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2 months ago

 – written by 

Ana Dias

7 Powerful Anti-Inflammatory Habits to Know

Inflammation is not always bad for you. This natural process helps your body recover after injury or infection [1]. However, when the inflammatory response persists, it becomes chronic, which can negatively affect your health and wellbeing [1]. Which is why incorporating anti-inflammatory habits in your route is important.

 

This type of Inflammation is present in many chronic diseases such as atherosclerosis, cancer, diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases, and chronic joint diseases [1]. But as you know, lifestyle choices directly affect your health. Healthy habits can reduce inflammation in your body and prevent the onset of chronic diseases.

 

Now, let’s understand what the best anti-inflammatory habits are.

 

1. Improve your diet.

 

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There is a strong link between nutrition and inflammation. One of the best ways to reduce inflammation is to decrease the intake of foods that induce the body’s inflammatory response and increase the intake of anti-inflammatory foods [2,3].

 

Consuming too many fatty foods, red meat, and processed products can increase the body’s inflammatory processes [2,3]. So, it is best to avoid them.

 

Ideally, your diet should be rich in fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, fish, and grains, known for their protective effects against certain diseases. Furthermore, virgin olive oil, a primary source of lipids in the Mediterranean diet, has positive health benefits [2].

 

2. Get a good night’s sleep.

 

We all know how a poor night’s sleep negatively affects our day. More scientific evidence has emerged that points to sleep disorders influencing the inflammatory process [5]. Sleep is an essential biological process for maintaining good states of physical and mental health. It is well established in the scientific community that it aids in recovery from infection and other illnesses [5]. 

 

Disturbed sleep causes changes in the systems that regulate the immune system, increasing the body’s inflammation [6]. Therefore, good sleep habits are fundamental. Small practices can change your life! See some of them [7]:

 

  • Avoid spending too much time in bed.
  • Keep a regular bedtime and waking time.
  • Work out during the day. 
  • Don’t take long naps during the day, or you won’t be able to sleep at night.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol close to bedtime.
  • Sunbathe! It helps our body regulate our day/night cycle.
  • Take a hot bath before bed. It enables you to relax.

 

3. Exercise is a great anti-inflammatory habit.

 

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Physical exercise is essential for maintaining a good quality of life. Although high-intensity exercise can damage muscles and induce inflammation, long-term training at a low or moderate intensity helps decrease the body’s inflammatory process [8]. Exercising also helps to prevent the symptoms of depression triggered by inflammation [9].

 

4. Avoid alcohol consumption.

 

Chronic inflammation is commonly associated with excessive alcohol consumption. Evidence shows that alcohol stimulates and worsens many inflammatory diseases, mainly in the liver [10]. 

 

We know that a glass of wine or having a beer with friends seems irresistible. Light to moderate drinking is not necessarily a problem but avoid drinking large amounts of alcohol frequently. If you have inflammatory issues, stop drinking alcohol entirely for a while.

 

5. Drink coffee (in moderation).

 

That’s good news for coffee lovers! Coffee is rich in bioactive compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Regular coffee consumption reduces blood levels of inflammation markers and increases blood levels of anti-inflammatory factors [11].

 

Caffeine consumption may reduce inflammatory substances in the brain. Some studies present coffee as an ally in treating Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease, which are associated with inflammation of the nerve cells [12].

 

However, the biochemical mechanisms involved are dose-dependent, meaning it’s no use drinking an entire pot of coffee a day because it can harm your health!

 

6. Just relax!

 

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Photo via Pixabay

 

No matter how healthy your diet is, inflammation will not disappear if your stress levels are constantly high [13]. Stress-related conditions like anxiety and depression can trigger inflammatory immune responses. Stress can lead to more severe conditions such as heart problems [13]. Thus, try some relaxation methods like yoga, meditation, or taking your dog for a walk.

 

7. Try fasting.

 

Fasting is a periodic, complete, or several-day decrease in food intake. Studies support that it can have beneficial health effects [14].

