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July 31, 2019

Six Things You Can Do to Reduce Inflammation

(and feel better too!)

Sophia L. Thomas DNP, FNP-BC, PPCNP-BC, FNAP, FAANP

Inflammation is the body’s natural first defense to an outside threat. Infections, injuries and toxins trip a signal to increase blood flow and send immune cells to danger, but the response is intended to be temporary. Sometimes the body gets stuck in fight-response and the immune system goes haywire. This type of chronic inflammation is associated with nearly every major disease, including cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and even depression.

The good news is lifestyle changes can reduce chronic inflammation. Here’s how:

  1. Exercise. The most active people have the least amount of inflammation.
  2. Reduce stress. Prolonged release of the stress hormone cortisol suppresses the immune system.
  3. Eat an anti-inflammatory diet. Fruits, veggies and Omega 3 fatty acids found in fish and nuts reduce inflammation.
  4. Quit smoking. Nicotine activates white blood cells that trigger a chronic inflammatory response.
  5. Limit alcohol. The inflammatory marker CRP increases in people who consume alcohol.
  6. Sleep. Inflammatory markers jump 6 percent for every hour of sleep lost below 7 hours.

Inflammation is a good thing, but too much of it can cause all sorts of problems. If you suspect inflammation is behind your health problems, talk to your nurse practitioner or another provider. Lifestyle changes are important, but sometimes medicine will also help. The bottom line is, don’t let inflammation sabotage your body!