At this point, you've almost definitely heard the term "
inflammation" being thrown around quite a bit. It has been linked to a lot of serious medical conditions, and working to reduce inflammation in your body is thought to be beneficial for numerous reasons. Because it's such a buzzy word at the moment, there are lots of tips out there on how to fight inflammation — and some of them seem pretty out there. Don't discount everything, though: there are some weird remedies for inflammation that actually do work.
But what does
inflammation even mean? It's your body's natural immune response to getting an infection or an injury. Like so many other things, there are good kinds of inflammation and bad kinds. The good kinds are necessary for your body to function. It's when an inflammatory response sticks around for too long (referred to as chronic inflammation) that it can become dangerous, and can lead to painful, if not life-threatening conditions. Inflammation has been linked to chronic diseases and health issues like cancer, asthma, autoimmune diseases, irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis, osteoporosis, and premature aging. In other words, it's not something you want to take lightly.
Chronic inflammation can be caused by a number of things: a bad diet, too much stress, gut health issues, and bacterial infections, to name a few. Reducing this inflammation (and also reducing your chances of getting one of the diseases associated with it) is often something you have to do on your own, without the help of medication. Below are a few weird remedies for inflammation that are definitely worth trying out:
Changing up what you eat and drink is an extremely important part of fighting inflammation. One herbal remedy that gets a lot of attention is the idea that turmeric can help reduce inflammation in a big way - this isn't just a myth. This bright orange spice has been used for thousands of years to treat many conditions that stem from inflammation. One 2009 study even found that
turmeric eased pain as much as ibuprofen did for people with arthritis. This is likely because turmeric is made of curcumin, an anti-inflammatory compound that has many healing propoerties.
You can add turmeric to your food, or another way to get a lot of it is to drink turmeric tea or golden milk. Be sure to add black pepper, as this is what helps activate turmeric to work at its best.
Another food that has shown to be effective in reducing inflammation is pineapple. That's because pineapple has a lot of bromelain, a powerful enzyme that gets absorbed into your body whole, rather than being broken down in the digestive tract. Studies have shown that
when bromelain is absorbed into the bloodstream, it can help to reduce inflammation and pain. You can find bromelain supplements, of course, but a tastier and more fun way to get it is through eating pineapple.
Is more sleep the answer to every medical issue out there? Maybe it's not the miracle cure, but it certainly can help. Studies have shown that not getting enough sleep can lead to
more inflammation. Dr. Mark R. Zielinski, a Research Health Scientist at VA Boston Healthcare System and an Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School, Department of Psychiatry, says that inflammation is inflammation is often increased among people with sleep-related disorders. Basically, there are small proteins called cytokines that allow your brain cells to communicate with each other and increase inflammation. These same cytokines help regulate sleep (and more), and are enhanced when the brain experiences sleep loss. So, sleeping helps keep them down - and that means you need plenty of rest.
Following An Anti-Inflammatory Diet
You may have heard of anti-inflammatory diets before, but don't be fooled: this isn't the latest trend to lose weight. Anti-inflammatory diets focus on foods that fight inflammation and eliminate foods that reduce inflammation. According to
Harvard Health, you should be avoiding refined carbohydrates, soda, red meat, processed meat, and things like margarine. An anti-inflammatory diet is one that is rich in plant-based foods, healthy fats, the right kind of seafood, olive oil, and fruits. It's actually kind of similar to the Mediterranean diet, so trying that out isn't a bad idea.
Practicing Stress Relief
Stress is another culprit when it comes to inflammation, and so knowing relaxation techniques are a must. Stress can make your body produce
more cortisol, a hormone that can increase inflammation in your body. Stress can also be linked to a lack of sleep and a poor diet, two other causes of chronic inflammation. Try meditating or calming your mind in any way that works for you.
If you aren't already exercising regularly, you should start. Research has found that as little as
20 minutes of exercise each day is enough to help reduce inflammation in a significant way. Apparently, exercise can improve your body's anti-inflammatory response by activating the sympathetic nervous system, which helps increase heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate. Even if you're very busy, take 20 minutes of your day to do something that gets your heart rate going.
You don't want to be tanning outside for hours with no protection, but getting exposure to sunlight each day is a good way to help reduce inflammation. Vitamin D is powerful when it comes to boosting the immune system, which can have anti-inflammatory effects. Studies have found that young women with
vitamin D deficiencies have increased inflammation. Go outside in the sun for about 10 to 15 minutes every day, or at least take supplements.
Cutting Back On Medication
It might sound weird, but taking too many antibiotics or aspirin can actually be increasing your inflammation. That's because they could be
altering your gut and therefore harming your microbiome (the little bugs in your gut that help digest your food). When microbiome gets damaged, it can cause something called leaky gut, which can release toxins that lead to chronic inflammation. Of course, you should take medication when you absolutely need to, but try not to pop painkillers at every moment.
Not surprisingly, staying hydrated and drinking a lot of water is one way to reduce inflammation. But you might want to make sure your water is filtered before chugging it down.
points out that some tap water can contain inflammatory chemicals, which means that drinking a lot of water could maybe be making things worse for you. Women's Health
You might think you should be avoiding fats for a healthy diet, but that's not true at all. There are healthy fats out there that have plenty of benefits, including helping to fight chronic inflammation. Essential fatty acids found in olive oil, certain fishes, and nuts are so important. Omega-3 and -6 fats are essential at lowering inflammation, so start making things like walnuts, salmon, and chia seeds a part of your regular diet.