Chronic inflammation is a potentially serious health problem that causes various diseases such as asthma, allergies, rheumatoid arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and several skin disorders. There is also preliminary evidence that chronic inflammation causes more serious diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, Alzheimer's disease and even obesity. Fortunately, there are several natural remedies for chronic inflammation.
Make Good Food Choices
Many foods contain anti-inflammatory properties. Foods high in anti-oxidants such as berries and dark green vegetables are a great choice for reducing inflammation. One of the best fruits for controlling inflammation is cherries. A 2006 study published in the Journal of Nutrition found cherries significantly reduced inflammation in the body.
The omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon and other fish also aid in the reduction of inflammation. If you're eating salmon to prevent the onset of an inflammatory condition, be sure to purchase wild-caught fish. It tends to be more expensive, but contains more omega-3's than farm-raised fish. Omega-3 supplements also are available if you don't like the taste of fish.
Ginger is another food with strong anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger has been used as an herbal remedy to treat and prevent various inflammatory conditions for years. It tastes great in many baked goods like cookies and muffins. You aslo can try ginger tea or ginger supplements.
Just as there are many foods that can reduce inflammation, there are also foods that aggravate it. The biggest offenders are foods high in omega-6 fatty acids such as safflower, sunflower, peanut and soy oils. Refined sugars and artificial preservatives--often found in high levels in processed foods--are also a major factor.
Avoid the Triggers
Caffeine, alcohol, smoke and stress are all known to trigger inflammation. If you suffer from an inflammatory condition, try switching to decaf coffee, tea and soft drinks. Avoid drinking alcohol and smoking. Second-hand smoke is just as harmful, so be sure to avoid that as well. Stress is likely the most difficult trigger to control. However, there are some helpful tactics. Try listening to music, practicing yoga or meditation. All of these techniques can moderate stress levels.
Exercise is important for two reasons. In addition to being a great way to relieve stress, exercise improves circulation and increases muscle and joint function. All of these things help control inflammation. If you don't currently exercise, start off slowly. If you choose to join a gym, ask if they have a personal trainer that can devise a workout that's best for you.
- Journal of Nutrition; Consumption of Bing Sweet Cherries Lowers Circulating Concentrations of Inflammation Markers in Healthy Men and Women; Darsham S. Kelly, et al; April 2006
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