Inflammation is all the rage in the health and wellness world, and for good reason. Every single day new studies come out revealing all the ways that chronic inflammation causes harm to the body, manifesting in all sorts of diseases.
Inflammation has been linked to many common diseases, including, asthma, heart disease, autoimmune conditions, diabetes, chronic peptic ulcers, and Crohn’s disease – just to name a few.
Since inflammation is linked to so many health issues and concerns, I think that being mindful and incorporating daily practices to reduce inflammation in our everyday lives is such a great way to improve health and promote wellness.
What is inflammation?
According to the Meriam Webster dictionary, inflammation is: a local response to cellular injury that is marked by capillary dilatation, leukocytic infiltration, redness, heat, and pain and that serves as a mechanism initiating the elimination of noxious agents and of damaged tissue
Inflammation isn’t always a bad thing, as it is the body’s inherent immune support. Inflammation is the body’s natural defense against bacteria, viruses, damaged cells, foreign antigens, etc. It is a process that aims to remove all these foreign invaders, while also having the capacity to heal itself. The problem occurs when inflammation becomes dominant.
Acute inflammation tends to have a quick (or acute) start but generally disappears in a few days as the body has the capacity to handle and eliminate the initial cause. Chronic inflammation can linger for months or even years because the cause for the inflammation has not been eliminated or resolved.
It is also common for inflammation to be mistaken as an infection, and these two things are not the same thing. It is common for infections to lead to inflammation.
What are some signs and symptoms of inflammation?
Symptoms of inflammation will generally depend on whether you are experiencing acute or chronic inflammation.
Acute inflammation typically occurs when there is an external injury on the body, like a skin laceration or bruising for example or when you have a cold/flu and you develop a sore throat, etc.
♦ pain or sensitive to the touch
♦ redness of the skin
♦ feeling warm to the touch
♦ the inability to move
Chronic inflammation typically occurs internally and can potentially affect many regions within the body.
♦ chest pain
♦ abdominal pain
♦ joint pain
♦ swelling or stiffness of the joints
♦ continuous pain anywhere on the body
♦ water retention
♦ redness of the eyes
♦ low levels of intracellular magnesium
10 Ways to reduce inflammation naturally
1. Eliminate processed foods from your diet, and replace them with nutrient-dense real foods. These fancy Franken foods, also known as enriched or fortified processed foods tend to displace nutrients in the body, therefore causing nutrient deficiency which will lead to chronic inflammation. The body needs very specific nutrients in order to have a healthy inflammatory response in order to heal and repair itself, when these nutrients are missing or displaced, the body will go into chronic inflammation in a dire attempt to support and protect the body from a foreign threat. Your best bet is to stick to a real and nutrient-dense diet consisting of all three macronutrients (protein, fat, and carbohydrate) from quality sources like organic fruits and vegetables, pastured meats, organs, eggs, and poultry, wild-caught seafood, and healthy fats such as grass-fed butter, ghee, tallow, or organic coconut oil.
2. Remove all processed (and highly inflammatory) fats and cooking oils from your diet. This is of the simplest and most effective things you can do for your health. I do not recommend using up these oils and replacing them with a better alternative – I recommend tossing them straight into the trash can and starting over.
Processed oils and fats in the form of vegetable oils, corn oil, soybean oil, canola oil, margarine, and vegetable shortening are made by using high heat and chemicals such as hexane which are used to bleach, deodorize genetically modified crops in order to create those clear bottle of oils that you see in the shelves in the grocery stores.
These process polyunsaturated fats are consumed in very high quantities. High levels of these toxic polyunsaturated fats have been shown to increase inflammation in the body which leads to all sorts of health concerns; cancer, heart disease, digestive disorder, weight gain, thyroid disease, autoimmune conditions, diabetes, migraines, etc.
So what are you to do? Add in healthy forms of saturated fats – these fats are essential for stable energy throughout the day, hormone production, healthy immune function, etc. Start adding in saturated fats from healthy sources like organic coconut oil, grass-fed butter, and ghee, organic palm oil from sustainable farms, pastured tallow, duck fat, and lard to your cooking and baking.
3. Add grass-fed butter to every meal. Contrary to popular belief, butter is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. Butter can help strengthen the immune system, suppress inflammation, and is a great source of iodine. Butter is also a rich source of vitamin A, which plays a role in thyroid function, and vitamin D, which is essential for the proper absorption of calcium and therefore plays a role in having strong bones and teeth.
I personally make sure to incorporate at least one tablespoon of butter into each of my meals, this helps my body absorb and utilize all the fat-soluble vitamins in meals.
4. Remove all processed, artificial, and added sugars or sweeteners from your diet. If you struggle with any form of autoimmune issues, allergies, digestive issues, migraines, cancer, heart disease, etc – your body is most likely dealing with a severe form of inflammation. Processed and artificial sugars and sweeteners cause inflammation in the body, period. It really is that simple.
I prefer to make my favorite treats at home, with real food ingredients. Some of my favorite natural sweeteners include raw honey, pure maple syrup, maple sugar, and coconut sugar.
5. Incorporate bone broth into your daily diet. If you are dealing with inflammation in any form or fashion, including chicken broth or bone broth can be a very welcome addition to your diet. Bone broth is just so incredible, with so many healing properties. I love sipping on a cup of bone broth almost every day (sometimes more than once).
