The Terrain Pillars

Live Long, Live Well, Live to Love.

By Dr. Robin Rose

Taking care of yourself is more important now than ever. Taking care of your mental health is just as important as taking care of your physical health to keep your inflammation down during this stressful time. Four critical ways we can strengthen our immune system is by optimizing our diet, exercise, sleep and mindfulness practice.

Through diet we want to load up on nutrient-dense foods packed with antioxidants that protect against free radical damage, which causes inflammation. We want to avoid inflammatory foods such as refined sugars, unhealthy fats, and processed products.

Exercise is an effective way to reduce inflammation in the body. It sends fresh blood and oxygen throughout your body, pumping the lymphatic system for waste removal, which gently restores your digestive system. Even going for a walk or an easy hike stimulates muscle recovery and reboots your system. Exercise also lowers the body’s cortisol stress-response, which causes inflammation by up to 20%. The influence sleep can have on reducing inflammation is a significant factor in managing health and guarding against disease over the course of our lives.

Our sleep is regulated by circadian rhythms, which also regulates our immune system, and with it, our levels of inflammation. When circadian rhythms are disrupted so, too, is our immune system. We’re more prone to unhealthful inflammation, and more at risk for illness, including metabolic disease, cancer and heart disease. The way to keep circadian rhythms in sync is to maintain a consistent sleep routine. Along with your ability to function at your best mentally and feel your best physically, a commitment to getting a full night of restful sleep makes a difference at a cellular level, in your body’s ability to keep inflammation in check.

Mindfulness and mediation is a big game changer when it comes to chronic inflammation. Countless studies have showed that mediation and deep breathing reduce stress and anxiety. Meditation has significant physiological effects on the brain, which effect the body’s inflammatory response. In many studies, meditation has lowered the inflammatory biomarker Interleukin-6 which results in a longterm reduction in systemic inflammation.