I often get asked about inflammation. Specifically, what can be done to reduce it? So this month I’m giving you my top tips for reducing chronic inflammation.
It is important to appreciate that “inflammation” is an umbrella term used to describe a process that is essential for good health. When inflammation becomes chronic, however, it is a sign that there is an underlying health problem and this often leads to disease.
I’ve written before on inflammation, offer a whole course through the Stanford Continuing Studies program dedicated to Inflammation and Disease, and I teach the lifestyle habits that help reduce unwanted chronic inflammation in my Do Your Body a Favor program. It’s that important!
Here are my Top 10 Tips for Reducing Chronic Inflammation:
- Eliminate or severely limit ultra-processed foods – ultra-processed foods often contain “bad” fats, highly refined grains, and added sugar, along with additives that can undermine your health and increase inflammation.
- Reduce or eliminate foods with added sugar – added sugar has come under fire in recent months as studies have shown it may be more responsible for chronic diseases than saturated fat. This does not include the sugar found in fresh fruit.
- Limit your saturated fat consumption – while saturated fat has gotten a bad wrap, it still isn’t good for you in large quantities. It has a direct impact on inflammation while monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats appear to be anti-inflammatory when consumed in moderation.
- Get quality sleep – inflammation is directly influenced by how much and the quality of sleep that you get. Most people need 6-9 hours of sleep for optimal health.
- Exercise regularly – Your body relies on adequate exercise and movement throughout the day to help control inflammation.
- Focus on a plant-based diet – plants offer us a wealth of anti-inflammatory compounds. You don’t have to become a vegetarian but make an effort to get adequate amounts of green veggies, fresh fruit, whole grains, and legumes into your daily diet. Of course, avoid any foods that you may be sensitive or allergic to!
- Limit your alcohol consumption – limited alcohol consumption may have beneficial effects for some but too much will increase inflammation.
- Manage your stress – chronic stress is a guaranteed way to drive up your inflammation levels. Take steps to manage your stress.
- Promote a healthy gut microbiota – the gut microbiota (gut bacteria) are responsible for much of our health and have a direct influence on the immune system and inflammation. Be sure you get a daily dose of pre- and probiotics.
- Get your micronutrients – having micronutrient deficiencies can starve the body of the vitamins and minerals it needs to balance inflammation. It’s best to get micronutrients from your diet rather than supplements.
There you have it! My top 10 tips for managing and reducing chronic inflammation. Use the links above to learn more.
Until next time, stay well!
Dr. Tobi Schmidt
This month I’m answering three health questions asked by Facebook followers. The first question asks, “…sadly a lot of us are prone to develop certain diseases (heart disease, for example) due to genetics. What are some essential tests that you’d recommend having done and at what stages in life?” First, it’s important to understand that … Read More →
Summer and summer vacations are coming to an end but many still have travel plans in the near future. October is one of the best months for traveling and of course, there’s the holidays, and that means travel for many. Unfortunately, with travel often comes illness. What is it about traveling that sends our bodies … Read More →
Last month I told you about the four pillars of health…nutrition, exercise, life quality, and sleep. This month I thought I’d share some deeper insights with you about sleep. Importance of Sleep Unfortunately, sleep is often overlooked as a pillar of health. So much of our attention goes into nutrition and exercise that sleep sometimes doesn’t … Read More →
The four pillars of health include life quality, nutrition, sleep, and exercise. Before you roll your eyes and say, “Oh, I know that, it’s nothing new,” you may want to continue reading. Most of what you’ve heard about the four health pillars has come from mainstream media, fed by commercial interests, and it’s likely that … Read More →
Processed foods, you hear a lot about them these days but do you really know what they are? There’s some confusion about processed foods and what makes them “bad.” After all, both plain yogurt and soda are processed but it’s pretty safe to say that yogurt has some health benefits while soda doesn’t. Here’s a breakdown … Read More →
Food allergies and intolerances are on the rise. If you’re the parent or grandparent of a school-aged child then you know well the many dietary restrictions schools impose to safeguard their students from severe allergic food reactions. No more peanut butter and jelly sandwiches! However, children aren’t the only ones suffering from increased rates of … Read More →
Allergic diseases are the 8th most common chronic disease in the US. Hay fever alone affects more than 6 million people a year. Contrary to popular belief, allergies affect people everywhere, equally. There is no region within the US that is more “allergic” than another. And unlike allergies caused by food or animals, hay fever … Read More →
When it comes to our health, much has been discovered about the bacteria living in our gut. Research has connected allergies, obesity, diabetes, chronic inflammation, and many other illnesses and diseases, to the health and diversity of our gut microbiota. Keeping your gut bacteria healthy comes down to the probiotics and prebiotics we ingest. Before we … Read More →
A new year is upon us and with that many of us are taking stock and re-assessing aspects of our lives, especially our diets! Even if you aren’t into the New Year’s resolution thing, you may still be thinking about how you might improve your health this year. This kind of thinking typically results in promises to … Read More →