Bone broth is very supportive to the immune system, helps reduces inflammation, can aid in overcoming food sensitivities and intolerances, and aids in detoxification and the removal of toxins from the body.
6. Add small amounts (1-2 tablespoons) of properly fermented foods to each meal. Did you know the largest portion of the immune system is actually located in the gut? This is one of the main reasons why maintaining a healthy gut is so crucial for optimal health. Properly fermented foods (that contain live cultures) can be very beneficial to the digestive system – it can also help to reduce inflammation and repair any damages done by chronic inflammation. Eating small amounts of a variety of properly fermented foods can support the immune system and make the body less prone to infections and all kinds of diseases.
Fermented foods are also known as cultured foods and it literally contains millions of beautiful strains of healthy probiotics. My favorites include pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, and sour cream. If you arent making your fermented foods yourself I want to encourage you to look into the companies that you are purchasing from to ensure that they are using traditional fermentation methods and that they don’t pasteurize their end product.
7. Replace processed salt with Icelandic sea salt. Contrary to popular belief and what we have been told by the medical industry – natural salt is essential for good health. Unprocessed sea salt is rich in a variety of minerals that are needed to help regulate blood pressure, digestion, metabolism, adrenals glands, and the nervous system.
Table salt is a highly processed food that lacks natural minerals, is made with genetically modified corn, contains anti-caking agents, and is bleached – there is clearly nothing healthy about this food. Icelandic sea salt on the other hand is robust in a large variety of essential trace minerals, unaltered, pure, and flavorful.
8. Get outside in the sunshine every single day. Sunlight is one of the most underrated healing tools – bonus points for being completely free. We have all been trained to fear the sun instead of having a healthy respect for the sun and practicing mindful and safe sun exposure. It is so important to get out in the sunshine every day for at least 20 minutes without sunscreen in order to support and raise vitamin D levels. Low vitamin D levels are associated with many diseases including autoimmune diseases.
Sunlight also supports healthy hormones, quality sleep, balanced energy, and it can greatly improve your mood.
Getting in daily sunshine and incorporating vitamin D-rich foods such as raw milk, cod liver oil, mushrooms, pastured beef liver, pastured eggs, etc is a great way to get plenty of this important nutrient.
*Vitamin D supplementation cannot reproduce the sun’s benefits, period!
9. Prioritize sleep. The body needs a lot of time to rest and repair, and this is especially true if you are dealing with any form of chronic illness. I always recommend prioritizing your life and getting in bed no later than 9:30 pm. I know that is hard for most people, but it will be very hard to improve health (and reduce inflammation) without adequate quality deep sleep. If you are struggling to get quality and restorative sleep, you can troubleshoot here.
With prioritizing sleep, I also think it is important to take at least one day a week to rest and to make space to do other activities that you enjoy – hiking, knitting, baking, reading, coloring, spending time with friends and family, it really comes down to what you truly enjoy!
I know we all tend to lead very busy lives (and the hustle has been glorified) but intentionally prioritizing this time is a key factor in true healing.
10. Support your drainage. What do I mean by drainage? Drainage is simply the body’s natural pathways that allow the body to move fluids, toxins, and pathogens out. This is actually pretty simple – support the colon by making sure to have 1-2 well-formed bowel movements a day, support your mitochondria by prioritizing time out in the sunshine or red light therapy, support the lymphatic system with dry brushing and incorporating consistent movement, support the liver/gallbladder with coffee enemas, castor oil packs, and healthy fats, support the kidneys by staying hydrated, and support the brain by prioritizing sleep.
I love using supplements, and use them alongside a nourishing and healthy lifestyle. I do not think it is wise or cost-effective to throw money at supplements when you are unwilling to make beneficial and sustainable lifestyle and dietary changes.
There are several supplements and herbs that can be helpful and supportive when working to reduce inflammation.
♦ Pancreatic Enzymes – Cellcore Biosciences Advanced Tudca
♦ Herbs and botanicals that support inflammation – Cellcore Biosciences IFC or Earthley’s Anti-Inflammatory or Earthley’s Pain Potion, or Wild Wholistic Healing Body Tincture
♦ Proteolytic enzymes – Cellcore Biosciences CT-Zyme
♦ Turmeric or curcumin
♦ Milk thistle
♦ Whole food vitamin C – Perfect Supplements Acerola Powder or Pure Radiance Vitamin C
♦ Cat’s Claw
♦ Willow Bark
♦ Magnesium – when we are stressed out (inflammation is a stressor), the first mineral our body burns through is magnesium (hello common deficiency.) Magnesium deficiency is a big thing in the overall population, and this important mineral is very calming and soothing to the central nervous system. Magnesium deficiency is most often caused by the over-consumption of processed foods and sugar, high stress, or being in a chronic sympathetic state. When stressed out, the body turns to magnesium first, and this is why we need so much of the vital mineral. A super (and relaxing) way to increase magnesium stores in the body is to take a magnesium salt bath for 20-25 minutes – add your favorite essential oil (I love the Adpativ blend) to help relax your body and in turn replenish the magnesium stores. This lotion is also a great option to increase magnesium levels topically. I always recommend getting a variety of the different kinds of magnesium when supplementing – I love Smidge Morning and Evening Magnesium (available on my Fullscript dispensary), as well as this liquid form.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
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