Reducing Inflammation Naturally

glowing skinAre you suffering from chronic inflammation? In previous posts I’ve talked about foods to avoid and foods to include to reduce inflammation. There are other things that you can do to reduce swelling and pain so you’re not reaching for NSAIDs or Tylenol. Taking over the counter medicine regularly can cause a variety of physical complications. Stress management, diet and exercise can help manage symptoms with little to no side effects.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids – Natural supplements help the body have a more appropriate inflammation response. Omega 3’s can help to reduce morning stiffness and joint pain.

Probiotics – Probiotics add good bacteria back into the gut which helps to reduce pain from arthritis and intestinal inflammation.

Yoga – Regularly practicing yoga can reduce inflammation by 20% and helps reduce fatigue. Yoga also manages stress which can cause flare ups for those with chronic illness.

Meditation – There are a variety of meditation practices, including ones geared towards those who fidget. (I resemble that remark). Taking the time to sit and be still reduces the stress that contributes to inflammation.

Exercise – Moderate exercises such as walking, swimming and the elliptical machine bring movement to the body and reduce stiffness. High impact and intense activities raise inflammation levels so it’s important to go easy when you’re experiencing chronic inflammation.

Relaxation – Make time to do activities you enjoy. Giving yourself time to do things you like lets you relax and melts stress.

Sleep – This varies for individuals but getting the right amount of sleep for you is crucial for managing inflammation. Sleep deprivation can result in chronic inflammation.

Hydrate – Not drinking enough water leaves the body dehydrated which leads to a variety of conditions, including inflammation. Not a fan of water? Add fruit slices, herbs or a splash of juice to make it interesting.

Making changes in your daily life can have a big impact on your health. Gradually adding new habits makes it easier to adopt them for lasting change. Let me know if you need help with that, that is exactly the way I work with my own clients. I can be reached at janinemchale@empoweredplate.com.

Staten Island Half-Marathon Finish & Recap

2015 SI half marathonI finished the Staten Island half-marathon on Sunday. It was a beautiful sunny day but a little on the warm side. I started out running with friends who were in my corral but we know that we all run our own race. Which means we part ways as needed and no one minds.

Spectator support isn’t high at this particular race and those who came out were thanked profusely. I was feeling a bit cranky at mile 5 but seeing my friends and hearing them cheer gave me the boost I needed at that moment. I also found a friend of mine and me ran/walked together for a while.

The course was altered from the previous years and included a stretch on the boardwalk. I despise the boardwalk, there are loose boards and I caught the edge of one. Luckily I didn’t trip, just cussed a bit. I found another teammate and we ran together for a bit. After the boardwalk at around mile 8.5  was the first tough hill. I laughed to myself as people were cursing it. The next hill made this look like a bump in the road.

Mile 9 was a steep hill that feels like it goes on forever. I’m used to running and/or walking up this hill during practice. Unbeknownst to me a friend of mine was behind me and focusing on me helped her up the hill. I wish I had seen her! By now it was mile 10 and I thought well, 5k left now you’ve got this. And hallelujah, finally some shade!

At 11.5 miles I started having a little hip pain. With 1.6 to go I was finishing either way and it wasn’t bad if I had to walk the rest of it. I see a little Yorkie on the course, off leash, and I cannot figure out who he’s with. I worry that he is lost but he went trotting over to someone. I keep going.

At the 13 mile mark a man thinks he is being helpful by yelling at runners who are walking to start running. He’s calling them out by shirt color and I’m getting mad. I’m running next to someone who clearly has some sort of disability and needs to run/walk. I am running but I know that if my hip hurt I’d have to walk. I yell at the man and the person I was fretting over thanks me. He said, “We’re all out here doing the best we can. I am pushing to finish.” I assured him he would and we wished each other well.

I crossed the finish line I smile as I hear the announcer call out my name. My legs ache from the hills but my hip feels surprisingly good. I grab water and wait for my friends to finish. I check my watch and this is the fastest run I’ve had since March. Whoo Hoo! While waiting I see the Yorkie and his owner and both of them are wearing medals. I can honestly say I have never seen a dog run a half marathon before.

 

10 Foods That Reduce Inflammation

berriesIn a previous post I wrote about foods that cause inflammation. In this post I’m focusing on foods that will reduce inflammation. While we need some inflammation to have the body’s immune response kick in, chronic inflammation is out of control and is linked to a variety of diseases. Incorporating these foods can naturally reduce swelling in the body.

Beets – The dark red pigment of beets is from betalains and has many antioxidant properties. Not only do beets and beet juice reduce inflammation, they protect against heart disease and cancer.

Berries – While most fruits can help reduce inflammation, berries are particularly effective. The dark colors mean they are rich in anthocyanins and have powerful antioxidants. Raspberries are effective for preventing arthritis and blueberries protect against intestinal inflammation and ulcerative colitis.

Dark Leafy Greens – Dark leafy greens are full of vitamins and minerals and disease fighting phytochemicals. Vitamin E, in particular, is believed to fight against pro-inflammatory cytokines.

Fatty Fish – Fatty fish are an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids. Salmon, mackerel and sardines that have been broiled or baked are excellent sources of omega 3s. Not a fan of fish? Try a high quality fish oi instead.

Ginger – A cousin to turmeric, ginger has been shown to reduce inflammation in the intestine. It also helps quell nausea. Ginger is a staple in Asian and Indian cuisine and can be added to a variety of dishes. It can also be enjoyed as a tea.

Nuts – Nuts are full of healthy fats and antioxidants, which can help fight and prevent inflammation. Almonds in particular are high in vitamin E and walnuts are high in omega 3s.

Olive Oil – Extra virgin olive oil is a great source of plant based mono-unsaturated fat. Olive oil has been shown to have a similar effect as NSAID painkillers in the body due to the compound oleocanthal, which gives olive oil its taste. Note that olive oil can become rancid when cooked at a high heat.

Soy – Recent studies show that whole soy does not increase breast cancer risk and that it can reduce the risks of inflammation on bones and the heart. Choose tofu, edamame, tempeh and miso but avoid heavily processed soy, such as soy protein isolate, which does not contain the same benefits.

Tart Cherry Juice – Tart cherry juice are believed to have the highest antioxidant content of any food. Tart cherry juice is used by athletes to reduce inflammation and reduce the need for NASAID pain relievers.

Turmeric – Turmeric is believed to help to turn off a NF-kappa B, a protein that regulates the immune system and triggers the process of inflammation. Add ground turmeric to rice, vegetables and curries. You can also make a tea out of it. Turmeric works best when paired with some black pepper.

Do you need help with reducing inflammation? Please email me, janinemchale@empoweredplate.com, and together we can come up with an eating plan that works for you!