5 Anti-Inflammatory Habits to Practice in 2018 According to Research
There are a variety of factors that increase inflammation including stress and the Standard American diet, and inflammation-related disease is on the rise. As we jot down our resolutions for 2018, we should be proactive in implementing some if not all of the habits on this list in our daily lives to avoid the terrible consequences of an inflamed body and mind.
1. Keep a Gratitude Journal
Gratitude is a potent anti-inflammatory tool according to research. One way to practice a daily habit of gratitude is by keeping a gratitude journal. Some of the other health benefits of gratitude include low blood pressure, insomnia, and increased optimism. Check out my article on the health benefits of gratitude here to learn more.
2. Listen to Calming Music
In 2014, Fancourt, Ockelford, and Belai reviewed 63 scientific studies that examined the effect of music on neurotransmitters, hormones, and the immune system. The overwhelming evidence indicated that listening to music decreases stress, lowers cortisol, and lowers heart rate and blood pressure. Music actually had a greater impact than relaxation techniques and anti-anxiety medication in these instances. Four of the studies in the review specifically found that music decreased levels of cytokine IL-6, a pro-inflammatory cytokine used as a widespread marker for inflammation.
3. Exercise a Minimum of Twice Per Week
We have all known that exercise is good for us, and you’ve probably heard that it is anti-inflammatory. However, according to new guidelines from the American Academy of Neurology, individuals may only need to exercise twice a week to reap the anti-inflammatory benefits which includes improved cognition.
4. Spice Up Your Diet
Spices are some of the most potent anti-inflammatory foods known to mankind. Researchers examined the anti-inflammatory benefits of spices in a study that lasted the course of a week. Participants were given a small amount of a specific spice each day. Blood tests showed the incredible results of these 4 spices and their ability to stifle the immune response by increasing antioxidant capacity: Cloves, Ginger, Tumeric, and Rosemary. There are many other anti-inflammatory spices including Cinnamon, Marjoram, Sage, Thyme, and Oregano.
5. Take Your Shoes Off
We very rarely, if ever, shuck our shoes to walk barefoot like our ancestors did freely without a second thought. However, science is revealing why it is beneficial to your health to walk barefoot in nature every once and a while. When your bare feet hit the soil, your soles absorb large amounts of negative ions from the earth. These free electrons act as antioxidants, and thus they prevent and reduce chronic inflammation. The human body is an electrically wired system, and this phenomenon known as “grounding” harnesses the earth’s electron-rich, magnetic field.
We can train our brains to create habits by challenging them to reproduce a behavior many times. These anti-inflammatory habits are simple, and you may already do several of them in your daily life. We will become healthier the more we safeguard our bodies against the devastating effects of inflammation. This takes a mindful approach, but the next time you’re seasoning a dish or hitting the treadmill, I hope you remember to amp it up a notch for your own benefit. We must take whatever steps possible to put out the fires of inflammation.