Get Inflammation Under Control
Chronic inflammation has been shown to be the root cause to many serious medical conditions. This includes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, asthma, diabetes and autoimmune diseases. In addition to all of this, chronic inflammation makes you more vulnerable to viruses such as COVID-19, the flu, and the common cold.
Guess what! You can have a dramatic influence in dialing that inflammation back and restoring some balance. Here are some tips…
- FOOD – Listen, if your idea of nutrition is to find the closest fast food joint that is open or rip open the bag of chips…your body is pissed at you and the inflammation is its response to the lack of real, usable nutrition you are putting into it.
I get it, back “when I was younger I could eat whatever I wanted”…newsflash Barbara Walters, you couldn’t. The human body is ridiculously resilient and will learn to push through, for so long. Eventually though the accumulation of years of poor nutrition habits and behaviors will do you in. It’s a matter of WHEN not IF.
What do you do – 1) Learn how to cook your own food (get a instant pot dammit). 2) Eat your vegetables! Experiment with different spices and try different methods of cooking to find what works for you. Just make sure that you eat tons of color. 3) Add some salmon (wild caught preferably) to your diet. Aim for 3-4 servings weekly. 4) Eat A LITTLE bit of nuts. Too much and you will pack on too many calories very quickly. 5) Cut out the refined foods. If you start cooking more, this will happen naturally.
- Watch the Alcohol – Reliving the scenes from Animal House is never a good idea…ever, seriously. But, an occasional drink or two with dinner can help reduce c-reactive protein, an inflammation marker for cardiovascular disease.
- Get out in the sunshine – We live in the Northeast. Therefore, we only get so much good sun exposure, we need to take advantage of it as much as possible. Sun exposure increases the body’s natural ability to produce Vitamin D, which helps boost immunity. There has been a ton of research showing that we New Englanders are horribly deficient and should most likely be supplementing with Vitamin D. You can request a blood panel from your medical provider to see if you fall into this category.
- Get better sleep – As a society most are lacking sufficient sleep. When we are sleeping, your body is repairing and regenerating itself. Again, the human body is remarkable in its resiliency to compensate for less than ideal situations, but for too long and too often, the consequences are dire. I recommend reading Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker.
- Reduce & Manage Stress – When our bodies are constantly in some form of a sympathetic state, chronic inflammation skyrockets. Every day our senses pick up on cues that trigger the sympathetic state: the latest update on COVID-19 surges, work deadlines, homeschooling children, political unrest, protests, etc Sometimes the world seems it’s on the brink of chaos. Managing Stress is essential for long term health and wellness.
Here are some ideas – 1) Develop a daily gratitude/reflections/journaling practice. We provide this in the coaching with our clients not only because it provides crucial insight to your physical training but allows an opportunity to acknowledge the victories in the day. 2) Develop a breathing/meditation practice. This is really tough for some people. What you need to let go of is any preconceived idea as to how you should feel or what it should be like. There are SO many ways to do it and you really just need to stick it out and do it for some consistent period of time. Eventually you will get beyond the “I don’t get it” phase. Two of my favorite practices are boxed breathing and fishbowl. With the former, you exhale to a five count, hold for a five count, inhale for a 5 count, hold that for a 5 count. Repeat for 5, 10, 15 repetitions and you will feel better. I don’t focus on anything except the counting for this one. With the latter, I close my eyes and imagine that the inside of my head is a fishbowl filled with murky water. With each exhalation, the water becomes a little clearer. I am not focusing on anything else other than my exhale and the water becoming less murky. I like to keep a pen and paper near by on the chance that some thought pops into my head so I can quickly write it down and then get back to the practice.
Well, I hope these tips help. They are relatively simple but don’t confuse simplicity with easy. Putting them into practice is the hard part. Consistency wins the day here and will help reduce chronic inflammation providing a richer and more enjoyable life.
As always, we are here if you need help.