Tamping down inflammation is a must for people with chronic inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. But you can be exposed to damaging inflammation without having a specific medical condition.
Inflammation prevents the body from adequately reacting to stressors and puts the aging process on an unwanted fast track, increasing the likelihood of problems like heart disease.
The negative effects of inflammation can be so significant that leading researchers from the University of Bologna in Italy coined the phrase “inflamm-aging.”
Making anti-inflammation lifestyle choices is good for everyone. Here’s how to avoid inflamm-aging:
- Eat a heart-healthy diet focusing on foods like fatty fish, fruits and vegetables. Keep in mind that sugar is highly inflammatory.
- Get active with moderate cardio exercise. Remember: Good health guidelines call for 30 minutes a day on at least five days per week.
- Lose excess weight, especially if you’re carrying those pounds around your middle.
- Avoid exposure to all forms of secondhand smoke, and of course, if you smoke, quit.
- Limit alcohol to one drink per day if you’re a woman, two if you’re a man.
- Clock seven to eight hours of sleep every night. Some people need more, others need less, but this is the sweet spot between not enough and too much.
- Manage stress. Stress is often unavoidable, but you can minimize its effects with techniques like deep breathing and meditation.
- Stay social with strong connections to friends and family.
Also, talk to your doctor about ways to boost heart health and any other steps appropriate to your needs to counter inflammation.