Control Inflammation Naturally

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Control Inflammation Naturally

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Posted by:
Mary Ann O'Dell, MS, RDN

You may not realize it, but inflammation is good. Coupled with pain, it is your body’s signal that something is wrong, and something needs to be done about it. Inflammation is an immune response, an attempt by the body to heal itself when there is injury, or to defend itself against bacteria and viruses. But living in a chronic state of inflammation is bad. Chronic inflammation occurs with rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, allergies and asthma. Other factors can contribute to chronic inflammation, including stress, excess weight, lack of exercise, overexertion, and poor diet. 

Ways to Control Inflammation

1. Rest. Rest is underappreciated in the US. But rest is what allows your body to recuperate each day. Rest will allow your body to return to its best state. Be sure you are getting adequate sleep at night, and sufficient rest during illness or after intensive exercise.

2. Appropriate Movement. Exercise is important to help control inflammation and reduce stiffness since it can help increase circulation. Light jogging, walking, yoga, swimming and moderate weight training would all be appropriate to help control inflammation and pain. Be sure to warm up before any exercise session.

3. Anti-Inflammatory Diet.  Processed foods that are high in sugar and saturated fat can fan the flames of inflammation. Choose instead fresh fruits and vegetables that provide a host of protective antioxidants, along with nuts, seeds and fish that supply Omega-3s that can help naturally reduce inflammation in the body. Choose lean proteins and beneficial fats, including avocado and olive oil. Emphasizing these foods can help reduce inflammation.

4. Anti-Inflammatory Herbs.  When pain and inflammation are present, many people reach for over-the-counter or prescription pain medications, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatories. Unfortunately, long-term use of these drugs can come with unwanted side effects, including disrupting the lining of the digestive tract resulting in further health problems. Fortunately, nature provides substances that effectively fight pain and inflammation without unwanted side effects. Turmeric, Boswellia, tart cherry and ginger are well-known herbs that support a healthy inflammation response in the body. They can help reduce pain and inflammation. Arnica flower, used homeopathically, is another effective remedy, especially for overexertion, bruising, swelling after surgery, or injury. Arnica’s plant compounds work to help reduce swelling, decrease pain, and they act as very mild antibiotics.

Controlling inflammation is important, for a variety of reasons. Controlling inflammation can enhance your activity level, performance and pain level. When you control inflammation and pain, it enhances daily recovery, and you just feel better!