• Julie McClure

5 Tips to lower inflammation and improve aging

Updated: Jun 30

According to the Cleveland Clinic, inflammation occurs when the body encounters an offending agent (like a virus, bacteria or toxic chemicals) or suffers an injury, it activates your immune system. Your immune system responds by sending out immune cells; inflammatory cells and cytokines that stimulate more inflammation.


Inflammation is actually positive, when controlled. The body needs inflammation in order to trap invaders and initiate an immune response. Without inflammation, the body would not be able to flush out the tissue and start healing. The problem with inflammation is when it lasts (or is chronic).




Without inflammation, the body would not be able to flush out the tissue and start healing. The problem with inflammation is when it lasts (or is chronic).





This article will cover:

  1. What is inflammation?

  2. How can I test for it?

  3. IgG food sensitivity testing

  4. Foods and superfoods for lowering inflammation

  5. 5 tips to lower cortisol and improve inflammation


What is inflammation?


Acute vs. chronic inflammation


Refers to the time period in which inflammation has occurred. If you fall and sprain your wrist, the area becomes inflamed. This is called acute inflammation. Because it is inflamed for a short period of time.


However, if you had arthritis in your wrist then the inflammation is likely intermittent and occurs over a longer period of time. This is what we call chronic inflammation.



How can you test for inflammation?


Inflammation is one of those tricky parameters. It often doesn’t show up on bloodwork until there the problem is pretty bad. But there are some methods you can use such as IgG food testing that can help you detect levels of inflammation earlier. So let’s dive into these methods


Bloodwork:


Conventional methods will run two main parameters


  1. CBC + Differential - in other words this will tell me whether your immune system is over activated and whether we have an allergy we needs to worry about

  2. CRP & ESR are non specific inflammatory markers that can tell me the levels of inflammation in the body



IgG Testing (Food Sensitivity testing)


Is offered through medical practitioners (Naturopathic doctors) and offers a deeper look at foods and how your body individually responds to them. The testing is performed by monitoring IgG (immune response) mediated to specific foods. The larger your IgG levels to a specific food the more likely it is to be a trigger food.


The larger your IgG levels to a specific food the more likely it is to be a trigger food.

The concept behind IgG testing is to verify which foods work in your body and which foods do not. While eliminating foods for a long period of time is undesirable, it is also an effective practice in lowering inflammation and stabilizing other parameters.



Foods for lowering inflammation


One of the best aspects of natural foods is their healing properties! Here are my list of foods that lower inflammation:


  1. Turmeric

  2. Berries

  3. Salmon

  4. Moringa

  5. Olive Oil


Turmeric:


Curcumin found in turmeric is the medicinal active ingredient. This is what differentiates between dietary turmeric and supplement form. Supplements are highly concentrated in curcumin an allow for greater therapeutic effects.


In one study, people with metabolic syndrome consumed 1 gram of curcumin daily combined with piperine from black pepper. They experienced a significant decrease in the inflammatory marker CRP (2,6)




They experienced a significant decrease in the inflammatory marker CRP (2,6)






Berries:


Are high in antioxidants (anthocyanins) which are known to have anti-inflammatory properties. A study conducted recently found that strawberries produced lower level of inflammatory markers in patients with heart disease.



Salmon:


Fish/Salmon is great for EPA/DHAs. The craze for fish oil was built on the premise that EPA/DHAs are powerful anti-inflammatory compounds. Studies have found that people consuming salmon or EPA & DHA supplements experienced reductions in the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein (CRP) (1, 3)



"Studies have found that people consuming salmon or EPA and DHA supplements experienced reductions in the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein (CRP) (1, 3)"





Olive Oil:


The Mediterranean diet is highlighted over and over when it comes to improving inflammation and overall health. A major food in the Medi diet is olive oil. Olive oil (virgin) has a powerful constituent called oleocanthal which is said to have similar anti-inflammatory properties to ibuprofen. (4)


Olive oil (virgin) has a powerful constituent called oleocanthal which is said to have similar anti-inflammatory properties to ibuprofen (4)


Moringa:


A superfood to remember! Moringa is popular for its antioxidant properties and anti-inflammatory effect. A study found that concentrated extract of moringa can produce significant anti-inflammatory effects in irritable bowel disease such as colitis and crohn’s. Which makes it another powerful anti-inflammatory to add to the list! (5)



Foods that cause inflammation will be different for everyone however there are some standards that are across the board. These include; fried foods, sodas, refined carbs, lards and processed meats. If you're someone who wants to reduce their levels of inflammation or just overall improve your quality of life, removing these inflammatory foods is a great start.


Before you leave, here are 5 tips that can help you reduce cortisol levels (pro-inflammatory) and improve overall body inflammation. Here’s to natural anti-inflammatories!



