Clean Eating

Two Weeks of Anti-Inflammatory Eating

At some point in your life, you will experience one form of inflammation or another. And, in fact, acute inflammation – such as when you bang your knee and it swells up – can be a good thing. During acute inflammation, your immune system jumps into action to heal the damaged area and you will likely recover in a matter of days.

Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, develops over time. It causes your immune system to keep your body in a constant state of high alert. It can be caused by issues such as a virus, stress, poor sleep, lack of sufficient movement, weight gain and diet. This is the insidious type of inflammation that you can’t necessarily feel, and it may increase your risk for various chronic conditions such as coronary artery disease, arthritis and even Alzheimer’s disease. The good news is that you can reverse chronic inflammation and reduce your risk of chronic health conditions by addressing some key lifestyle components.

STRESS: Chronic stress causes an increase in the hormones cortisol and adrenaline, which directly increase inflammation. Stress can come from a big project at work, an unhealthy relationship, financial worries or even caring for a loved one. Finding time to decompress is key. For some people, it can be as simple as closing your eyes for one minute and doing slow, deep, diaphragmatic breathing, using a guided meditation app on your phone for five to 10 minutes a day, inhaling lavender essential oil or soaking in a hot bath filled with Epsom salt at the end of the day.

SLEEP: In our culture of working harder to accomplish more, making sure you get enough rest often takes a backseat, and even a single night of inadequate slumber can spike inflammation. Prioritizing sleep is essential to decreasing inflammation and boosting your immune system. Start by shutting down all electronic devices at least one hour before bed as the blue light emitted by cell phones, computers, tablets and televisions could suppress melatonin production in the brain (melatonin helps you feel sleepy). Instead, try yoga poses, such as legs-up-on-the-wall pose or child’s pose, which activate the parasympathetic nervous system, needed for deep rest. Or use an app with binaural beats, a type of sound-wave therapy that may trick the brain into a state of deep relaxation.

Exercise is an important modulator of inflammation. How much you do, how frequently you exercise and how intensely you work out all impact inflammation. A mostly sedentary life increases your risk of obesity, high blood pressure and may lead to a weakened immune system. The answer is not running a marathon or doing CrossFit every day. Find a physical activity you enjoy – such as taking a walk, dancing, swimming, hiking, yoga, biking or Pilates – and

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