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How to reduce inflammation in the body

When it comes to factors that impact your health, few issues lead the way as strongly as inflammation. Found in a range of chronic diseases, chronic inflammation can increase the risk of chronic type 2 diabetes, heart disease and many other illnesses. It's also a part of aging, which is why one of the reasons why the Arthritis Foundation recommends treatments and lifestyles that focus on reducing inflammation in the body. But how can you make this happen? Whether you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, have blood sugar issues or are concerned about your immune system, these strategies will help you reduce inflammation in your body and improve your health overall.

How To Reduce Inflammation in the Body

Eliminate Inflammatory Foods and Drinks

There is a wide range of foods and drinks that can increase your body's immune response, so by avoiding these items, you're able to reduce inflammation and enjoy overall better health. These can include alcohol, sugar and a wide range of inflammatory foods, including red meat, high in omega-6 fatty acids, dairy, processed foods that contain trans fats, fried foods, animal-based shortenings, highly-refined carbohydrates such as white bread and pasta, as well as similar foods to which your body does not respond well. In some people, nightshades such as tomatoes can be inflammatory, while in others, they can be anti-inflammatory, so you'll need to pay attention to how you feel after consuming these vegetables.

But when you're removing or reducing certain foods in your diet, what kind of food should you increase or add to an anti inflammatory diet? Fruits and vegetables, fatty fish, leafy greens, olive oil, green tea and foods high in omega-3 fatty acids do a great job of reducing inflammation, as does following a Mediterranean diet in a more general sense. These anti inflammatory foods contain a range of compounds that soothes the body's cells and tissues, lowering exiting inflammation and improving overall health. Specifically, they act against free radicals in the body, which increase inflammation.

Wim Hof Ice Baths

As part of an overall approach to internal biofeedback control, Wim Hof has developed a range of approaches and techniques to improve your health and athletic performance. As a portion of this overall process, the ice bath regimen provides several different benefits. This includes the cold reducing inflammation directly at injury sites. The cold water causes the vessels that carry blood and lymph throughout the body to constrict, then once the body warms back up, the fluids move more quickly through the body, flushing out a lot of the toxins and metabolic waste products to detox the body.

Inflammation in and near the lymph nodes is often caused by a buildup of these toxins and waste products, so being able to flush them out helps reduce inflammation at the source. At the same time, this approach also improves circulation, so that your muscles and tissues are getting higher levels of oxygen. This allows you to boost overall athletic performance and get the most out of your training process.


Medicinal Mushrooms

The anti-inflammatory effects of medicinal mushrooms have a range of benefits that can improve your health and reduce inflammation. There are a range of medicinal mushrooms that have had positive effects on health, including its anti inflammatory properties, so selecting the right one is a personal choice and can include consideration of secondary effects that can be beneficial, such as anti-cancer, immune-modulating, cardioprotective, neuroprotective and similar issues. Here's a look at some of the most popular medicinal mushrooms that have solid anti inflammatory effects on your body: 

  • Cordyceps mushrooms have cordycepin, which stimulates production of interleukin-10, an anti-inflammatory. It also acts as an immune-modulating compound and significantly reduces oxidative damage, which reduces systemic inflammation.

  • Reishi mushrooms contain triterpene, which suppresses several inflammation markers, such as internleukin-6, prostaglandin, COX-2, tumor necrosis factor alpha, nitric oxide and NF-kappaB. It also improves immune response while acting as an anti-viral and anti-biotic compound, reducing inflammation from disease.

  • Poria mushrooms also have triterpene, and studies have shown improvements in inflammation levels in mice. However, research into this medicinal mushroom is still in its infancy.

  • Lion's Mane mushrooms are effective as a neuroprotective and neurotrophic treatment, effective in inflammatory diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, providing a solid remedy to slow the progression of these diseases.

  • Chaga mushrooms indirectly impact inflammation by reducing oxidative damage, which can be a source of inflammation, with the greatest effect from the fruiting body. It's especially effective on inflammatory diseases of the digestive tract, such as colitis. 

  • Oyster mushrooms can lower inflammation by increasing your antioxidant levels using chrysin, which inhibits NF-κB and AP-1 signaling

  • Maitake mushrooms have anti-hyptertensive effects, reducing high blood pressure caused by chronic inflammation in artery linings. Maitake D-fraction is a compound found to modulate the immune system to ensure proper operation of the system, lowering autoimmune attacks against your body.

Related: Medicinal mushrooms in the 21st century (in-depth exclusive)

Regular Exercise

Some forms of exercise can actually reduce inflammation as well. Yoga, when practiced regularly, can reduce the body's levels of interleukin-6, which is a marker of inflammation in the body, with a 2010 study showing reduction of levels by 41% in a group of 50 women. However, other studies have also shown that simply exercising regularly, no matter what type of exercise, can also lead to reduced inflammation and superior health.

Conversely, a sedentary lifestyle has been linked to increased inflammation. That's one of the reasons why exercise can be used to fight heart disease, diabetes, cancer and other diseases linked to inflammation. It's recommended that you carve out time four to five times weekly for 30-45 minutes of cardio or aerobic exercise as well as 10-25 minutes of resistance or weight training to reduce inflammation and maintain a superior physical condition. This works well by flushing the lymphatic system and removing toxins that can otherwise build up in the body and cause inflammation.


Managing Stress Levels

Having higher stress levels make it harder to keep inflammation under control. Stress causes a chain of physiological reactions that increase inflammation, but because it's a part of daily life, it's pretty common to overlook this source of inflammation. Numerous studies have shown that chronic stress can be a source of chronic inflammation and related disorders. This is because stress causes the release of cortisol, a stress hormone that causes serious problems in your body. 

To relieve this stress, a range of techniques can be used to help focus on your stress levels and be able to manage those levels. Guided imagery, meditation, biofeedback, yoga and similar exercises that involve the brain allow you to recognize the issues that are causing your stress and anxiety, so that you can find out what you need to do to work through the issues that are causing your concern.

By understanding the issues that are causing inflammation in your body and taking steps to deal with them, you can lower your inflammation, reduce your risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and a range of other conditions. Take the time to try different approaches, then integrate the ones that work well for your lifestyle, situation and health concerns into your daily life. 


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