3 Surprising Ways to Fend Off Inflammation

Losing weight is a healthy start. Here, more options

by Sara Reistad-Long
Photograph: Illustrated by Oliver Munday

#1 Get a flu shot every year
Seven days of the flu isn’t just bad for you right now. “A week of the flu translates into a week during which cy-tokines and other in-flammatory hormones are dramatically elevated,” says David Agus, MD, author of The End of Illness. “The American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology recommend flu shots in part because they reduce the risk of death down the line from inflammation-related illnesses such as heart disease and some cancers.”

#2 Wear comfortable shoes at least some of the time
Day after day of red, swollen soles means you’re suffering from persistent low-grade inflammation, Agus says. Good shoes can help mitigate this ­effect, especially as the day wears on, says Grace Wang, MD, an assistant professor of surgery at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania’s Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery. Shoes made by companies like Vasyli (vasyli.com) and Barefooters (mybarefooters.com) are attractive and comfortable options. Keep a pair at home or under your desk; save the four-inch heels for true fashion emergencies.

#3 Don’t stay put
A number of studies have shown that sedentary behavior—such as watching TV or working at a desk—is correlated with increased inflammation and an uptick in mortality, even when the subjects are people who exercise regularly, says Charles E. Matthews, PhD, a researcher at the Nutritional Epidemiology Branch of the National Cancer Institute. Going to the gym is great (and may offer anti-inflammatory benefits of its own), but to keep inflammation at bay, try to move as frequently as possible throughout the day, even if you’re just getting up to stretch or use the copy machine.

Next: The Life-Extending Diet

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MARCIA 10.24.2014

Regarding the shoe suggestion, a key element we keep missing is teaching people to manage their fascia. Much of the swelling (and bunions, and pain, although unfortunately not the postural issues) created by wearing heels can be relieved via self-myofascial release techniques. If the fascia of your feet, lower legs, and inner thighs are "juicy" and well hydrated, when the muscle isn't engaged, the tissue will fall off the bone. This means your body will actually rest when at rest (who doesn't want more energy?) and an added bonus aside from being pain-free daily is that those muscles will be so defined and pretty when they are at work!

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