6 Hacks To Fight Inflammation - Saturday Strategy
6 Ways To Fight Inflammation
If inflammation ranks low on your list of health concerns, it may be time to bump it up. The reason: Inflammation, or your body's response to injury or infection, has been associated with arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer. So what can you do to fight it? Exercise, finds a new study published in theScandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science In Sports.
Nearly 5,000 men and women took a physical exam that measured their levels of the inflammation marker C-reactive protein (CRP), which is a recognized marker for cardiovascular disease. The subjects then wore an activity-tracking accelerometer for seven days. The findings: Adults who were physically active had 33% lower CRP levels than inactive adults. While other research has found a connection between self-reported activity and inflammation, this is the first study to use objectively reported activity measures.
Still, an association doesn't mean inflammation causes a particular condition, says Aditi Nerurkar, MD, an integrative medicine physician at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. "Inflammation is tricky, even for doctors," she says. "But we do know that high levels of inflammatory markers—like CRP—aren't a positive thing."
If physical activity can manage inflammation, are there other lifestyle measures that do the same? Yes! Try these five research-based inflammation fighters today.
1. Pile your plate with fruits and veggies.Produce packs anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, or plant-based chemicals including antioxidants, that have been found to lower the risk for disease. One cup of strawberries, for example, offers 150% of your daily value of vitamin C—a stimulant for disease-fighting white blood cells.
2. Skip the sugar. "Sugar wears down your adrenal glands, or stress regulators, and thus your ability to cope with stress over time," says Yuri Elkaim, RD. Why does this matter? "When we're stressed, our body's cortisol levels increase, and cortisol is one of the many hormones that helps regulate inflammation in the body," says Dr. Nerurkar. (Read up on the sweet stuff in The Truth About Sugar.)
3. Mind your meds. "Aspirin is an anti-inflammatory and taking one daily can keep the blood's platelets from clumping and clotting,” says Nick Kardaras, MD, the clinical director at The Dunes East Hampton in New York. (Check with your doctor before starting any medication, including taking a daily aspirin.) And if you've already been prescribed a statin, there's another benefit to these cholesterol-lowering meds: They may reduce inflammation, as well as your risk for cardiovascular disease, says Yasmine Subhi Ali, MD, an assistant clinical professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.
4. Meditate."Yes, everyone says this, but we continually put ourselves in stressful situations and don't realize it," says Elkaim. Research has shown that chronic stress is connected to changes in CRP and your immune system. Elkaim suggests taking 10 to 15 minutes a day to be quiet, reflect, or meditate. If meditation isn't your thing (though our guide makes it easy to find a style that suits you), walking and yoga can be just as effective.
5. Get some shut-eye.A lack of sleep leads to everything from weight gain, cardiovascular disease and—yep—inflammation. Though still a growing field of research, says Dr.
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