I recently came across an article in AARP about the importance of reducing chronic inflammation. To make his point, the author cited a recent study that found men and women who took a prescription anti-inflammatory drug reduced their risk of developing chronic conditions, such as heart disease, lung cancer, arthritis, and gout.
It’s true that research clearly shows unchecked, chronic inflammation can lead to chronic disease. But I strongly urge you against habitually taking a potentially harmful prescription drug to control it, as the AARP article suggested!
Instead, you should focus on natural ways to keep your immune system—and, in turn, inflammation—in check.
Here’s what I mean…
Natural ways to thwart the No. 1 cause of disease and aging
Inflammation is a complex, and often misunderstood, mechanism in the body. For example, acute inflammation is part of your immune system’s normal, healthy response to an injury or infection. It’s critical to the healing process.
But when inflammation continues long after the injury or infection has cleared, it can cause serious harm to your cells and tissues. In fact, chronic inflammation is the No. 1 hidden cause of aging and disease—including arthritis, cancer, dementia, heart disease, and Type II diabetes.
Fortunately, you can reduce most factors that cause chronic inflammation by making some good, sensible lifestyle changes.
Let’s start with your diet.
We know foods high in artificial fats, preservatives, processed carbs, and sugars promote chronic inflammation. (The new, “plant-based,” highly processed fake meats are full of these kinds of harmful ingredients.) So, make sure to eliminate them from your daily diet.
Instead, go ahead and enjoy all the delicious, healthy, wholesome foods in a Mediterranean-type diet—including full-fat dairy (cheese, milk, yogurt, butter, eggs), organic fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, wild-caught fish and seafood, and grass-fed and -finished meat. These foods can actually help you reduce chronic inflammation. (You can learn more in the May 2019 issue of my monthly Insiders’ Cures newsletter [“6 surprising foods that stop chronic inflammation and slow aging”]. Not yet a subscriber? Now is the perfect time to get started!)
Of course, these foods also support your gastrointestinal (GI) microbiome, the environment in your gut where billions of healthy bacteria thrive. And we now know your gut is a critical part of your immune system. In fact, there are more immune cells in the GI tract than in the rest of the body, with strong gut-brain-immune pathways.
Now, let’s move onto another common, yet manageable cause of chronic inflammation…
Find natural ways to reduce stress
Like certain foods, stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol, also promote chronic inflammation. In fact, 20 years ago, I published a paper with Dr. Ken Seaton demonstrating that excess cortisol is strongly associated with aging. (That’s why some now call it, “the aging hormone.”)
Fortunately, you can take some simple steps to reduce your stress naturally, including:
- Practicing a mind-body approach, such as meditation or acupuncture. (This short quiz will help determine which approaches will work best for your “emotional type.” To learn more about “emotional types,” refer to my book with Mike Jawer, Your Emotional Type.)
- Trying the ancient, mindfulness practice of “forest bathing,” which is actually making a comeback. Plus, I always highly encourage spending time outdoors and in Nature—and there’s no better time than now, when Spring is in the air (and as we practice social distancing).
- Consuming alcohol and wine in moderation as part of a healthy Mediterranean diet. (As always, I recommend one to three glasses, depending on your body size and other circumstances.)
Before I go, let me just point out that chronic inflammation is often a very subtle symptom. So, you may wonder how to assess whether your lifestyle changes are really making any difference.
Well, there are actually tests your doctor can order to measure your markers of chronic inflammation. In fact, these tests are far more important than many of the routine tests they do order at your annual appointment!
So, ask your doctor to start regularly measuring your levels of:
- C-reactive protein (CRP)
- B-12 vitamin
- Vitamin D
Of course, there are many natural approaches for controlling inflammation in addition to improving your diet and reducing stress—including exercise routines, nutritional supplementation, and lifestyle interventions. You can learn all about the remarkably fast and easy ways to reverse the No. 1 cause of disease and aging in my innovative online learning tool, my Protocol for Eliminating Deadly Inflammation. To learn more, or to enroll today, click here now!
“Anti-Inflammatory Therapy With Canakinumab for the Prevention of Hospitalization for Heart Failure.” Circulation. 2019 Mar 5;139(10):1289-1299. doi.org/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.118.038010.