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10 Ways to Reduce Inflammation Now

February 25, 2013 by Sayan


Chronic inflammation is just now making its way to the forefront of health concerns, although it has been a fundamental issue in the development of major health conditions for centuries now. Better late than never, though, and armed with knowledge of this, we must ask some crucial questions:

“What can I do to reduce inflammation” or “What are some simple and easy tips to beat inflammation”?

While there are countless little things to do that decrease this systemic, low-level inflammation, in my research and personal experience, changing less than 10 lifestyle behaviors can have a DRAMATIC impact on C-reactive protein levels (a chronic inflammation indicator), frequency and severity of sickness and viruses, weight loss, acne breakouts, sleep quality, and just overall mood and well-being.

Overall, this all boils down to one simple point: Making positive lifestyle changes to reduce inflammation can have profound, tangible effects on all aspects of your life.

The steps:

1. Make health and personal wellness your #1 priority – striving for better health should be a permanent lifestyle change, and without a positive, go-getter attitude towards it, the process can be much more difficult than is necessary.

2. Schedule the time to exercise, cook and pack meals from home, bring your gym bag to work, etc. A useful tip is to engage Google Calendar, Evernote, and/or cell phone reminders – I did this when I began my lifestyle change, and it helped to practically bombard me with enough alerts until I made the changes permanent. No one else can magically make you health; if you really want it, YOU must take the initiative.

3. Look up some quick, healthy recipes online, or get creative in the kitchen. Some of my staples are boneless chicken breasts and thighs, 93% lean/7% fat ground meat (or 85/15 grass-fed or pasture-raised meat), lots of veggies, some rice around workouts, extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil, and a full spice rack (garlic, cumin, coriander, paprika and turmeric are tasty and full of antioxidants). With these foods readily available, you can make great meals, in 30 minutes or less, for the whole week. (Make sure you thaw the meat in the refrigerator a day in advance…defrosting in the microwave just never comes out right!)

4. Perform resistance training with weights (and short bouts of cardio via sprint intervals) for at least 45 minutes 3x a week.

5. Tune up your diet – Increase fruits, vegetables, and Omega-3 intake (organic meats, fish, olive oil) and decrease Omega-6 intake (commercial meats, most vegetable oils, processed foods). Cut out all added sugars. Don't eat most breads or pasta, and generally stick to rice, sweet potatoes, and yams. These dietary changes can significantly reduce inflammation.

6. Take 20 minutes a day for down time, whether it’s taking a leisurely walk or spending time meditating.

7. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night.

8. Reduce usage of electronics and any blue-light emitting devices up to 2 hours before bedtime. Blue light has been shown to drastically reduce your body’s melatonin output, thereby disrupting circadian cycles. As a result, it is much harder to fall asleep and have quality rest.

9. Get at least 15 minutes a day of sunlight to get your daily dose of Vitamin D.

10. Try to reduce stress and find time for things you enjoy. Bills, work, commuting, and our busy, modern lives can really add up and bring us down. Without healthy lifestyle habits and adequate relaxation we can find ourselves stuck in a cycle of chronic stress (which leads to the chronic, low-level inflammation we speak of and a host of other ailments).

My personal recommendation is to make JUST ONE change each week. Slowly ease yourself into the process until it becomes habit. Trust me, if you try to do too much too soon, you run a high risk of not successfully integrating any lifestyle changes permanently and you’ll end up right back at square one.

What You Can Do Now:

Let us know in the comments if you have made any of these changes. How have they affected your life over time? If you haven't made any of the changes yet, which one will you start with? And when? Share with us in the comments below.