What is Chronic inflammation? Acute inflammation is a necessary response and occurs at the point of contact, such as cutting a finger. Chronic inflammation on the other hand, builds up over time and forces your immune system to remain on. This creates a stress component to your body increasing your risk of conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s and other serious illness like our current Covid19. There are 4 main areas to focus on. Diet, exercise, sleep and stress.
The statement “Food is Medicine” is truer than you ever thought. Your food either helps you or hurts you like nothing else. In our country, most people eat what is known as the Standard American Diet (SAD). This is comprised of mostly processed foods, excess sugar, inflammatory fats and fast food. We have seen the direct link to increased inflammation and weight gain, insulin resistance and high blood pressure. What is known is that foods that are colorful, fresh and real are full of nutrients and antioxidants that reduce these risks. Foods like fresh fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts and healthy fats from plants and fish and whole grains.
Exercise is key to lowering your body’s overall inflammation. A sedentary lifestyle contributes to increased inflammation and subsequently a rise in problems like obesity, heart disease and a weakened immune system. It is essential to exercise daily. The intensity can vary, but overall movement daily with an increase in heart rate is needed to improve your health. The best way to do this is to do something you enjoy. It could be dancing, swimming, running, hiking, yoga, or anything that gets you moving. Move at least 20 minutes a day and you can reduce your risk for chronic disease.
How do you sleep? Sleep is an area that does not get enough attention but plays a key role in your immune system and chronic inflammation. If you have trouble falling asleep make sure you are doing what you need to quiet the mind before bed. “Unplugging” from devices is required. Meditation or yoga are good practices to induce relaxation. If you still struggle than let’s talk! Maybe you have a hormone imbalance, or something known as Sleep Apnea which changes your sleep quality both of which can be treated and will help you sleep better.
Finally, stress is a major contributor to disease and inflammation. It raises two of our hormones, cortisol and adrenaline which lead to increased inflammation. Stress is inevitable, it is part of our lives. It can come from the deadline of a work project, bills that need to be paid, the health of a family member, whatever it maybe you need to identify and learn to decompress. There is no right way to do it just find what works and practice it daily. Journaling, meditation, exercise, yoga, breathing, and hiking are a few examples just to name a few.
By maintaining a balanced and healthy lifestyle you can improve your immune function and become more resilient. Feel free to contact us to learn how you can implement healthy lifestyle practices into your daily routine. Book a free consult today!