If you’ve ever had a sore throat, a rash or sprained ankle, you’ve experienced acute inflammation – your body’s natural and helpful immune response to tissue damage. This kind of inflammation is a good thing. However, chronic inflammation is your body’s worst enemy. Over time, it can wear out your immune system leaving you susceptible to a whole host of health issues including asthma, allergies, digestive difficulties, arthritis, osteoporosis and even, cancer. Worst of all…chronic damaging inflammation is silent – you may not even know you have it!
Chronic inflammation can be triggered by numerous factors, but the good news is that most of them are within your control and can be avoided. You can reduce damaging inflammation using these strategies:
- Get moving – there’s no question that being physically active leads to less inflammation, since regular exercise protects against metabolic syndrome. But research also suggests that overly strenuous workouts can cause inflammation levels to spike for a day or two afterward. The key is to get enough exercise, but not overexert yourself. The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise a day, five days a week.
- Reduce stress and get adequate sleep – Research has shown that anything that stresses the body, from too little sleep to too much tension, can cause belly fat to accumulate, increasing your risk of inflammation. Aim for seven to eight hours of sleep per night. Prepare your body for rest by turning off electronics, drinking a warm cup of tea and practicing relaxation strategies.
- Floss and brush your teeth twice every day – The link between gum disease and heart disease has been well established, and researchers now think they’ve determined the possible culprit: the very same bacteria that causes inflammation and swelling in the gums appears to be a source of inflammation and thickening of the arteries. Previous studies have shown that those who treat their gum disease end up with lower levels of inflammation.
- Decrease digestive issues – your gut holds approximately 60-70 percent of your immune system. If you suffer from digestive issues including gas, bloating and irritable bowel syndrome, your immune system is at serious risk of dangerous inflammation. Consider adding digestive enzymes to your diet. Enzymes are vital for proper digestion, but they are also crucial to every cell in your body. They are responsible for energy production, fighting infections and healing wounds, reducing inflammation, carrying away toxic waste and slowing the aging process.