Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD
Lower inflammation today with self care from day to night
There has been talk of reducing inflammation all over the health and wellness world over the past few years. But usually, the conversation goes straight to eating more antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables to help lower inflammation in the body. Although this is certainly one way to do it, there are plenty of other ways you can lower such stress in the body by engaging in simple self-care routines each day. Read below to learn more about ways you can lower inflammation today by just making a few changes to your daily routine from morning to night.
Fast facts on inflammation
Although inflammation is seen in a negative light as the precursor for chronic disease, it is in fact a vital part of the body's immune system. The process of inflammation helps defend the body against pathogens like viruses and infection. This type of inflammation is known as acute inflammation that occurs during sudden infection, illness, and injury.
It is when inflammation is on for a long period of time, more than two weeks, that chronic inflammation occurs and can cause serious cell damage and increase the risk for chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes, to name a few. Chronic inflammation can occur as a result of prolonged infection, an autoimmune disorder, or with recurrent episodes of acute inflammation, like with rheumatoid arthritis, for example.
Can lifestyle behaviors impact inflammation?
Research shows that smoking, being inactive, having an unhealthy diet, and not getting enough sleep can lead to inflammation over time. Therefore, by making changes in such behaviors, you can reduce the risk of cell damage and chronic disease.
Other lifestyle behaviors that may impact inflammation include oral hygiene, pain, and mental stress. Keep reading to learn how these latter behaviors impact inflammation and how you can use self-care products and methods to reduce their impact.
Oral hygiene and inflammation
Besides having fresh breath and sparkly teeth, dental and oral hygiene is a vital piece in reducing inflammation in the body. In fact, gum diseases such as gingivitis can actually increase your risk for heart disease if left untreated. Therefore, it's crucial to ensure that you care for your mouth and tooth health just as much as you would exercise and eat healthy foods each day.
A new product that can help your mouth stay healthy is Mouth Watchers toothbrushes which have naturally antimicrobial flossing bristles infused with silver to help naturally eliminate 99% of bacteria, fungi, and viruses on your brush. And the bristles are aligned to help break up more plaque and reach where most brushes miss. You should still floss every day during your brushing routine, but this brush can help maximize the way your brushing wipes away bacteria from your gums, in turn, helping to reduce the risk of inflammation in your gums and mouth.
Pain management and inflammation
CBD can work as a safe, natural alternative to opioids to help manage pain. You can consume CBD as a tincture under your tongue, in the form of a gummy, or in a capsule form, to name a few. For isolated muscle and joint pain, topical CBD products like salves and creams can help manage pain, even in those with conditions like arthritis.
Some products that may help you include Aspen Green Pain Relief Body Balm and Muscle Relief Cooling Cream that you can apply directly to aching muscles and joints for relief. Both products contain 1000 mg of CBD in a 2-ounce jar and use hemp grown in Colorado which is phytonutrient-rich and is grown and harvested using the strictest safety and purity standards. The body balm has an earthy scent, while the cooling cream contains a refreshing scent of tea tree oil which adds aromatherapy components to the product. It's important to note that this product does contain full-spectrum CBD, so it does contain a trace of THC which may or may not show up in drug testing.
Another great CBD topical product is Modern Love's THC-free CBD healing salve which contains an exquisite scent of lavender and eucalyptus. These essential oils add an anti-inflammatory component to this phytonutrient-rich hemp topical. Use this healing salve for sunburned skin, after shaving, post-workout muscle pain relief, and for cracked and damaged skin. Each jar contains 750 mg of CBD per 1.6 ounces.
And for more systemic pain management, CBD tinctures or capsules like that from elixnol. This CBD capsule contains ginger, which can also help those with gut health issues that may cause symptoms like nausea and indigestion. This brand also has an Absorption-ready CBD liposome that you can place under your tongue or stir into water.
The capsules from this brand are made from CO2 extraction which creates a potent and pure CBD product. Each capsule contains 15 mg full-spectrum CBD and is vegan-friendly, gluten-free, and U.S. Hemp authority certified for safety. The liposome product contains 1 mg of CBD per pump, which allows for controlled dosing for those that may have little experience with CBD, and offers a citrus flavor of lemon and orange extracts which provides a refreshing taste to the palate.
Sleep and inflammation
An underrated cause of inflammation in sleep issues. The average adult should sleep at least seven hours each day up to nine hours for optimal health. Research shows that sleep deprivation can increase levels of inflammation in the body and over time can lead to chronic conditions such as behavioral and cognitive impairments over time as well as reduced immune health, high blood pressure, depression, and weight gain.
If you find you can't sleep, there are various methods you can try such as:
lavender essential oil diffusion
blackout curtains in your bedroom
reducing screen time about an hour before bedtime
developing a bedtime routine
avoiding eating or drinking at least two hours before bedtime
meditating or performing relaxation breathing before bedtime
If none of these methods work, then it may help to visit a sleep doctor to make sure you don't have any health issues such as sleep apnea that could be impacting your sleep.
Another way to help your sleep is to take a calming supplement like ashwaghanda. Ashwaghandha is an herb well-known for its use to help induce relaxation and enhance well-being. It works by applying a moderating effect on the hypothalmic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis that works to manage the stress hormone cortisol.
One way to take ashwagandha is through products like Grummies, which are fruit-flavored ashwagandha gummies. These gummies have a bit of an earthy and fruity taste made from organic sweeteners, which is easy to ingest. Just two of these organic and vegan-certified gummies once or twice a day can help you stay calm and prepare yourself for a good night's rest. It's important to note that those who are pregnant should absolutely not take ashwagandha since it can harm the unborn child. Also, be sure to talk to your doctor before taking ashwagandha to make sure it will not interact with any prescribed medicines.
Bottom line on inflammation and lifestyle behaviors
Inflammation is a natural process that helps your body defend against harmful toxins and compounds. However, just like many things in life, too much inflammation is harmful to the body and mind. Therefore, through daily lifestyle behaviors like your eating routine, exercise, sleep, as well as stress and pain management, you can reduce the inflammation your body encounters each day. Check out the Lighttrack Nutrition blog every few weeks for more articles on ways you can lighten your life and mind for optimal health.
"Poor Oral Health and Inflammatory, Hemostatic, and Cardiac Biomarkers in Older Age: Results from Two Studies in the UK and USA."
"Towards an Effective and Safe Treatment of Inflammatory Pain: A Delphi-Guided Expert Consensus."
"Health Behavior Combinations and Their Association With Inflammation."
"Lavender ( Lavandula angustifolia Mill.) Essential Oil Alleviates Neuropathic Pain in Mice With Spared Nerve Injury."
"An investigation into the stress-relieving and pharmacological actions of an ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) extract: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study."