1. Drink plenty of water!
It’s common knowledge that drinking water is a healthy choice, especially when it comes to reducing inflammation. Regularly drinking water allows your body to flush out toxin build-up in joints, which reduces pain and inflammation in your joints!
2. Reduce your sugar intake.
(Consider an anti-inflammatory diet!)
We’ve written in the past about the important role food plays in our overall health (see Sugar and Your Health), but in short, added sugars in food items cause inflammation through weight gain, increased LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, excess production of AGEs (advanced glycation end products), and increased ability for bacteria, toxins, and undigested food particles to enter the bloodstream from the gut.
The best thing diet-wise you can do to reduce inflammation is to adopt an anti-inflammatory diet. We have a blog post compiling some great immune system-boosting recipes here: Foods to Boost Your Immune System.
3. Manage your stress levels.
Excess stress can wreak havoc not only on your mind but your body as well—and it can cause inflammation! When your immune system is working, it is due to small proteins called cytokines that tell your immune system to respond to what it deems threatening. Usually, cytokines disappear after the threat is eliminated, but stress can cause a habitual cycle of cytokines that never go dormant. That causes inflammation.
There are lots of great ways to reduce stress such as walking in nature, practicing yoga, or meditating. Check out some of our suggestions here!
4. Get enough sleep!
The quality of sleep you get has a direct connection to your body’s ability to heal and recover. When we are sick, during sleep our immune systems create inflammation to help us heal. But it also occurs when we are not sick. Research suggests that our immune systems become active when we sleep in order to train our bodies to respond to threats. Think of it as the immune system equivalent of muscle memory.
It is recommended that adults get 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. To help you sleep, it is important to have a set schedule and maintain good sleep hygiene (no phones or TVs in the bedroom!).
5. Exercise regularly!
We all know that exercise is good for us. Exercise helps strengthen our bodies, manage our weight, improve our mood—and as we discussed in a previous blog post, it can alleviate ADHD symptoms in children.
As it turns out, exercise is also good for reducing inflammation. A study conducted by researchers at the UC San Diego School of Medicine found that 20 minutes of moderate exercise stimulates the immune system by producing certain cytokines that are responsible for regulating local and systemic inflammation. () Moderate exercise can mean fast walking, hiking, bike riding, and even dancing!