The #1 Best Habit for Inflammation, Say Doctors
Inflammation is a good thing—until it really isn't. It's the body's natural reaction to injury or infection. When you cut yourself, the area swells as the immune system dispatches white blood cells to the area. But when inflammation lingers inside the body, it can cause serious health problems. It's believed that chronic inflammation can lead to heart disease, cancer, arthritis, depression, dementia and Alzheimer's disease, says Harvard Medical School. These are the best things you can do to reduce inflammation in your body ASAP. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs COVID is Hurting You—Even After a Negative Test.
A new study published in BMJ found that men who live alone have higher rates of inflammation than people who live with a partner or family. "There is increasing understanding of fundamental links between psychological stress and biological variables related to inflammation," Dr. Peter Libby, a cardiovascular medicine specialist, told CNN. Maintaining strong social connections may be one of the best things you can do for health.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Eating foods that contain added sugar, refined grains, saturated fat, trans fats, and omega-6 fatty acids can stoke inflammation. These foods—particularly simple carbs and added sugars—increase stress in the body that activates inflammatory genes, says a 2019 paper published in the journal Nature Medicine. They can also alter the gut microbiota, causing "leaky gut," in which toxins spread from the stomach throughout the body, inflaming it.
Being sedentary increases inflammation, and the more sedentary, the higher the level of inflammation, one study found. Good thing that exercise is a super-quick fix: Just one 20-minute session of moderate exercise causes the body to quell inflammation, say researchers at the University of California-San Diego School of Medicine.
Experts say the most effective method of reducing inflammation is losing weight if you need to, said researchers from the National Institutes of Health and the Mayo Clinic in a 2020 paper. According to a 2018 review of studies, losing weight can reduce inflammation, and reducing the number of daily calories you consume has an anti-inflammatory effect, regardless of the diet you follow.
Chronic stress causes an inflammatory response in the body, which can damage vital organs and reduce immunity. Recent studies have found that excessive stress can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, fatty liver disease, and cancer, potentially shortening your life by years.
Get Plenty of Quality Sleep
People who have irregular sleep schedules are more likely to have inflammation than people with regular sleep patterns, experts say. Aim for seven to nine hours of quality sleep a night. If you're not getting there, talk with your doctor. And to live your healthiest life, don't miss this life-saving advice: I'm a Doctor and Here's the #1 Sign You Have Cancer.