Decreasing Inflammation! Its An All-Inclusive Job!

by | Jul 8, 2024 | Healthy Bites


Decreasing systemic inflammation is multi-behavioral feat. And even then, we can do all the things and still have inflammatory issues in our body. This is not to say that our efforts are all for not. It is saying that inflammation is very complex and not a simple fix.

 A client said, “I am going to add an herb to my supplement routine and that should help decrease my inflammation.”

 Not so much. Adding a particular herb or a marketed anti-inflammatory supplement may not do a whole lot for you at all. Even if it has been 3rd party tested and verified for bioavailability, contamination, metal detection and integrity. When it comes to working with anti-inflammatory agents, the thing to remember is that they do not act like medications, where medications come in and just numb the symptom. These require a build-up in the system and some people respond well to them and some people don’t respond at all. And the big difference is that these are things you’ll need to continuously take. Forgetting here and there or for a month or a year at a time, can greatly hinder its ability to aid in what you are wanting the herb to do.

 The main concern about these, is that they work in tandem with an anti-inflammatory diet, proper sleep, stress reduction and exercise. Just using one of these supplements will not be enough to counteract inflammation. Especially if much of it is due to stress – systemic, physical or psychological. Unlike medications where they work all by themselves without lifestyle changes, herbs do not. They will require a whole lifestyle effort!

 Here are things to keep in mind when living a anti-inflammatory lifestyle:

 What does your diet look like? How often is your body exposed to added sugars, caffeine, alcohol, food additives and food colorings?

    1. Does your intake include fruit and vegetables at almost every meal?
    2. How often do you eat beans in a week?
    3. How much red meat do you consume in a week or a month?
    4. How much fish do you eat in a week or a month?
    5. What types of oils are you cooking with?
    6. How many whole grains do you get in a day or a week?
    7. How many sugar substitutes do you take in a day?
    8. How much water are you getting in each day?
    9. Do you consume dairy or non-dairy substitutes? Lacking certain nutrients can also create more inflammation. There’s so much to look at!
    10. How many anti-inflammatory spices and herbs do you add in your diet daily? These include garlic, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, turmeric, cumin, curry powders to name a few. Remember, it’s the consistent exposures to these things that help chip away at inflammation.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        These are just questions to consider when trying to embark on an anti-inflammatory diet. Based on evidence based findings, we know all of these things can affect inflammation both positively and negatively. The key, is that changes with any of these can affect inflammation OVER TIME….not instantly. And that is where consistency comes in. This means, reducing inflammation, takes exposing your cells and tissues to more of the anti-inflammatory foods and actions versus the inflammatory. Which is why this takes a long time to gain a higher percentage of anti-inflammatory intake and actions versus not.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Are you getting in the right kind of exercise? What does that even mean? 
  • Walking
  • Strength Training
  • Gardening
  • Playing in the yard with your pets or your children.
  • Yoga
  • Pilates

 Everyone is going to have different needs and limits. And higher intensity exercise has its place. Depending on the type of inflammation we are targeting, high heart rate activity for over an hour more days of the week than not, may be contributing more to the inflammation. Again, I can’t stress enough how there are so many factors that affect what exercise is going to be best for everyone including age, medical condition, daily stress in general and quality of sleep etc.


  • How much sleep are you getting and what is the quality of sleep?

Sleep quality is so important and sometimes more important than the volume. Sleep allows us to fully recovery from workouts, it’s the time when muscles fully repair, when the immune system is kicking in and or regrouping from the day and gaining strength for the next! Without adequate quality of sleep, our stress hormones cannot come down and therefore begin the day more elevated than necessary, which in turn can create inflammation.


  • What other forms of self-care are you doing for yourself? Think about the things that lower your heart rate, create a sense of joy, things or hobbies that you do that you can easily get lost in or even feel relaxed around.
    1. Hobbies where you are focusing on something or creating something.
    2. Stretching…slow stretching where your heart rate decreases and breathing deepens.
    3. Again, intentional focus on your breath where breath deepens and slows. Where you are exercising a different part of your brain vs the tasking and thinking part of your brain.
    4. Playing board games.
    5. Crossword puzzles and regular puzzles that you put together. 
    6. Listening to soothing music.
    7. Getting a massage.
    8. Being in a quiet room with dimmed light. Simply being quiet and reflective. Or journalling.
    9. Taking a bath or an easy swim in a pool. Even sitting in a hot tub.

    All of these activities change the state of your brain and breathing. They turn off the flight or fight button in your body and turn on the calm, easy, relaxed, safe button in your brain. In our information based, fast paced world, even when we enjoy what we do for a living, we are operating at a more stressful state. Breathing can become short or shallow. Muscles are tense or we are holding ourselves up while we are at our computer, engaging in a work activity, sitting in a meeting or heated conversation and even on our daily drive. All of these things contribute to the overall possible inflammation in our system.

See what you can do to create more balance in all areas of your life. Consider creating a check list. Taking an inventory of what your days are filled with and what you’d like to start making more space for. Even if you start by creating space for 5 min of something more soothing in your day. These simple, intentional action steps will continue to grow!

 And remember, with your food intake, what are you consuming more of in your day? Pro-inflammatory foods or anti-inflammatory foods. What you consume on a regular basis, not the one off meal or event that you partake in, is what is most important! What is super consistent in your day to day? These are the things to pay close attention too!

If balancing your intake is important to you, feel free to make an appt! I love helping my clients find more balance in their intake and daily life!

To work with Nicole:

Meet and Greet Before You Book – chat with Nicole K,RD,CD,CSSD to see how we can meet your needs and choose the appt that would fit you best! 

 In-Person Consult with Nicole K, RD,CD,CSSD

Virtual Consult with Nicole K,RD,CD,CSSD

Lets Chat! – 30min Q&A session – this 30 min session helps get any and all of your questions answered about nutrition and exercise. Should you choose to work with me and get a personal plan developed with regular coaching, a portion of the cost of this session will be applied to your next! 

Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash




Meet Nicole

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

Nicole is recognized state-wide and nationally as a Registered Dietitian and is also a Certified dietitian through the state of Wisconsin. She is also a Board Certified Sports Dietitian and a Certified Personal Trainer and Physical Fitness Instructor.

Nicole’s areas of expertise include: Wellness and lifestyle coaching, weight management, behavior modification, eating disorders, vegetarian lifestyles, gluten-free living, sports nutrition, recipe and menu design and development.







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