It’s officially spring here in my neck of the woods, which means it’s time to pull out our non-toxic cleaning supplies and get busy clean and organizing our homes after many months of indoor living. But cleaning the house isn’t all we should focus on! Spring cleaning our bodies is just as important to reduce inflammation, prevent (or reverse) chronic disease, and detoxify from the thousands of environmental toxins we’re exposed to daily through our food, water, air, soil, and personal care products. Yes, thousands!!
Keep reading to learn how to reduce inflammation in the body and spring-clean your health!
Spring Clean Your Diet to Reduce Inflammation
If you read my blog post on seasonal allergies and inflammation, you know that eating an inflammatory diet is just one of the things that promotes inflammation in the body and increases your toxic load!
Some examples of inflammatory foods include fried foods (think French fries and fried chicken), refined carbs (like white bread and cake), sugary beverages (such as soda and sweetened juices), red and processed meats (e.g. hot dogs and steak), and margarine.
When you eat inflammatory foods like these, your body recognizes them as foreign invaders — activating the immune system and triggering inflammation as a way of protecting you from harm (just as your immune system does when you’re exposed to other potential threats like environmental toxins and seasonal allergens). This is because acute inflammation (the “good” type) is meant to heal and repair your body after illness, injury, or exposure to potential threats.
Sometimes, however, this inflammation builds up in the body and doesn’t go away — especially when you’re eating lots of pro-inflammatory foods. This is chronic inflammation, the “harmful” type of inflammation that can lead to not only allergies and other allergic conditions, but also diabetes, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s, cancer, obesity, and respiratory diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Chronic inflammation is dangerous, but the good news is you can reverse it!
How to Reduce Inflammation with Anti-Inflammatory Foods
To lower inflammation and reduce your risk of developing chronic health conditions over time, spring cleaning your diet is an excellent first step! This doesn’t mean you have to eliminate pro-inflammatory foods and beverages from your diet for good, but you’ll feel so good you’ll want to. The upcoming session of my Nourish 21 program is a fabulous way to explore 21 days of clean eating!
Some of the best anti-inflammatory foods that help to prevent and reverse chronic inflammation include the following:
- Herbs and spices like ginger, turmeric, cayenne pepper, oregano, marjoram, and green tea
- Phytate-rich foods such as beans, whole grains, nuts, and seeds (soaked, sprouted, fermented, and boiled phytates are best to increase absorption)
- High-antioxidant plant foods like berries, tart cherries, lemons and limes, oranges, green veggies and leafy greens, tomatoes, olive oil, and dark chocolate
- High-polyphenol foods such as red grapes, plums, dark leafy greens, turmeric, onions, and cherries
- Foods containing avenanthramides (whole-grain oats)
- Mushrooms such as white button, shitake, and other medicinal mushrooms
- Omega-3 acids like fatty fish; walnuts; flax, chia, and pumpkin seeds; soybeans; and algae oil (learn more about omega-3s here)
- Gut-friendly foods containing probiotics and prebiotics
To sum it up, it’s best to eat the rainbow! Fill each plate with clean, colorful, nutrient-rich, and minimally processed foods — and limit highly processed foods and snacks that contain added sugars, sodium, chemicals, and preservatives.
Natural Detox Remedies to Reduce Inflammation
Along with spring cleaning your diet to prevent or reduce inflammation, there are some other things you can do to detox your body naturally and reduce your toxic load.
Here are a few detoxification strategies to spring-clean your body from the inside out:
- Stimulate your lymphatic system (e.g dry brushing, rebounding, Epsom salt baths, castor oil packing, gentle exercise, and lymphatic drainage massage).
- Sip on warming soups and stews.
- Drink lots of plain filtered water, warm water with lemon, and herbal teas.
- Support your stress hormones.
- Filter your household air and water.
- Give your gut some time to rest between meals.
- Clean up your personal care products (the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep® Database is an amazing resource!).
- Eat organic foods when possible.
- Consume a variety of detoxifying foods (e.g. beets, cruciferous veggies, garlic, and cilantro).
To learn more about how to reduce inflammation and spring-clean your unique body, be sure to join the waitlist for the spring session of my Nourish 21 program! This program is the perfect way to explore 21 days of clean eating without dieting, calorie counting, or eliminating entire food groups. Your unique body deserves a personalized approach to nutrition, and that’s what Nourish 21 is all about!