grade bacterial, viral, or fungal infection in your blood stream or gastrointestinal tract, it will cause inflammation. Other causes are low-grade food sensitivities, high levels of cortisol as a result of stress, environmental toxicity (like air and water pollution), food pollutants (like pesticides and fertilizers), and mercury exposure.
Inflammation won’t just go away on its own, so you have to be proactive about managing your health. There are definitely steps you can take in your everyday life to reduce chronic inflammation in a more natural way. Below are the Top 5 on my natural prescription pad!
1) Banish Fake Food From Your Diet.
The most important step to take to reduce inflammation is to remove foods from the menu that trigger inflammation. We consume tons of fake foods in this country, guys. Think about all the chemical-laden processed foods available with unnatural food dyes, seasonings with unknown ingredients, MSG and preservatives. Our bodies don’t know how to process this junk and instead assume it’s a foreign invaders to attack.
So before you eat another bag of Doritos, just imagine each chip as a sneaky Trojan Horse about to start a war in your body, and ditch the fake food!
Once you’ve removed the junk, it’s time to add in some anti-inflammatory foods into your regular diet. Look for organic, whole foods high in antioxidants and/or a good balance of Omega-3s. Also, add in some Vitamin D3, either by soaking up a little daily sun or taking a supplement. Click here to check out Dr. Weil’s helpful Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid.
Here are my top 10 favorite anti-inflammatory foods.
1) Leafy Green Vegetables – The Chanel of food; always in style, always a classic.
2) Bone Broth – Very healing for your gut.
3) Blueberries – These babies are high in antioxidants.
4) Beets – Beets are an awesome source of vitamins and minerals, and they can also lower your blood pressure. Here’s my Oven-Baked Beet Chip recipe.
5) Bok Choy – Low in calories but high in protein, dietary fiber and vitamins.
6) Celery – Believe it or not, it’s an anti-inflammatory super star.
7) Chia Seeds – The tiny superhero superfood! Here’s my Blueberry Banana Chia Seed Pudding recipe.
8) Flax Seeds – Rich in Omega-3 essential fatty acids.
9) Ginger – Promotes digestive health.
10) Turmeric – This spice boosts immune function, reduces inflammation, and aids in digestion and liver function. Here’s my Turmeric + Ginger Latte recipe.
(P.S. One bonus of an anti-inflammatory diet is that you’ll naturally lose weight when you remove items from your diet that cause your body to hold on to belly fat. It’s a win-win my friends!)
2) Become a Nutritional Sherlock
After you’ve made adjustments to your diet, I recommend an elimination diet for a few weeks. Start by keeping a food journal, and keep it honest! (Psst! You can download one on my homepage.) Put on your deerstalker cap and investigate everything you eat, how much you eat, and how each item makes you feel. When you consume a food that you have a mild allergic reaction to, it will cause inflammation, even if it’s just a small sensitivity, so this process will help you keep tabs on which foods agree with your digestion and which you should avoid in the future.
3) Try A Cleanse
If you want to take the detox process to the next level, your elimination diet can shift into a cleanse. A cleanse doesn’t mean deprivation. In fact, it’s a great way to clean out your gut and calm your body. It can be as simple as just cutting out few foods for 2-4 weeks, such as processed foods, gluten, soy, GMO corn (go organic), cow dairy, conventional meat (the stuff you buy at Vons or Ralphs; look instead for pasture-centered), alcohol, caffeine and the biggie—sugar.
I offer a group cleanse program called the Real Food ReBoot a few times a year. You can add your name to the notification list for the next round HERE.
4) Seek Sage Advice
I also recommend ridding your body of any harmful heavy metals with homeopathic remedies. I will be sharing a few of my favorite detox rituals next week, but I always encourage clients to see a certified naturopath or an herbalist to help create a plan for your specific needs.
5) Play On, My Friend!
I know it’s the same old song and dance, but consistent, permanent lifestyle and dietary changes are the easiest, cheapest and best way to keep chronic fatigue at bay for good.
So here’s your healthy habit checklist!
1) Avoid too much sugar, unhealthy fats and processed foods.
2) Stay hydrated.
3) Reduce your caffeine intake.
4) Catch plenty of Z’s.
5) Exercise regularly.
6) Reduce stress.
Do you suffer from chronic inflammation? What lifestyle changes have helped you the most? How can I support you in your path to a healthy mind and bod? Let me know in the comments below!
LOVE + lots of leafy greens!