Basic Steps to Take Today to Lower Inflammation in the Body
Inflammation. You hear about it all the time, always associated with immunity. Why? Inflammation is your body’s way of responding to something that’s hurting it – whether that be from toxins, something it thinks is a toxin or an infection.
Inflammation has a positive and negative affect in the body. Inflammation has a positive side because it helps your body respond to stress. But chronic, low-grade inflammation is thought to be one of the leading causes of disease, premature aging, and illness.
When you get a cold, your body responds with inflammation in the form of a fever that helps you heal. The inflammation does its job, gets rid of the virus, and disappears. But if your immunity is compromised and your body is constantly under stress, you might experience chronic low-grade inflammation that leaves you more susceptible to illness and disease.
There is no better time than now to make sure your immune system is working optimally – not only for now, but also as a preventative. And we get that it can be challenging to adopt a completely new way of eating in addition to all of the other changes having to be made right now.
These 4 steps are designed to be taken one at a time – to do at your own pace. If you were thinking about making changes to your diet, this may be the best way to ease yourself into it.
4 Basic Steps to Helping Reduce Inflammation in the Body
Avoid Sugar. You’ve heard it a million times, we know! And it may be one of the last things you want to do these days. But here’s the thing. Certain sugars eaten in excess can lower our immune defense. And that’s not something that we want to do right now. Here are some of the main examples to stay away from: any type of flour (think bread, muffins, cookies, desserts) and refined sugar of any kind. Sugar from fruit processes differently mostly because of the minerals and fiber that we get from them. We would recommend sticking with lower sugar fruits like berries, lemons, limes or even cranberries.
Having excess sugar tends to link up with proteins and fats, forming cross-links. After a certain amount of time, the cross-link between a sugar and a protein becomes permanent. This is what is known as an AGE (advanced glycation end product). AGEs wreak all kinds of havoc in the body, with a tendency to interfere with the immune system and its ability to protect against respiratory infection.1
We like sugar, and microbes do too. One reason that we like sugar is because our cells use sugar as a source of energy. Microbes are no different, and they rely on sugar molecules to survive—and even thrive. Like fuel on a fire, sugar feeds Candida and other opportunistic organisms in your body. Instead of sugar, sweeten foods with stevia. Stevia is 300 times sweeter than sugar, hitting the sweet receptors on your tongue without crashing your immune defense system.
Enjoy Fermented Foods with Every Meal. Fermented foods contain probiotic microbes. Probiotic microbes displace the bad guys in the intestinal tract, and they also produce natural antibiotics that kill any stray disease-causing organisms.
Probiotic microbes work with your immune system, giving it the buffer it needs during times of stress. This includes air travel, missed sleep, heavy meals, mental fatigue, or physical overexertion.
We always suggest probiotic foods—such as coconut water kefir, cultured veggies, or InnergyBiotic—over a probiotic supplement. Research shows that the beneficial microbes in fermented foods are far more likely to survive the harsh environment of the intestinal tract when delivered with their fermented substrate, such as dairy, cruciferous vegetables, or coconut water.2
Add in Grain-Like Seeds. The grain-like seeds that we normally recommend are a formidable source of fiber. As a nutrient, the most important role of dietary fiber is that it feeds intestinal bacteria. The fiber richness of grain-like seeds encourage gut bacteria to produce more butyrate (fatty acid), which in turn can assist with reducing inflammation.
While dark leafy greens and vegetables are a good source of soluble fiber, grain-like seeds are uniquely rich in insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber encourages gut bacteria to produce more butyrate than soluble fiber.
Quinoa, millet, buckwheat or amaranth are truly seeds, gluten-free and do not feed candida. These grain-like seeds in their whole form are very valuable for their abundant vitamins and minerals. They are high in fiber to encourage healthy elimination and serve as prebiotics (healthy food) for the microflora in the intestines. Another easy to use prebiotic form of fiber is EcoBloom.
Focus on Healthy Fats (and Fat-Soluble Vitamins). When you eat healthy fats as they are found in nature, you find that they are often accompanied by fat-soluble vitamins, which nourish the immune system. These vitamins—like vitamins A, D, and K2—work together to support a resilient immune system.
Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines contain especially high levels of vitamin D, a key nutrient to ward off illness.
Vitamin D works best in concert with vitamin A. This is why we recommend fermented cod liver oil, which contains both vitamins A and D. Some research suggests that vitamin K2 may act as a natural antibiotic, halting the growth of infectious microbes and protecting against infectious disease. 3 You will find vitamin K2 in fermented foods, such as natto and cheese, as well as egg yolks, butter from grass-fed cows, and goose liver.
Relax, Laugh, and Be Mindful. Relaxation and laughter feel good, and they are also good for you and your immune system. Relaxation, laughter, and mindfulness support a healthy immune response.
Research shows that compassion meditation actually helps to reduce levels of inflammatory cytokines—or messengers that activate an inflammatory response.4
Other research out of the University of Wisconsin shows that mindfulness practices like meditation can increase resistance to respiratory infection and enhance recovery time.5
This is a good time to practice mindfulness by staying fully in the present – if you have kids, they’re good examples of how best to do this!
Recommended Products In This Article:
- Miller, A. L., Sims, G. P., Brewah, Y. A., Rebelatto, M. C., Kearley, J., Benjamin, E., … & Kolbeck, R. (2012). Opposing Roles of Membrane and Soluble Forms of the Receptor for Advanced Glycation End Products in Primary Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection. Journal of Infectious Diseases, 205(8), 1311-1320.
- Faye, T., Tamburello, A., Vegarud, G. E., & Skeie, S. (2012). Survival of lactic acid bacteria from fermented milks in an in vitro digestion model exploiting sequential incubation in human gastric and duodenum juice. Journal of dairy science, 95(2), 558-566.
- Schlievert, P. M., Merriman, J. A., Salgado-Pabón, W., Mueller, E. A., Spaulding, A. R., Vu, B. G., … & Kirby, J. R. (2013). Menaquinone Analogs Inhibit Growth of Bacterial Pathogens. Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy, 57(11), 5432-5437.
- Pace, T. W., Negi, L. T., Sivilli, T. I., Issa, M. J., Cole, S. P., Adame, D. D., & Raison, C. L. (2010). Innate immune, neuroendocrine and behavioral responses to psychosocial stress do not predict subsequent compassion meditation practice time. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 35(2), 310-315.
- Barrett, B., Hayney, M. S., Muller, D., Rakel, D., Ward, A., Obasi, C. N., … & Coe, C. L. (2012). Meditation or exercise for preventing acute respiratory infection: a randomized controlled trial. The Annals of Family Medicine, 10(4), 337-346.