"health, health and wellness, chronic inflamamation,"Did you know that chronic inflammation is at the root cause of all chronic diseases?

Medical researchers have found that heart disease, diabetes, cancer, obesity, arthritis, depression, asthma, and allergies have all been linked to elevated levels of inflammatory markers in the body.

But there is good news: Simple natural measures can decrease inflammation in the body, reducing your risk for chronic disease down the road and helping you feel your best today.

“Chronic inflammation perpetuated by poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, and unrelenting stress may be the single greatest threat to patient health,” says Dr. Aimée Shunney, naturopathic physician and dynamic health educator. “Fortunately, these issues can actually be fixed!”

Shunney reveals her five most effective recommendations for decreasing inflammation and moving toward optimal health:

1. Eat a whole foods, anti-inflammatory diet:  What we put in our mouths is the foundation of our health. When it comes to inflammation, an anti-inflammatory diet is essential. This includes removing foods, like refined grains and sugar, and including foods, like vegetables, legumes and fish, and anti-inflammatory spices like garlic and ginger. It also includes identifying and eliminating food allergies and food sensitivities, best done with an elimination and challenge diet.

2. Increase your activity level:  Having extra weight on us increases inflammatory markers in the body AND exercise releases anti-inflammatory chemicals into the body, making regular activity a win-win in the inflammation game.

3. Get adequate sleep:  Sleep is the time when the body recovers from the day’s stressors. People who report more sleep have better health overall. Some of our best sleep happens before midnight, so getting to bed by 10-or 11pm is a great step toward optimal health. Adequate sleep also allows the body to handle stress better, which decreases inflammatory markers in the body.

4. Include activities that calm down your stress response: We do so much in our daily lives that keeps us in constant motion. Taking the time to slow down helps calm and balance our nervous system, thereby decreasing inflammation. These activities include: yoga; tai chi; qi gong; meditation; prayer; ultimately, anything that gets you to a quieter place. Joy, gratitude, and optimism have also been shown to benefit our health!

5. Use anti-inflammatory supplements: Scientific research has shown that the omega 3 fats from fish oil are highly anti-inflammatory due in part to their ability to slow the body’s production of chemicals called prostanoids, which when produced in excess increase inflammation in various tissues and organs. Tumeric, ginger, garlic, rosemary, glucosamine, and quercetin are also known for their anti-inflammatory properties and can be taken in supplement form.

Dr. Aimée Shunney, spokesperson for Nordic Naturals, is a Naturopathic Physician in private practice in Santa Cruz, CA where she blends conventional medical diagnosis and treatment with the use of natural therapeutics. Dr. Shunney specializes in women’s health, functional endocrinology and family medicine.