Uncontrolled inflammation in the body is ultimately what leads to painful swollen skin and joints. From acne to arthritis – uncontrolled inflammation is a common denominator. I often find that the women I support are surprised at just how quickly their symptoms start to improve after implementing a few simple strategies to reduce inflammation.
Because I am here to support you on your path to a pain-free life, I want to share a few strategies with you, too.
Here are 5 simple ways to start reducing inflammation in your body today:
1) Start your day with a mug of warm lemon water + a pinch of sea salt.
This simple habit is one of the kindest routines you can implement for your body. The lemon water helps your body to gently detoxify at the start of each day by supporting your liver and relaxing your gut. Supporting your body’s ability to release toxins is key to reducing inflammation. Additionally, the lemon + sea salt combo improves hydration. Minerals from salt are required for you body to take in (absorb) the water you drink. Improved hydration further supports detoxification, but also improves the integrity and flexibility of your skin and joints.
How to include this: First thing upon waking, fill your favorite mug with hot water, a pinch of sea salt and squeeze in the juice of ½ lemon. You don’t want boiling water, as this will negatively impact the lemon’s valuable enzymes and vitamins. Drink it as you are getting ready for the day, about 15-30 minutes before breakfast for maximum benefit.
2) Make sure you are eating plenty of healthy fats.
Fats so often get a bad rap. But healthy fats play a variety of critical roles in our body. From managing inflammation and supporting our hormones to keeping us feeling full and satisfied, consuming the right kinds of fats is not only key for healthy skin and joints, but for overall wellness. You can find healthy fats in foods like organic egg yolks, soaked nuts and seeds, and fatty fish like salmon and sardines.
Cooking oils are one of the most common sources of food-related inflammation. I can always tell when I’ve been given a food cooked in inflammatory fats (at a restaurant or a friend’s house, for example) because a little patch of eczema flares up on my right hand.
Here is a list of some of the most common inflammatory cooking oils (note: toss these out of your kitchen immediately!): canola oil, vegetable oil, peanut oil, soybean oil, corn oil, vegetable shortening.
Here is a list of healthy stable fats that reduce inflammation: grass-fed butter, ghee, coconut oil, lard, chicken or duck fat, tallow, olive oil, avocado oil. Use these liberally for cooking and enjoy the flavorful benefits.
3) Bump up your non-starchy veggie intake.
Packed with a huge array of enzymes, minerals, vitamins, and fiber, these powerhouses provide many of the vitamins and minerals our bodies need to heal themselves. Rather than limiting vegetables to a salad or side dish, try using them for the base of your meals, aiming for veggies to fill at least half of your plate, or at least 1-2 cups per meal.
Tip: cooking veggies in the healthy fats we talked about earlier will not only make the vegetables more enjoyable, but it will also help your body absorb the key nutrients they contain. Try lightly sautéing your non-starchy vegetables in butter or coconut oil and adding a sprinkle of some high-quality sea salt. If you like things a with a little kick, pop some red pepper flakes in there too!
My favorite top 3 non-starchy vegetables (with a little butter and spice): okra, spinach, and collard greens. YUM!
4) Drink more water in general + a pinch of sea salt.
Proper hydration reduces inflammation, reduces joint pain, and prevents dry skin. Even mild dehydration causes symptoms. A good rule of thumb is to drink at least 0.5 ounce of water for every pound of body weight. So, a 200 lb. person should ideally be taking in at least 100 oz of water daily. If you drink coffee, tea, anything caffeinated, or are on certain blood pressure medications, you likely need more water to stay hydrated.
I have seen this seemingly small step make a big impact for women with joint pain and arthritis. And, that makes perfect sense, because the cartilage cushioning our joints is about 75% water!
Don’t forget that pinch of sea salt to support your body in absorbing the water you take in.
5) Eat more whole food, and less food-like products.
Whole foods are simple and found in nature: meat, fish, poultry, vegetables, fruit, grains, nuts and seeds. Food-like products are processed, usually produced in a factory, and pre-packaged. These processed food products are full of preservatives, sugars, food coloring, and a variety of other chemicals that promote inflammation in the body. Try doing most of your grocery shopping from the perimeter of the store and avoid the center aisles because this is where most processed foods are stored.
This can be a challenging transition. So, give yourself some grace, and focus on the abundance of new foods you will get to try, as opposed to focusing on what you are leaving behind.
Give these strategies a try, and I can promise that in just a couple of weeks you will start to see some improvement!
Which of these 5 steps do you think will be the easiest to start today? Let me know in the comments.