"Inflammation"— may seem like a buzzword—but what is it and how does it affect your body? More importantly, how can you reduce your symptoms if you’re experiencing it? We’re taking a look at different ways you can fight inflammation and help get your body back to feeling great.
What is Inflammation?
So, what exactly is inflammation? Simply put, it’s your body's natural defense mechanism. When your immune system senses threatening irritants, it jumps into action. Swollen injury? Your system is trying to heal it. Have the sniffles or a tickle in your throat? Your body may be trying to fight off something iffy. The inflammatory sensations we feel are a sign that our trusty immune system is working hard to shield the body from further harm.1
The more damage that is done to our bodies, the more inflamed it can become, turning into a chronic, uncomfortable situation. Additionally, chronic inflammation can also lead to a host of other health issues.2 So how can you soothe your system? Here are five ways to keep those inflammatory levels to a minimum.
Eat with your circadian rhythm and try a daylight nutrition strategy
Research suggests when you eat can be as important as what you eat. According to the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, circadian rhythm is the physical, mental and behavioral changes that follow a daily cycle. Sleeping at night and being awake during the day is a light-related example.3 By eating according to your biological clock, your body knows when to expect food and when it's not time to indulge yet.
Additionally, following a daylight nutrition strategy that aligns with your circadian rhythm may also reduce inflammation.4 When you allow your body to take a break from digesting food (eating over a 12-hour period and allowing your body to rejuvenate for the other 12-hours by not consuming food), it produces ghrelin, a hunger hormone that is linked to suppression of inflammation.5 Jenny Craig’s newest program, Rapid Results, leverages the Nobel Prize-winning research on circadian rhythm for expedited results.
Get yourself moving
It's no surprise: Exercise does a body good. Working up a sweat can also help decrease inflammation. The best news? You only need 20 minutes a day to reap the benefits, and it doesn't need to be an intense workout at the gym.6 Going for a brisk walk can be enough to see the anti-inflammatory benefits in the body.5
Take a Breather
Occasional stress is a part of life; the bad news is chronic stress can lead to many health issues, including chronic inflammation.7 Cortisol, a hormone responsible for regulating inflammation in the body, can't work properly when you're a stressed out. Learning how to calm yourself down in sticky situations can help stifle the flame. Meditation or "me time" are two great ways to reclaim your Zen.
One study found that the body responds to chronic sleep deprivation the same way as it does to chronic illness—the immune system steps in to protect you, which can cause inflammation.8 By giving your body the rest it needs, you may be able to combat your body’s tendencies. Another bonus? Getting enough sleep can also help minimize mindless snacking, which may include foods that don’t help your body feel its best.9
Eat a balanced diet
Eating a balanced diet is helpful to your overall health, including the fight against inflammation. Certain foods have been linked to a reduction of inflammation such as tomatoes, green leafy veggies and fruits such as strawberries and blueberries.10 Foods to avoid? Be wary of sugar-laden sodas and fried foods. Try to be cognizant of which types of foods you're eating, and opt for well-balanced meals where you can.
For more information on how Jenny Craig can help you manage inflammation for better health, contact your local neighborhood Jenny Craig center for a free appointment.
 Medical News Today, Inflammation: Causes, symptoms, and treatment, 24 November 2017, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/248423.php
 National Institute of General Medical Sciences, Circadian Rhythms, https://www.nigms.nih.gov/education/pages/Factsheet_CircadianRhythms.aspx
 Medical News Today, Just 20 minutes of exercise enough to reduce inflammation, study finds, 16 January 2017, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/315255.php
 ScienceDaily , How stress influences disease: Study reveals inflammation as the culprit, 2 April 2012, https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120402162546.htm
 Norah Simpson, MA, David F. Dinges, PhD, Sleep and Inflammation, December 2007, https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/j.1753-4887.2007.tb00371.x
Edited by Elisa - Jenny Craig