Easy Ways to Reduce Inflammation Overnight

November 11, 2018

There’s been a lot of talk about inflammation everywhere lately, and there’s a reason for the hype. Adopting an anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle can not only reduce chronic inflammation, help you stay healthy, and slow down the aging process, but studies have shown that it can reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, autoimmune disease, joint pain, and cancer.

The best part? You don’t have to wait months or years to start seeing results and feeling better! The small changes you make today can begin to reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, autoimmune disease, joint pain and cancer. The small changes you make today can start reducing your inflammation overnight. Here’s what you can do to start reaping the health benefits as soon as possible.

 

Eat one salad a day.
Keep a packet or two of leafy greens handy and toss them in your lunch bag or on your plate. Eating a cup of leafy greens like baby spinach, arugula, kale or lettuce every day is one of the most beneficial eating habits you can develop. These leafy greens provide an anti-inflammatory double whammy, thanks to antioxidants and bioactive compounds that reduce inflammation and prevent free radicals from creating new inflammation.

Avoid starvation.
Skip the vending machines and sweetened coffee drinks in favor of fiber-rich snacks with a little protein, such as apple slices and peanut butter, raw vegetables and hummus, or a few almonds and cheese cubes. Because eating balanced snacks without added sugars and refined carbohydrates is the key to keeping your blood sugar within normal parameters, thus helping you avoid cravings, hunger and irritability. Not only is this better for those around you, but avoiding spikes and dips in blood sugar can also prevent inflammation in your body that can lead to obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Go to bed.
Turn off Netflix, get off social media, and go to bed early. While this may seem a bit indulgent, sleeping 7 to 8 hours in a row is considered adequate for adults, and we should all make this goal our standard. Routine sleep deprivation (6 hours or less) can trigger inflammation – even in healthy people – and studies have shown that this increases the risk of metabolic problems, which can lead to obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease, as well as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Take your dog for a walk.
Missed your workout today? Get out to your neighborhood and walk around! While regular exercise is ideal for treating and preventing most all health problems, there are times when there isn’t enough time for a full workout. However, the results of a 2017 study showed that just 20 minutes of exercise can reduce inflammatory blood markers. So, lace up your shoes and get moving!

Add some ingredients.
When you’re cooking tonight, look for ways to add a little garlic or spice. Fragrant and spicy spices seem to have the potential to increase inflammation, but research shows that they actually do the opposite. In fact, there is evidence that adding garlic, or herbs and spices like turmeric, rosemary, cinnamon, cumin, ginger, and caraway, can reduce inflammation, which can eventually lead to heart disease, degenerative brain diseases, cancer, and respiratory problems.

Quit drinking.

If you enjoy a nightly cocktail or glass of wine, consider quitting drinking for a few days. This doesn’t have to be long term, but cutting out alcohol for a short time (along with making other anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle changes) will help your body calm down and reduce existing inflammation. While research shows that moderate alcohol consumption has some benefits, the problem is that it’s easy to cross over from beneficial, anti-inflammatory alcohol to harmful, inflammatory alcohol.

Swap a cup of coffee for green tea.
If you drink one to three cups of coffee or other caffeinated beverages a day, consider swapping one of those cups of coffee for green tea. Green tea leaves contain polyphenol compounds that can help reduce free radical damage and stop further inflammation. Studies have shown that regular consumption of green tea can help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and joint disease.

Be gentle on your gut.
There’s a lot of hype around probiotics, but are you supporting the good microbes that already live in your body? Protect those existing good bacteria, reduce added sugars and trans fats, and focus on choosing mostly whole foods and minimizing processed foods. It’s also worthwhile to consume probiotic-rich foods – such as yogurt, sauerkraut, kombucha, miso or kimchi – on a daily basis. Strengthening the gut’s microbial barrier is one of the cornerstones of long-term inflammation reduction.

Consider a quick.

Admittedly, this isn’t for everyone, but research continues to find benefits when it comes to intermittent fasting (IF), largely due to the anti-inflammatory effects caused by the dietary pattern. There are several ways to approach fasting, but an easy way to start is with a 12-hour fast. This means that if you eat dinner at 7 p.m., you consume only water or black coffee until 7 a.m. the next morning. Research suggests that doing IF regularly may reduce the risk of heart disease and improve insulin sensitivity, brain health and inflammatory bowel disease.

Cut out dairy and gluten (temporarily).
Dairy and gluten don’t usually cause inflammation in healthy people (unless you have allergies, intolerances, or celiac disease), but they can be irritating when inflammation is already present. Some people may find it beneficial to cut out dairy, gluten, or both for a few weeks, while eating a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods and low-inflammatory foods. The idea is to give your body time to “calm down”. After that, you can slowly start adding in foods that contain dairy or gluten to see if they cause any irritation.

Calm down.
No matter how healthy your diet is, low-level inflammation isn’t going to go away if stress levels stay high. Even if stress isn’t too big of a daily problem, learning how to manage and respond to it when it happens is key to preventing new inflammation. Finding healthy ways to escape this stress – for example, by practicing yoga, meditation or taking short walks – provides quick relief psychologically and anti-inflammatory effects physiologically.

Picky Ingredients.
Additives, dyes, preservatives and other ingredients often added to foods have the potential to trigger or exacerbate inflammation – especially if you have a weak gut barrier – so check the ingredient lists of products in your food pantry and refrigerator. Are the ingredients listed ingredients that you might use when you make food from recipes at home? If so, then this is likely a minimally processed product and a good choice. If not, choose another brand or alternative the next time you shop.