When it comes to aches and want to reduce pains, a stocked medicine cabinet and freezer full of frozen peas will only get you so far. See, most discomfort comes from chronic, rather than acute, inflammation. And chronic inflammation—which is basically your immune system running amok and attacking things it shouldn't—can cause more than the a case of the ouchies. It can also speed up aging and spur weight gain, heart disease, and even cancer, says Caroline Cederquist, M.D., medical director of bistroMD. So what's an inflamed girl to do? Cederquist shares 12 easy ways to help kick chronic inflammation to the curb.
Most people load up on protein come dinnertime, but eating protein throughout the day—for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks—helps your liver detoxify bad-for-you chemicals that might be wading through your blood stream. Focus on lean protein sources like chicken, fish, eggs, low-fat dairy, and legumes, and if you're a red-meat lover, opt for grass-fed varieties.
Green tea has natural substances called catechins that fight free radicals and help the body detoxify itself. While downing three cups a day is ideal, sipping even one is great. However, the antioxidant content of different green teas varies widely, so for the most catechins per cup, go with organic varieties.
While regular exercise does the body good, going too hard too often is actually associated with increased inflammation. Between tough workouts, squeeze in some restorative yoga poses. You'll especially appreciate this yoga for pain relief
When you cook meat—be it beef, pork, fish, or poultry—at super-hot temperatures, it forms heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), inflammatory chemicals that some experts think may increase your odds of getting cancer. When cooking meat on direct-heat sources (think: the grill or stove), keep the temps under 300° F to minimize the formation of these chemicals.
A stressed out mind comes with a stressed-out body. And while you may not be able to control your parody-worthy boss or growing stack of bills, making self-care a priority can go a long way toward easing stress and, in turn, inflammation. Every day, take some time to do something that restores, rather than drains, you. And make sure you try out these 11 tiny life changes that will bring you major bliss
We know you can't function without your gadgets, but bringing them into your bedroom just invites inflammation into your life. The light from their screens can throw off your body's internal clock to make a good night's sleep pretty much impossible, and poor sleep—from not getting enough hours to tossing and turning—leads to a surge of inflammatory hormones.
Diet or regular, it doesn't matter. People who regularly consume beverages that are sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners alike tend to have elevated levels of insulin in the body that can contribute to inflammation.
Drinking more water is a great step toward a healthier metabolism. However, since tap water can sometimes contain inflammatory chemicals, running your H2O through a reverse-osmosis water filter can help ensure that water is all you're guzzling.
Women of childbearing age have the highest levels of hormone-disrupting chemicals in their blood—and that may be because they spend so much time preening themselves. Personal-care products like cosmetics, fragrances, hair dye, lotions, and even cleansers often contain inflammatory agents. Cut your exposure to harsh chemicals by switching to these 10 phthalate-free beauty products
If you're like most people, you get the bulk of your carbs from processed starches and sugars. Big mistake—they can contribute to metabolic dysfunctions, which often go hand-in-hand with inflammation. Instead, focus on getting your carbs from vegetables, legumes, fruits, and whole grains. Beside being filled with blood sugar-regulating fiber, they're some of the best antioxidant sources around.
Check your food labels for any out-there ingredients—they're usually rife with inflammatory compounds. Likewise, forgo any artificially colored foods and beverages. Unless they contain blueberries, blue foods probably aren't going to do anything for your immune system (at least not anything good)
Trans fats are ridiculously inflammatory—and saturated fats aren't far behind. However, by limiting your intake of greasy, packaged foods and getting more of your fats from unsaturated sources like avocados, nuts, olives, cold-water fish, and coconuts, you can seriously reduce your body's levels of inflammation.