How To Naturally Reduce Inflammation And Help Bring Your Body Into Balance
8 Positive Steps You Can Take To Naturally Reduce Inflammation in the Body
If you’re serious about levelling up your health and restoring energy levels you once had, then it’s the smartest of moves to naturally reduce inflammation in your body.
There’s no getting away from the fact that diet plays a massive role in levels of inflammation. And chronic inflammation is at the root of virtually all disease.
Therefore making positive dietary choices, and avoiding troublemaker foods which trigger an inflammatory reaction, helps to ensure you can look, feel, and perform at your best.
That’s why a fair chunk of this article will focus on what to take out of the diet, along with nutritious foods that support the healthy functioning of the body and go to work on reducing inflammation.
However, we’ll also highlight how you can make best use of the heat and cold to support the body and help naturally reduce inflammation.
1. Get yourself all hot and sweaty
Sauna use for health purposes dates back 4000 years – yet it is still one of the best ways today to optimise your health.
Much scientific research has been done since then, including one 20-year study which concluded that frequent visits to the sauna increases your chances of living longer, and decreases your risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Part of this is the fact that sauna use helps the body expel toxins, which trigger inflammation. The concentrated heat stimulates circulation of oxygen-rich blood flow which lowers inflammation and can help with swelling, muscle and joint pain. (Which is why it’s a go-to place for athletes and sports stars).
2. Brave the cold – Wim Hof style – To Naturally Reduce Inflammation
Let’s change the temperature from hot to cold…
Cold water therapy has become extremely popular for health and wellness enthusiasts in recent years — primarily down to the phenomenon that is Wim Hof.
We’ve recently seen the wacky Dutchman on TV with his ‘Freeze The Fear’ where celebrities such as Tamzin Outhwaite and Gabby Logan have been facing extreme cold-water challenges.
But for many years before he went mainstream, Wim Hof has been spreading the word about how exposing the body to cold temperatures – cold showers, dips in lochs and rivers outdoors etc – drastically reduces inflammation levels in the body.
Scientific studies have also shown that cold exposure also triggers a surge in feel-good chemicals in the brain, such as dopamine.
One interesting study done in 2016 around the effects of cold showering on health and work. It involved thousands of people aged between 18 and 65 taking a cold shower for 30 days. The results showed a 29 percent reduction in sickness absence from work.
3. Cut out these dietary troublemakers
Fast food, alcohol, fizzy juice, cakes, crisps…you won’t be surprised to hear that these typical junk foods and drinks increase inflammation in the body.
However, some specific foods cause intolerances and sensitivities in some people. Two well-known dietary troublemakers are dairy and gluten.
A dairy intolerance is one of the most common food sensitivities among both children and adults, triggering an inflammatory response and various symptoms. As much as 20% of the UK population experience reactions to foods, according to the Association of UK Dietitians.
Meanwhile, lactose intolerance – a reaction to the sugar in milk which causes digestive issues – is even more common, affecting an estimated 75% of people globally.
Gluten is a family of proteins found in grains including wheat, barley, rye, and spelt. It is added to many of our foods to act like a glue, helping the likes of bread to rise and keep its shape.
Problem is, this glue-like protein is not easily broken down by some people and can cause digestive distress and inflammation elsewhere in the body, triggering other symptoms such as headaches.
By at least reducing your consumption of everyday foods such as cow’s milk and bread, you may see positive health changes. There are many alternatives to cow’s milk, such as oat milk, along with gluten-free breads in virtually all supermarkets these days.
4. Spice things up to cool the body down
Turmeric is a traditional Indian spice that you’ll likely have tasted many times as part of curry dishes.
While turmeric brings some heat to the main course, it’s also used medicinally to naturally reduce inflammation.
Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric responsible for its anti-inflammatory properties. It is so powerful that it matches the effectiveness of some anti-inflammatory drugs — but without the side effects.
Curcumin works by reducing the response of specific protein-cytokines that occur in the process of inflammation. It has been used in many chronic disorders such as arthritis, allergies, arteriosclerosis, and digestive disorders.
5. Take Boswellia: Another Indian wonder herb
Boswellia, commonly known as Indian frankincense, is another wonder herb that has a long history of medicinal use to treat various chronic inflammatory disorders.
A resin herbal extract from the boswellia tree, the anti-inflammatory properties of boswellia are due to compounds known as boswellic acids which reduce the formation of inflammatory chemicals by inhibiting the enzyme 5-lipoxygenase.
6. Incorporate the spice we all love
Who doesn’t love ginger? We ate gingerbread men as kids, a slice of ginger loaf when we grew up…and 97% of all British people have dipped ginger nut biscuits into their tea. (Don’t ask us to find the study backing those figures up).
But long before it was added to baking, main courses, and smoothies, ginger was used as a medicine in ancient times.
It is a potent anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and analgesic. Like NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), ginger inhibits the activity of COX enzymes, plus leukotriene and prostaglandin synthesis.
Closely related to the turmeric plant, ginger also acts on pain receptors located throughout the peripheral and central nervous system.
7. Nourish with all the juicy goodness
Obviously, we’re a bit biased with this one, but juicing is absolutely the way to go for reducing inflammation and optimising your health.
There’s plenty of scientific research which shows how the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients in fruits and vegetables lower inflammation, boost the immune system, and promote better health overall.
Cold-pressed juices really pack a powerful punch because they allow you to consume more fruits and vegetables in one tasty drink than the average person consumes in a day.
8. Load up on the miracle mineral
Magnesium is a magical nutrient involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body and helps to ease numerous health complaints, ranging from sore joints and muscle cramps to insomnia and anxiety.
It’s no wonder magnesium is nicknamed ‘The Miracle Mineral’ – and there’s a top-selling book called ‘The Magnesium Miracle’ by Dr Carolyn Dean that we’d highly recommend checking out.
Taking a magnesium supplement and increasing your intake of magnesium-rich foods, such as dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, wholegrains, and even dark chocolate, helps reduce the stress hormone cortisol and keeps it in check. Chronic cortisol releases directly cause inflammation in the body.
Furthermore, research has shown that dietary magnesium has beneficial effects on inflammatory markers such as CRP and interleukin-6 and can therefore help bring your body back into balance.
Standing in a cold shower for more than 10 seconds might be your idea of hell, we get it. But Wim Hof suggests taking your regular hot shower and then gradually turning to cold at the end. This means you can slowly get used to the practice, increase your time, and then experience the inflammation-cooling benefits.
You can always take things to the other extreme and take a sauna frequently to help reduce inflammation and support your body’s detoxification process.
And of course, if you’re serious about getting healthier and want to reduce inflammation naturally then load up on the juices, delve into the wonder herbs, and limit the junk food.
Bottom line: eat well, feel well.
Association between sauna bathing and fatal cardiovascular and all-cause mortality events
The effect of cold showering on health and work: a randomised controlled trial