 

Fasting and calorie restriction decrease inflammation, which may protect against age-related diseases. Fasting can alleviate systemic inflammation due to its anti-inflammatory properties in various tissues [14].

 

The primary intermittent fasting method is the 16:8, where you go 16 hours without food and 8 hours with food. However, we advise you to seek advice from a dietitian to define the best form of fasting for you.

 

Final thoughts on anti-inflammatory habits.

 

Persistent inflammatory processes can trigger chronic diseases and other health issues. Adopting healthier lifestyle habits is essential to improve your quality of life. You don’t have to wait too long to start seeing results and feeling better. Start by making small changes in your daily life. You´ll notice considerable improvements in those inflammatory conditions and the systems they may cause. 

 

References

 

  1. LUCAS, Lisa; RUSSELL, Aaron; KEAST, Russell. Molecular mechanisms of inflammation. Anti-inflammatory benefits of virgin olive oil and the phenolic compound oleocanthal. Current pharmaceutical design, v. 17, n. 8, p. 754-768, 2011.
  2. LUCAS, Lisa; RUSSELL, Aaron; KEAST, Russell. Molecular mechanisms of inflammation. Anti-inflammatory benefits of virgin olive oil and the phenolic compound oleocanthal. Current pharmaceutical design, v. 17, n. 8, p. 754-768, 2011.
  3. GIOIA, Chiara et al. Dietary habits and nutrition in rheumatoid arthritis: can diet influence disease development and clinical manifestations?. Nutrients, v. 12, n. 5, p. 1456, 2020.
  4. LJUNGBERG, Tina; BONDZA, Emma; LETHIN, Connie. Evidence of the importance of dietary habits regarding depressive symptoms and depression. International journal of environmental research and public health, v. 17, n. 5, p. 1616, 2020.
  5. IRWIN, Michael R.; OLMSTEAD, Richard; CARROLL, Judith E. Sleep disturbance, sleep duration, and inflammation: a systematic review and meta-analysis of cohort studies and experimental sleep deprivation. Biological psychiatry, v. 80, n. 1, p. 40-52, 2016.
  6. IRWIN, Michael R. Sleep and inflammation: partners in sickness and in health. Nature Reviews Immunology, v. 19, n. 11, p. 702-715, 2019.
  7. MacLeod S, Musich S, Kraemer S, Wicker E. Practical non-pharmacological intervention approaches for sleep problems among older adults. Geriatr Nurs (Minneap). 2018;39: 506–512. doi:10.1016/j.gerinurse.2018.02.002
  8. MEE-INTA, Onanong; ZHAO, Zi-Wei; KUO, Yu-Min. Physical exercise inhibits inflammation and microglial activation. Cells, v. 8, n. 7, p. 691, 2019.
  9. PAOLUCCI, Emily M. et al. Exercise reduces depression and inflammation but intensity matters. Biological psychology, v. 133, p. 79-84, 2018.
  10. WANG, H. Joe; ZAKHARI, Samir; JUNG, M. Katherine. Alcohol, inflammation, and gut-liver-brain interactions in tissue damage and disease development. World journal of gastroenterology: WJG, v. 16, n. 11, p. 1304, 2010.
  11. PAIVA, C. L. R. S. et al. Consumption of coffee or caffeine and serum concentration of inflammatory markers: A systematic review. Critical reviews in food science and nutrition, v. 59, n. 4, p. 652-663, 2019.
  12. MADEIRA, Maria H. et al. Having a coffee break: the impact of caffeine consumption on microglia-mediated inflammation in neurodegenerative diseases. Mediators of Inflammation, v. 2017, 2017.
  13. FIORANELLI, Massimo et al. Stress and inflammation in coronary artery disease: a review psychoneuroendocrineimmunology-based. Frontiers in immunology, p. 2031, 2018.
  14.  ZHOU, Rui-han et al. The influence of fasting and caloric restriction on inflammation levels in humans: a protocol for systematic review and meta analysis. Medicine, v. 100, n. 15, 2021.