May. 9. 2016
Written By:
McKel (Hill) Kooienga
McKel Hill Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Hill Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

Founder of Nutrition Stripped and the Mindful Nutrition Method™

There’s a common thread that we all experience no matter how “healthy” we are. We all have…inflammation. Inflammation happens day in and day out because it’s caused by almost every interaction we have with our environment, such as air quality, food we eat, water we drink, physical stress we cause from exercise (even though that’s a good thing!), emotional or mental stress, supplements, and certain diseases/illnesses. So now that I’ve brought us all down on the same level, here are 5 things you can start to do today to fight everyday inflammation.

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Turmeric. I feel like a broken record, but y’all know how much I L O V E turmeric and its main compound, curcumin, which is the most clinically studied compound responsible for fighting inflammation. Turmeric is an easy way to sneak in a whole food, or should I say spice, that’s truly a power player. Try it in the famous NS Turmeric Milk, Turmeric Milkshake, Turmeric Tea, Turmeric Spiced Popcorn, and in about 20 other recipes on the NS blog!

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Breathe, baby. That’s right, deep breathing and destressing is a huge fighter of daily inflammation. Even more so if that deep breathing is a form of meditation. Meditation has been shown to help decrease inflammation in the body (1) (2). Here are a couple of posts on how to create a morning routine which really helps set your day up for success with meditation and deep breathing. If the morning routine doesn’t work out for you, try these steps for better sleep, which can also be improved by deep breathing. Otherwise, I adore the Headspace app, and the resources listed on their blog for mindful living.

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Take it easy and listen in. Know when to push your physical limits with exercise and activity and know when to respect it. So often clients come to me working out 7 days a week for 3 hours a day, burning themselves out for no reason and no positive result! The right way to tackle physical activity is to workout smarter and more efficiently, not harder on yourself which causes excess inflammation. I should note here that exercise is a double-edged sword and you have to find your happy middle ground with it. Too much exercise causes inflammation and too little won’t help you fight inflammation. The sweet spot is exercising to a beneficial point where your body can fight inflammation without creating new. After exercise you’ll get an added bonus if you have a access to an infrared sauna to help decrease inflammation. I just bought one this year, a it was a splurge but by far my favorite purchase!

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Food. Obviously. The foods we eat can either contribute to inflammation or fight it. Which one do you choose? Are you making recipes from the NS Blog? If so, you’re in good hands! All my recipes fight inflammation one bite at a time (that sounded really cheesy as I’m typing it, but true). A diet rich in whole foods, phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber help keep our gut healthy and calm inflammation. These foods are especially great at fighting inflammation: turmeric, garlic, rosemary, coconut oil, kimchi and other fermented vegetables, kefir, cinnamon, and essentially any food grown from the earth! There’s a lot of variety here and if you get stuck, try any one of hundreds of free recipes here!

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Gut health. The gut is the center of our health; just look at it’s location in the body…the center! A little abstract, but hey we’ll work with that analogy. Truly the gut is responsible for regulating our immune system and can be the largest cause of inflammation within our body from food intolerances or sensitivities, high stress, illness, bacterial and yeast overgrowth, etc. Gut health is cornerstone to how healthy our overall bodies are, especially when it comes to fighting inflammation. Leaky gut is a real issue and many can be affected by it (more on this topic later). Making sure you’re eating diet full of whole foods listed above, following stress management techniques, and the other tips in this post will help ensure better gut health.

So, I want to hear from you! What step do you find the most challenging to engage in? What do you do to help your body beat inflammation? Share below, I’d love to get the conversation going with the community so we can all swap ideas and help each other out…’cause that’s what it’s all about. Right?

xx McKel