Tis the season to be jolly! The holiday season is a time of festivities, family, friends, fun! For many people, the holidays are also laced with stress, lack of exercise, and increased consumption of sugar and alcohol. This is a recipe for increased systemic inflammation through the roof. This post takes a look at three tips to decrease inflammation this holiday season.
What’s the Big Deal with Inflammation, Anyway?
Inflammation is the precursor to disease processes. An anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle help reduce chronic inflammation. In turn, you can stay healthy and slow down the aging process. Research also suggests an anti-inflammatory lifestyle reduces your risk of many diseases. These include heart disease, diabetes, dementia, Alzheimer’s, autoimmune diseases, joint pain, and cancer.
The great news? It doesn’t take months or years to reduce your inflammation enough to start feeling better! Small changes made here and there, starting now, can reduce your inflammation quickly.
Decrease Inflammation Tip #1
When it comes to health, water is crucial! Water flushes toxins from the body, enables cellular hydration, and transports nutrients. These things are huge when it comes to managing and decreasing systemic inflammation.
We recommend drinking half your body weight in fluid ounces per day. For example, a 150 pound person should aim to drink 75 ounces of hydrating beverages per day. Hydrating beverages include water, coconut water, bone broth, and/or decaffeinated herbal tea.
For every 8 ounces of dehydrating beverages you consume, you need to add an extra 12 ounces of hydrating beverages to your daily intake. Dehydrating beverages include coffee, caffeinated tea, alcohol, juice, and soda.
Sound overwhelming? One way to easily track your water intake is to use a water bottle with ounce or goal markers on it. Or if you know your water bottle holds 84 ounces, you can aim to drink one (or more) of those per day, depending on your weight. Additionally, keep your water bottle with you and drink from it often!
Decrease Inflammation Tip #2:
Regular physical activity assists in stress reduction, weight control, heart health, bone health, and muscle building. Exercise also reduces the risk of some diseases. All of this is critical when you want to decrease inflammation.
Additionally, body movement helps promote a healthy lymph flow. Our lymphatic fluid is responsible for filtering out bacteria, viruses, and toxins. Stagnant lymph contributes to high levels of inflammation.
Decrease Inflammation Tip #3:
CALM YOUR MIND
Your emotions play a part in your inflammation. People more prone to anger, hostility, and depressive symptoms have higher C-Reactive Protein (CRP) levels. CRP is a blood marker for inflammation.
Even if you aren’t one quick to anger, other forms of stress or busy-ness can increase your risk of inflammation. If you’re overscheduled, overworked, or overwhelmed, it isn’t good news for your body.
Stress actually releases cortisol, which happens to be anti-inflammatory. Buuuuut, stress also produces pro-inflammatory cytokines. Cytokines are proteins designed to protect the body from an invader. When it comes to stress, however, the invader isn’t something physical. It’s something psychological. But the body senses it anyway and cytokines fire up.
High levels of stress with no end in sight makes the body’s immune response suffer, and the overall consequence of this is inflammation in overdrive.
Meditation/prayer have been linked to lower CRP levels. Additionally, people who attend religious services tend to have lower CRP levels than those who do not. Mind/body practices like yoga, tai chi, or qi gong can also help in lowering CRP levels.
Take the time this holiday season to take care of yourself. Empower yourself to reduce or prevent symptoms of inflammation. May your days be merry and bright during this most wonderful time of the year!
And for a few more tips on reducing inflammation, check out this post!