Now that you have a better idea of what not to do, here are some tips to incorporate into your daily routine that will keep inflammation at bay. Aside from proper nutrition, the following simple habits are great ways to reduce inflammation.
(1) listen to your body
(2) walking outside
(3) stay hydrated
(4) optimize sleep
First and most importantly, you need to have a good relationship with your body. Every good relationship is founded upon trust and respect. One needs to trust their natural instincts and do what feels natural. For example, when you get sick, typically your appetite is nonexistent. This is because your body is attempting to heal itself. When the body is no longer preoccupied with digesting food, it goes through a cellular healing process called autophagy. This process cleans out old, dying cells and helps produce new healthy ones. Hippocrates has a great quote about sickness. He says
“Our medicine should be our food. But to eat when you are sick is to feed your sickness. Instead of using medicine, rather, fast a day.”
The human body is an incredible gift and has its own instinctual mechanisms to ward off sickness. Additionally, one needs to respect his or her body. If drinking alcohol makes you feel or act terrible, you don’t have to drink it. I am currently 23-year-old and I do not drink. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life. As a result, I wake up each day feeling sharp and ready to tackle my goals. A great excuse to avoid drinking in social situations is to say “People I respect do not drink. So why should I?” Both my grandfather and father do not drink so this statement is not a lie. And when family enters the equation, most people will not argue with you. It will make them look shallow.
The second easy tip to apply is walking. You can either walk on a treadmill or outside. I prefer to walk outside (depending on the weather) to get vitamin D in the form of sunlight and to burn more calories due to the inconsistent terrain. Vitamin D is essential because it regulates brain health, boosts immune system, lowers risk for disease, along with many other benefits. A treadmill is great for days where you can’t get outside due to the weather. Walking is a great habit for several reasons. First, it’s great for circulation and blood flow. By getting the body moving, the body is able to digest food more efficiently and at a faster rate. It makes sense, right? Food is more likely to slowly digest when an individual is sedentary after consuming a meal or snack. Personally, I recommend going for a short 10 to 20-minute walk after every time I eat. Whether I’m at work (walking up the staircase for multiple repetitions) or done finishing my dinner, I make sure to get some form of movement to optimize digestion and accelerate fat loss simultaneously. And getting vitamin D on top of optimized digestion and weight loss? It doesn’t get better than that if you ask me. It’s a no brainer! I aim for roughly 10,000 steps per day which you can measure through an app on your phone or other device.
Along with walking, staying hydrated is essential. When first transitioning to a high-fat diet, it is important to maintain hydration. In order to do this, one must have a proper balance of water and minerals. When a person is fueled off of carbohydrates, he or she will naturally retain more water. For every gram of carb stored in the body as glycogen, there is roughly 2-3 grams of water retained. When changing to a higher-fat diet, you will lose about 3-7lbs of water weight in a few days. I think it feels fantastic to hold less water. You feel lighter on your feet. But it is important you do not get dehydrated. To maintain adequate hydration, two things need to be addressed. Water and minerals. I would recommend using a sea salt (moderately with each meal) to get your mineral intake. If you are ever feeling symptoms of the “keto flu,” adding more salt to food tends to be the quick fix. Some add salt with water to address a mineral imbalance, but I find that disgusting and unsustainable. You can easily just salt your food or drink something tasty like bone broth. When it comes to the water your drinking, I recommend spring water. I recommend spring water due to the natural minerals and because it comes from the earth. I drink when thirsty and never chug water shortly before or after a meal. From my experience, it can dilute the stomach acid and make food more difficult to digest.
