Did you know inflammation is a natural response by our bodies to protect and heal against injury or infection? That’s right, not all inflammation is bad! In acute instances, inflammation is actually healthy. Chronic inflammation, however, is another story — when persistent, inflammation can wreak havoc on the body. The good news is that we have the power to fight inflammation through simple (yet effective) lifestyle habits!
Ahead, are nine anti-inflammation habits that you can incorporate into your daily routine with ease.
Boost Your Daily Routine With These 9 Anti-Inflammatory Habits
#1 Nourish Your Body with Anti-Inflammatory Foods
The saying “you are what you eat” holds true when it comes to combating inflammation. So, incorporating a variety of anti-inflammatory foods — such as fatty fish, leafy greens, and antioxidant-rich berries into your meals is a great anti-inflammation habit.
Rich in antioxidants, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals, here are some top anti-inflammatory foods to add to your plate:
- Fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel
- Dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, and chard
- Antioxidant-rich, low-sugar fruits like raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries
- Omega-rich nuts and seeds such as walnuts, almonds, and hemp seeds
- Anti-inflammatory spices like turmeric and ginger
- Healthy fats such as avocados, olive oil, and coconut
#2 Limit Processed Foods
Speaking of our diet, let’s talk about processed foods. Refined and processed foods often lack essential nutrients like fiber, vitamins, and minerals, as the refining process strips away many beneficial components. Instead, they are typically high in added sugars, unhealthy fats, and artificial additives. These ingredients can disrupt the body’s delicate balance, triggering inflammation.
Here are some of the biggest culprits to look out for:
- Added sugars: Excessive amounts of sugar can lead to a rapid spike in blood glucose levels, triggering the release of insulin to restore levels to a normal range. Over time, this constant surge in insulin can contribute to insulin resistance and inflammation.
- Refined carbohydrates: Pasta, pizza, white flour, and sugary cereals are examples of refined carbs that, when consumed, are quickly broken down into simple sugars and rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream. Similar to the consumption of excess sugars, this leads to a rapid rise and drop in insulin levels, which can trigger a cascade of inflammatory responses.
- Refined & Hydrogenated oils: Commonly found in processed snacks, fried foods, baked goods, and many sneaky store-bought items, these oils can lead to chronic inflammation and an increased risk of chronic health concerns.
#3 Sip Smart
Another inflammation-inducing culprit to be aware of is alcohol. While the occasional drink or two is nothing to stress over, excessive alcohol consumption can lead to inflammation and chronic health conditions. Limit your alcohol intake or opt for healthier alternatives like mocktails, herbal teas, sparkling alternatives, or infused water!
#4 Keep Your Gut Happy & Healthy
Home to trillions of beneficial bacteria, our gut microbiome plays a crucial role in digestion, nutrient absorption, immune function, and inflammation regulation. When balanced, our gut helps regulate immune cells and inflammation. However, imbalances in the gut microbiota, known as dysbiosis, can lead to a dysfunctional immune response and, in turn, chronic low-grade inflammation.
The good news is that by nourishing your gut microbiota, you can help reduce inflammation and help support overall health.
Here are some gut-healthy hacks to consider:
- Consume probiotic-rich foods, such as Greek yogurt and fermented foods
- Incorporate prebiotic fibers from fruits, veggies, and whole grains (such as onions, garlic, and asparagus)
- Avoid excessive consumption of processed foods and artificial sweeteners (which can disrupt the balance of your gut microbiome)
#5 Stay Hydrated
Drinking an adequate amount of water is essential for fighting inflammation, not to mention maintaining a healthy gut, improving energy, and aiding digestion. Additionally, staying hydrated helps with the absorption of nutrients and the elimination of waste products from the body, which plays a role in regulating inflammation.
Make it a habit to carry a water bottle with you throughout the day as a reminder to drink water regularly! You can also include herbal teas and infused water for added flavor and an extra antioxidant boost!
#6 Make Exercise a Priority
Regular physical activity is an effective and powerful anti-inflammatory habit. For starters, engaging in exercise improves blood circulation, facilitating the optimal delivery of oxygen and nutrients to your body’s tissues and organs. By promoting better circulation, exercise helps reduce inflammation throughout your body. And that’s not all! Exercise also plays a vital role in regulating insulin levels, which is crucial for keeping inflammation in check. By enhancing insulin sensitivity, it helps reduce the risk of insulin resistance — a common culprit behind chronic inflammation in conditions like type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
Aim for at least 30 minutes of movement, whether it’s a walk, yoga class, or FitOn workout! And remember, even small steps toward regular physical activity can make a big difference.
#7 Keep Stress Levels in Check
According to research, there is a clear link between chronic stress and inflammation. So, finding ways to manage stress is crucial. Whether it’s yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises, set aside dedicated time each day to engage in stress-reducing practices! This could even include spending more time in nature, practicing gratitude, or checking in with your therapist or another medical professional.
#8 Get Quality Sleep
Let’s face it — adequate sleep is crucial for just about everything — including reducing inflammation in your body. When you consistently get quality sleep, you give your body the opportunity to heal, restore, and regulate various processes that contribute to overall well-being.
During sleep, your body produces cytokines, proteins that help regulate inflammation and immune responses. Getting sufficient sleep ensures that these cytokines are produced and released in the right balance, promoting a healthy inflammatory response. On the other hand, chronic sleep deprivation can disrupt the production of these proteins, leading to increased inflammation.
To improve sleep quality, aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night, establish a relaxing bedtime routine, and limit exposure to electronic devices before bed!
RELATED: 14-Day Better Sleep Challenge
#9 Practice Mindful Eating
Mindful eating is a simple anti-inflammation practice to sneak into your daily routine! It involves paying attention to your body’s hunger and fullness cues and making conscious food choices. Give it a try by slowing down and savoring your meals, and focusing on the flavors, textures, and sensations!
Bust Inflammation and Supercharge Your Health
Incorporating these nine anti-inflammation habits into your daily routine can have a profound impact on your overall well-being. By nourishing your body with anti-inflammatory foods, staying hydrated, exercising regularly, managing stress, prioritizing sleep, practicing mindful eating, and maintaining a healthy weight, you can proactively combat inflammation and promote a healthier, more vibrant you! Your anti-inflammatory lifestyle awaits.