Slash Inflammation (and Stop Disease) in 6 Easy Steps
Q: I’ve noticed a lot of articles over the past few weeks that have been talking about the connection between inflammation and all kinds of diseases. What are some of the best ways to reduce inflammation?
Dr. G: I’m glad you’ve been paying attention. You’re right – inflammation is one of the underlying causes of just about every major disease, including heart disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, arthritis, and autoimmune diseases.
The fact that you’re actively thinking about taking steps to lower your inflammation means you’re on the right track.
Like most things you can do for your health, what you do to reduce inflammation is as important as what you don’t do.
These are my top 6 dos and don’ts of cutting inflammation. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it’s a great start.
- Curcumin. If I had to choose just one supplement for inflammation, this would be it. Curcumin is the main active compound found in the spice turmeric, and literally thousands of studies have shown its anti-inflammatory powers. Be sure you take it with black pepper because it makes it more absorbable.
- Sunlight. Not getting enough sunlight leads to a deficiency in vitamin D, which in known to increase not only inflammation, but cancer risk as well. As an added benefit, getting plenty of sun during the day helps regulate your circadian clock, which releases hormones that control energy, mood, sleep, and more.
- Omega-3s. These healthy fats are known for their brain-boosting benefits. But they are highly anti-inflammatory as well. The foods highest in omega-3s include salmon, tuna, krill, algae, walnuts, egg yolks, and cod liver oil. If you choose to take an omega-3 supplement, make sure it contains both DHA and EPA.
- Lose Weight. Easier said than done, but those extra pounds are more than unsightly. Fat cells churn out inflammatory molecules. Lose the fat, reduce the inflammation.
- Cut Out the Sugar. Not only will it help you with #4, but it will help prevent your body from releasing too much insulin, which leads to inflammation. Consuming too much sugar also increases inflammation directly by increasing levels of proinflammatory messengers called cytokines. The best way to reduce your sugar intake is to stop eating processed junk food. And if you insist on having a sweetener in your coffee, stevia is a good alternative to sugar.
- Avoid foods that cause inflammation. These include refined carbs, fried foods, sodas, and vegetable oils.
Written By Dr. Richard Gerhauser, M.D.
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