At any given moment, there are all kinds of things happening in your body that you have no idea are going on. Some are good, others are bad, and some are both. Inflammation is both.
When you get sick or hurt yourself, inflammation helps you heal. You know it’s happening. Sometimes, people develop chronic inflammatory diseases that lead to flare-ups and pain, which can be managed with proper strategies.
Other times, you can suffer chronic inflammation and have absolutely no idea. This is very dangerous and can lead to heart disease, stroke, memory troubles, and more.
Uncontrolled chronic inflammation can drastically speed up the aging process and put your cells and organs under a lot of stress, increasing the risk for disease or a major health event. Termed “inflamm-aging,” this is a process you may have the power to stop.
There are choices you can make to reduce the risk of chronic inflammation and put the brakes on inflamm-aging. Lifestyle choices shown to fight back against this hidden cause of illness and promote anti-aging effects include:
Eating a heart-healthy diet: Eating a diet rich in nutritious fruits and vegetables, as well as fatty fish and legumes, can fight back against inflammation. Fiber, antioxidants, healthy fats, and a host of vitamins and minerals can bolster immune health and work to both prevent and fix the problems resulting from an overactive immune system. Further, sugar and highly-processed foods promote inflammation.
Increase activity with mild cardio: Increasing activity also fights back against the pitfalls of inflamm-aging. Doing some mild exercise like walking, dancing, swimming, or anything else promotes lower inflammation. Aim for getting at least 30-minutes of activity per day on at least five days per week, but the more you get, the better.
Drop a few pounds: A major cause inflammation is body fat, primarily when it’s located around the mid-section. Eating a healthier diet and embracing a more active lifestyle can result in a slimmer waistline.
Prioritize sleep: Aiming for 7 or 8 hours of sleep per night can help limit inflammation, promote heart health, and improve mood.
Moderate alcohol intake: Stick to daily maximums of 1 (women) and 2 (men) drinks per day, and do not drink within a few hours of bedtime.
Maintain strong relationships with friends and family: This is critical to keeping your heart and mind healthy. Face-to-face human contact has a calming reaction on the nervous system.
Adopt stress-management techniques: These can range from meditation, to afternoon walks, to time spent in nature. Even crafting or other hobbies can help you destress.
Mohan Garikiparithi holds a degree in medicine from Osmania University (University of Health Sciences). He practiced clinical medicine for over a decade. During a three-year communications program in Germany, he developed an interest in German medicine (homeopathy) and other alternative systems of medicine. This article was originally published on Bel Marra Health.