5 tips

to lower cortisol and improve inflammation


Tip 1: Have a calming tea before bed


If you are someone whose brain is constantly on. You need to implement a routine that can help lower cortisol levels and induce sleep. A night time tea routine is the best way to shut down the nervous system and indicate it’s time for bed.


Some of my favourite herbal teas:

  • Chamomile tea (Traditional Medicinals)

  • Passion flower tea (Traditional Medicinals)

  • Lavender tea




Tip 2: Create a 10-15min mid-day routine



For 10-15 minutes a day make a conscious effort to “turn off.” This could include doing breathing exercises, taking a quick walk to the local coffee shop, anything that doesn’t involve activity or screen time.


This time will be used as a reset. It allows the body to begin the process of reducing and regulating stress hormones. This may not seem like a lot of time, but most of us don’t have an hour to sit there and do nothing…so 10-15mins it is!







Tip 3: Digital blackout period





This already sounds annoying I know, but turning off electronics 1 hour (minimum) before bed is a great way to set your circadian rhythm. It allows the body to start producing melatonin and indicates it is time to sleep. Cortisol is the main hormone for sleep initiation and sleep wake up. If you are struggling to fall asleep or wake up with energy, your cortisol levels need help.






Tip 4: Low inflammatory foods



Diet and cortisol do go hand in hand. If you have a poor diet the levels of inflammation in your body will go up. The more inflammation in your body, the more stress and cortisol you will have.


Start off by reducing trigger foods. These foods can decrease your energy levels, or make you feel “off”. Often trigger foods are a main source of stress & inflammation and once removed can help you stabilize your energy & vitality. Helping you feel healthier and of course live longer.




Tip 5: Connect Spiritually


Finding meaning is very important to leading and living a fulfilled life. We are less likely to stress about the small things when there is a sense of purpose and meaning. Having spiritual practice is one of the best ways to reduce day to day high cortisol.

It is almost impossible to find a public figure that doesn’t have spiritual practice. Individuals like Tony Robbins, Oprah, Depak Chopra, Ellen Degeneres are just some of the big names that preach these ideologies. Regardless of what your goals and ambitions are, having a solid spiritual practice can give you the foundation you need to get there.




Outside of this, you can find me on my mat or on the trails – I’m a Vinyasa yoga teacher (600 hours of teacher training) and a hiking enthusiast. Naturally, health is my highest priority, Clean + Clear Living and hormone balancing is my jam, and I make a powerful superfood smoothie that you’ll honestly crave (recipe here). I’m a true champion for women entrepreneurs, particularly in the entrepreneurial and FemTech spaces, and sit on the Board of UCLA Anderson Price Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation.


I’m so grateful you’ve landed here and I’m excited to go on this journey together.


Feel free to get in touch or follow along on social.


 

References:

  1. Foroughinia F, Movahed Nouri B, Kojuri J, Ostovan MA. Impact of Omega-3 Supplementation on High Sensitive C-Reactive Protein Level and 30-Day Major Adverse Cardiac Events After the Implementation of Coronary Stent in Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease: A Randomized Clinical Study. Adv Pharm Bull. 2018 Aug;8(3):471-478. doi: 10.15171/apb.2018.055. Epub 2018 Aug 29. PMID: 30276144; PMCID: PMC6156476

  2. Hewlings SJ, Kalman DS. Curcumin: A Review of Its Effects on Human Health. Foods. 2017 Oct 22;6(10):92. doi: 10.3390/foods6100092. PMID: 29065496; PMCID: PMC5664031.

  3. Lankinen M, Uusitupa M, Schwab U. Nordic Diet and Inflammation-A Review of Observational and Intervention Studies. Nutrients. 2019 Jun 18;11(6):1369. doi: 10.3390/nu11061369. PMID: 31216678; PMCID: PMC6627927.

  4. Lucas L, Russell A, Keast R. Molecular mechanisms of inflammation. Anti-inflammatory benefits of virgin olive oil and the phenolic compound oleocanthal. Curr Pharm Des. 2011;17(8):754-68. doi: 10.2174/138161211795428911. PMID: 21443487.

  5. Minaiyan M, Asghari G, Taheri D, Saeidi M, Nasr-Esfahani S. Anti-inflammatory effect of Moringa oleifera Lam. seeds on acetic acid-induced acute colitis in rats. Avicenna J Phytomed. 2014;4(2):127-136.

  6. Panahi Y, Hosseini MS, Khalili N, Naimi E, Majeed M, Sahebkar A. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of curcuminoid-piperine combination in subjects with metabolic syndrome: A randomized controlled trial and an updated meta-analysis. Clin Nutr. 2015 Dec;34(6):1101-8. doi:10.1016/j.clnu.2014.12.019. Epub 2015 Jan 7. PMID: 25618800.



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