Inflammation is something that is quite the sneaky little health problem, which makes you predisposed to catching a virus. It’s often masked as other issues that you might be “writing off” as something else. For instance, acne is a sign of inflammation, as is joint pain. Dr. Mark Hyman says that inflammation is the root cause of many serious types of disease, including flu, infections, and obesity.
What causes inflammation? The top reasons are a poor diet, chronically elevated levels of stress, and consistent use of prescription drugs and other chemicals. If you have inflammation, you know it’s incredibly hard to get rid of, and healing doesn’t just happen overnight.
However, don’t lose hope; if you’re trying to beat inflammation in order to prevent viruses and fight chronic fatigue, there are some simple things you can do right now to start healing your body and putting out the fire naturally. Put these five tips into play this week in your home and you’ll feel like a new person in less than a month!
1. Eat More Alkalizing Foods
You don’t need a complete dietary overhaul. Implementing more alkalizing foods will reduce inflammation naturally and crowd out acidic food, like excess caffeine, sugar, processed grains like white bread and crackers, excessive dairy, most forms of wheat, and all processed foods.
Add in more alkalizing foods such as leafy greens and vegetables, herbs, green tea, apple cider vinegar (which is alkalizing once consumed internally), ripe fruits, and herbal teas. Replace your pasta with a sweet potato, replace your bread with romaine lettuce or sprouted grain bread, and replace your extra cup of coffee in the afternoon with a green or herbal tea. Add more veggies to your plate at dinner instead of having extra bread and starches. And instead of sugary treats, have some frozen berries blended with some almond milk or raw almond butter and water to make a frosty smoothie full of nutrients your body will thank you for.
2. Get Enough Sleep
Too little sleep puts your body in stress mode before you even start the day, which naturally leads to inflammation. As we sleep, all of our organs repair along with our nervous, digestive, and other major systems in the body. Sleep revitalizes and resets your body so it can heal overnight. Not getting enough sleep will lead to inflammation, so be sure to clock in at least seven to eight hours every single night.
Walking, stretching, yoga, and Pilates are all great forms of natural movement that can help the body stay fluid and prevent inflammation. These type of movements are also less likely to cause excess stress to the muscles like more intense forms of exercise that tear and break down muscles. Just remember that you shouldn’t skip exercise altogether, no matter what. Not moving your body is also just as detrimental as overdoing it, so go for the middle road and do some natural movements your body will thank you for. Gentle exercise not only moves your muscles naturally but also reduces the stress that can lead to inflammation.
One way many people forget to reduce inflammation naturally is to listen to their body. If you have a food intolerance, it will lead to inflammation in the digestive system and eventually your entire body. When your body can’t break down a food efficiently, the immune system sends out reactions that the food is an invader. This can lead to leaky gut syndrome and chronic inflammation, which can even lead to an autoimmune disease.
Some of the worst problematic foods are the major allergens (wheat, dairy, gluten, yeast, corn, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, and shellfish) but there are others, too. If you eat something that doesn’t make you feel well, listen to your body and opt for something else. Some especially easy to digest foods that are anti-inflammatory and very healing include cooked greens, wild rice, sweet potatoes, ginger, turmeric, and most green vegetables.
Last but not least, please do not skip out on fat in your diet. Fat is lubricating to the body, it promotes healing and fights inflammation the way nature intended. Fat also fuels the brain and supports neurotransmitter health. This reduces stress naturally. The key to maximizing the benefits of eating fats, however, is to choose the right ones.
Opt for plant-based sources of saturated fats like coconut instead of animal-based saturated fats and then, replace vegetable oils and processed margarines (even if they’re promoted as vegan butter alternatives) with natural foods like walnuts, avocados, acai berry, chia seeds, flax seed, hemp seed, almonds, Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, cashews, and pecans. These all contain monounsaturated fats which are some of the best fats you can eat for your body to relieve joint pain naturally. Remember, if a fat has to be produced in a plant (like oil-based spreads), it’s not the best for your body no matter what the label might tell you. Natural foods are our best bet at beating inflammation without question.
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