Our body’s inflammatory response is typically considered a good thing — it protects us from foreign substances. This is a protective process during which white blood cells are released into the body to protect and fight any foreign invaders.
Sometimes the body perceives an internal threat when there isn’t one. The white blood cells are released but have nothing to do. In some cases, they can start attacking healthy tissues and cells. Chronic inflammation is a low level of inflammation that is persistent throughout the body. While its known to contribute to the development of diseases, particularly autoimmune diseases, its cause remains unknown.
Left with this uncertainty, individuals with chronic inflammation aren’t left with many options. Doctors typically recommend NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug) medication, however, this often doesn’t provide relief and doesn’t give us a long-term solution.
There are also numerous ointments for inflammatory pain that can be found at your drug store or convenience store, over the counter. These include: Icy Hot, Aspercreme, and different creams filled with lidocaine. There are heat pads, heat blankets, ice packs, and ice wraps that can provide temporary relief or be a little soothing. One of the most beneficial changes people with chronic inflammation can make are dietary.
There are various anti-inflammatory diets that are increasing in popularity in recent years. These diets include eating lots of fruits & vegetables, plant-based proteins, fish, and whole grains. Most of the recommended anti-inflammatory foods are similar to a Mediterranean diet. This includes eating more fish, fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, nuts, eating only a little red meat, and drinking wine in moderation.
- Leafy greens like spinach and kale
- Bell peppers
- Chili peppers
- Dark colored berries like blackberries, cherries, and raspberries
- Olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Whole grains
- Cold-water fish such as salmon, tuna, trout, mackerel, herring, sardines, and anchovies
- Dark chocolate
- Green tea
- Red wine (up to 5 ounces per day for women; 10 ounces per day for men)
Consume a variety of nutrient-dense whole foods, try to maintain a healthy weight, and limit foods that can cause inflammation. Foods considered to have an increased risk of causing inflammation are: overly processed foods, foods high in sugar, red meat, and excessive alcohol consumption.
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids
- Vitamin D3
- Glutathione Boosting Agents
One of the best ways to counteract stress is to improve the length and quality or your sleep. Try to stick to a routine like going to bed everyday at 10 pm. Make sure you black out your room with curtains or wear an eye mask. Reduce or eliminate any noises or distractions. Avoid artificial light about one to two hours before going to sleep; using computer glasses that block blue light can help. Don’t drink too much caffeine in the evening. Practice 5-10 minutes of meditation before falling asleep.
Most importantly, be sure to consult your doctor before making any changes and/or if you experience increased inflammation.