Approximately 60-million people, more than 20% of the United States population, suffers from chronic inflammation. And most people don't even know their body is fighting it, until it manifests as things like heart disease, diabetes, asthma, Parkinson's or Alzheimer's.
Similar to how a slow leak in your car's tire can all of a sudden cause issues on your drive to the beach, inflammation acts in a similar manner. Out of nowhere, it seems as though you have a few health concerns directly tied to the adverse effects of inflammation.
What Is Inflammation?
Traditionally, inflammation is a good thing as it's a natural bodily process used to fight infection or injuries. Your body recruits an inflammatory response in an attempt to help heal.
Chronic inflammation, however, has the opposite impact in that it can actually harm your overall health as your body's immune system stays in a heightened state potentially leading to chronic diseases, heart disease, and even some cancers.
The negative byproduct of chronic inflammation can mean fatigue, pain, weight gain, mental health conditions, and more. It is usually treated with prescriptions in most cases, but for some that isn't the route they want to take.
6 Ways To Fight Inflammation Without Medicine
Here are some ways to fight inflammation without using prescriptions and using a more holistic approach.
1.) An Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Most of the time, people will elect to avoid steroidal and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs when they can. To do that, it starts with an anti-inflammatory diet.
According to a Healthline article, the best food choices to battle inflammation include:
- olive oil
- leafy greens, like kale and spinach
- fatty fish, like salmon, sardines, and mackerel
- fruits, especially cherries, blueberries, and oranges
Eating more anti-inflammatory foods usually means avoiding the likes of high fructose corn syrup, sugar, processed foods, and foods high in salt as they are not only unhealthy foods, they trigger inflammation.
While changing your diet is sometimes easier said than done, a quick way is just to adjust one meal a day!
2.) Whole Body Cryotherapy
If you haven't heard about the whole body cryotherapy (WBC) craze you might be missing out on one of the top ways to reduce inflammation!
Cryotherapy literally translates to “Cold Therapy” and when you think of reducing inflammation, one of the first thoughts that comes to mind is putting ice on your swollen joints! Now imagine having the health benefits of an ice bath – but without having to sit in an ice bath.
Whole-body cryotherapy has been shown to have numerous health benefits, one of which is helping promote anti-inflammatory agents in the body. Countless athletes are using WBC because of its aid in encouraging the body to repair quicker and move oxygen throughout the body.
It is important to note that cryotherapy is a relatively new health regime but some doctors are recommending those with joint swelling, intense workouts, and even rheumatoid arthritis to consider the practice.
3.) Regular Exercise
What can't regular exercise fix?
At this point, it is pretty much a given that regular exercise helps with just about any health issue and that remains true when you are looking to avoid major diseases and chronic inflammation.
Inflammatory foods can cause inflammation, but so can your weight. Changing your diet and reducing your weight can become natural anti-inflammatory agents that allow you to avoid long-term use of prescriptions.
To incorporate exercise into your routine, do your best to schedule it out by identifying four or five 20-minute windows each week where you can walk, run, bike, or even do yoga.
4.) Cut Out Alcohol & Smoking
Making a list of the best ways to stay healthy always includes the likes of diet, exercise, and reducing carcinogens such as tobacco or drinking.
While some alcohol use such as a glass of wine actually has been medically reviewed to help with your overall health, things in moderation are OK. However, heavy drinking and smoking are not only associated with the negative consequences of inflammation, they have long-term health consequences most are already aware of.
Fatty liver disease, chronic disease, heart disease, can all be extremely detrimental to your health while simultaneously promoting inflammation. Research suggests, that by cutting out smoking and reducing alcohol consumption you are able to help prevent numerous cancers which can sometimes be linked back to inflammation!
5.) Consider Sauna Use
Saunas are known for having numerous benefits when used frequently and one of those benefits happens to be the anti-inflammatory effects of regular use.
The increased endorphin release, boost in metabolism, and increased circulation can all assist in reducing inflammation and decreasing pain. The key, however, is the increased blood flow.
When your body recruits blood (think swelling) to an area of infection or injury, this can lead to your body promoting inflammation. By using a sauna, studies have shown that regular sauna bathing can reduce inflammation markers.
6.) Reduce Stress
Most of the time when people hear they need to reduce the stress in their life, it actually causes stress.
You – like most of us – would love to get rid of some of the unneeded stress and if you could, you would of by now. Understanding this, simply saying reduce your stress isn't helpful. So consider some of these practical tips to help you reduce stress, thus potentially reducing inflammation:
- Follow #1 and #3 above – better diet and more exercise. Exercise increases the body's production of endorphins and helps you relieve stress relatively quickly a 6-week study shows.
- Identify situations that regularly cause stress. Spend the time to write down what situations seem to cause stress such as certain work projects, commitments, people, etc., and see how you can effectively mitigate or reduce those situations. For example, perhaps a coworker causes you some stress, maybe you move your desk.
- Reduce screen time and social media. Reducing social media may not directly reduce your inflammation, but it will help your stress levels. Too much screen time and the comparison game on social media can cause unnecessary stress. Set screen limits and consider silencing or even deleting social media accounts.
Addressing your chronic inflammation without the use of long-term steroidal prescription should be more widely applauded. While the journey may not be easy, it is worth it when you consider all of the health benefits of healthier lifestyle choices associated with better dieting, exercise, and self-care.
As we part, it is important to keep in mind that addressing inflammation is similar to addressing a symptom, not the root cause.
An analogy to always keep in mind is that your body and overall health are similar to the foundation of your home. Without a strong and sturdy foundation, all of the extras (that are still necessary) like your walls, roof, windows, landscaping, gutters, siding, lawn, and so on are ultimately comprised.
The same can be said for your general health. Placing a priority on your diet, exercise, and mental health has numerous positive impacts that will last you a lifetime and can help you fight inflammation without medicine!
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This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.
Feature Image Credit: Unsplash.
Josh writes about ways to make money, pay off debt, and improve yourself. After paying off $200,000 in student loans with his wife in less than four years, Josh started Money Life Wax and has been featured on Forbes, Business Insider, Huffington Post and more! In addition to being a life-long entrepreneur, Josh and his wife enjoy spending time with their chocolate lab named Morgan, working out, helping others with their debt and recommend using Personal Capital to track your finances.