Change Your Lifestyle to Reduce Chronic Inflammation & Pain
By Josh Morin
About 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain, according to the Institute of Medicine. Studies indicate that eating patterns, stress and inadequate exercise contribute to chronic inflammation, and scientists know that inflammation promotes chronic pain. Reduce your inflammation, and you may be able to prevent or manage much of your chronic pain.
Short-term inflammation is how the body reacts to an injury. This is the body’s attempt to protect itself. The goal of inflammation in the event of an injury or assault is to remove irritants, damaged cells or pathogens so the body can begin healing. Chronic inflammation occurs when the body’s inflammatory response activates without a trigger or neglects to shut off. Chronic inflammation can last for months, days or years.
When an assault or injury occurs, the inflammatory responses that take place include swelling, redness, pain and heat. When an individual suffers from chronic inflammation, these responses are not visible (hidden inflammation). This hidden inflammation causes numerous chronic illnesses including:
- Heart disease
- Degenerative diseases
- Weight resistance
- Weight gain
There are lifestyle changes you can make to decrease the hidden inflammation in your body.
Your Daily Life
- Focus your exercise routine on losing excess belly fat, as this type of fat increases inflammation and causes heart disease.
- Visit sites like spine-exercises.com to learn how to properly perform exercises and daily activities. Injuries can exacerbate any existing hidden inflammation in the body or be the beginning of a chronic problem.
- De-stress with yoga, massage, a hot bath or meditation.
- Get an adequate amount of rest.
- Use natural detergents and cleaners.
- Take vitamins, whole food supplements and herbs to combat inflammation as well as cravings.
- Do not use nonstick cookware or plastic food storage containers. This reduces the level of toxins in your body that may cause inflammation.
Avoid foods that can cause inflammation and increase your consumption of foods that have anti-inflammatory properties. Not sure where to start? Epicurious.com has a number of recipes for an anti-inflammatory diet. Also, review and incorporate the tips below into daily meal planning. Make changes gradually and use trial and error to see what works best for your individual needs and lifestyle.
- Do not eat saturated and trans fats.
- Eat foods rich in omega-3s or monounsaturated fats such as avocados, nuts and seeds. Another way to accomplish this is to take a fish oil supplement daily.
- Stop eating refined flours, sugar, artificial sweeteners, high glycemic and processed foods.
- Seven pro-inflammatory foods to avoid include eggs, dairy, gluten, corn, peanuts and soy. These foods can contribute to weight loss resistance and obesity.
- To avoid pesticide residue, purchase organic foods.
- Use spices and herbs that are rich in antioxidants, such as ginger and garlic. Make sure the spices you purchase do not contain any of the foods you are trying to avoid.
- Reduce your consumption of animal products to no more than twice weekly.
- Drink plenty of filtered water or, ideally, alkaline ionized water.
- Eat plenty of vegetables, fruits and healthy carbohydrates (whole grains).
- Eat plant proteins like beans, nuts and legumes.
- Drink between two to four cups of tea daily. Recommended teas include green, white and oolong.
- Balance your caloric intake.