Onto the next daily habit! That would be getting sufficient sleep. In my experience, one should aim for a solid 6 to 10 hours. Personally, I get away with 6 hours per night. It may be on the lower side, but its good quality sleep that keeps me energized throughout the day. Good sleep is essential for two reasons. It is super healthy for your body and your brain. During sleep, your body experiences an increase in growth hormone and testosterone which can help detoxify the liver, enhance muscle recovery, and rejuvenate the immune system. For the brain, it helps a lot with cellular repair and learning. The brain is full of the day’s information and it needs to be integrated with other things you have learned previously in your life. Without sufficient levels of sleep, you can miss out on these benefits and experience symptoms like brain fog the following morning. To improve sleep, here are 5 tips I use that help a lot. First, you need to go to bed at the same time each night and commit to it. This will set the circadian rhythm (sleep/wake cycle) of your body and will leave you more energized in the morning. The second habit to acquire is limiting exposure to blue light. Blue light is emitted from the sun, television, your smartphone or laptop, light bulbs, etc. You want to avoid these forms of light at least an hour before bed if you can. Blue light will suppress melatonin (your sleep hormone) production and will trick your body into thinking it’s daytime. One way to sort of bio hack this situation is to purchase blue light filtered glasses. They look kind of goofy, but if you have work to do and don’t want the blue light to negatively impact your sleep for the night, they’re worth looking into. The third way to optimize sleep is limiting caffeine consumption.
Personally, I used to be a big fan of coffee. I drank it daily, but I then I stopped for a week to see what would happen. I went through withdrawal symptoms for about a week. Symptoms included brain fog, headaches, and mild anxiety. After one week, I decided to push it for another month of being coffee-free. As a result, my energy levels were more consistent, and my sleep got way deeper and more restorative. I was in complete shock. I’m not saying coffee is bad, but giving a caffeine detox is worth considering if you’re a daily coffee drinker. It’s easy to convince yourself that coffee is healthy and that there is no point in quitting. But in my opinion, you don’t want to have a fixed mindset. Humans are exploratory by nature and trying new things keeps life exciting. If you do drink coffee daily, I would stick to a cup or two per day and cut yourself off by 9am to make sure your sleep does not suffer too much. My final sleep tip is to stop eating two hours before bedtime. Ideally, you would want to have the largest meal be your first meal. As the day progresses, you would want to slowly decrease the portion sizes from lunch to dinner. Eating late at night can contribute to bloating and stomach distension. Eating until satiety is the goal. Eating to the point of where one is uncomfortable is what we want to avoid. That kind of digestive disturbance can wake you up in the middle of the night and contribute towards insomnia. Not only will this improve your sleep quality, it will help accelerate weight loss and metabolism to keep your body healthy and lean. In conclusion, the quality and amount of sleep you get plays an essential role in minimizing inflammation.
The fourth tip to maximize your sleep is to exercise daily, whether it is 10 minutes or an hour. As humans, we are restless by nature. In general, we have energy that needs to be exerted. It can be used in positive forms like reading, writing, exercise, meditation, and other creative exercises. On the contrary, negative forms include cynical thinking, habitual complaining, and being a constant critic of those around you. Find ways to positively exert energy and it will absolutely improve your sleep. I prefer walking daily roughly 10,000 steps. It’s easy and great for my digestion, circulation, sleep, and other benefits.
The final daily practice to commit to is meditation. Whether it’s 5 minutes or 30 minutes, there is no excuse to avoid such a beneficial practice. To clearly define meditation (in my opinion), it is the practice and art of recycling thoughts. You have to sit still with your eyes shut and face the thoughts that come to mind. The goal should be to let your mind bounce from thought to thought. This creates a habit that benefits your everyday life. You never get “too in your own head” or bogged down by negative thoughts because you’ve made the habit to recycle your thoughts. As a result, you are more present in the moment and more decisive in your action. Personally, I like to meditate in my closet with the lights off. As strange as that sounds, I sit crisscross applesauce, put on my headphones, shut my eyes, and play sounds that simulate a waterfall. This can last anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes. I’m not perfect and I don’t meditate every single day. But I do at least 3 to 5 times per week. Under times of stress, I might meditate every day for a month. It’s that beneficial; it just comes down to commitment and being open-minded. You just need to get into the mindset where you recognize the benefits and realize that it takes almost no time in your day to commit to. It decreases stress and anxiety, increases self-awareness, and supposedly can lower blood pressure as well. Among those benefits, it can also help lower stress hormones (like cortisol) before bed. By building great habits and incorporating the right diet, you and those around you can minimize inflammation of the 21st century.