“Nothing welcomes spring more than a thorough top-to-bottom, deep cleaning of your home. But the products we use to get that sparkle often contain ingredients that are unhealthy and even dangerous to us. They make spring cleaning easier but at the risk of good health. Know the dangers of what you’re using, and consider making changes. BLEACH: Bleach, for example, is highly toxic, and its fumes can cause eye and lung irritation, chest pain and asthma. Mixing it with other cleaning chemicals can make it even more dangerous”.
Learn about 18 other toxic chemicals that might be in your store-bought cleaners:
Protect your joints against pain and inflammation by avoiding these arthritis trigger foods.
One of the foods to avoid with arthritis are dairy products. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can specifically flare up in response to the proteins found in dairy. Some people with RA are actually intolerant to proteins found in milk; their bodies form antibodies to milk proteins, and attack those proteins when they’re found in the body, according to the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. But not everyone reacts the same way to milk—or to other various types of dairy. In a 2015 study of women with osteoarthritis, milk improved knee pain but cheese actually made it worse. Experiment to see how foods tend to affect your particular type of arthritis.
A study at Mount Sinai School of Medicine found that cutting back on fried, processed food may reduce inflammation in the body. Fried foods contain lots of saturated fats, which can worsen inflammation. Lona Sandon, RD, an assistant professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, suggests switching to unsaturated fats, like olive oil, rather than butter, to see improvements in symptoms.
Processed sugars found in many prepackaged snack foods release an inflammatory trigger called cytokines into the body that can exacerbate arthritis symptoms, making it another one of the foods to avoid with arthritis. A study published in the journal Rheumatology found that participants reported immediate painful symptoms after indulging in refined sugar and sweets. Researchers believe that the increase in painful symptoms is a result of increased glucose levels.
Meats are higher in fats and calories, which are easily metabolized into chemicals that cause inflammation in the body. It’s worse if you grill, sear, or fry meats at high temperatures because that mouth-watering charred flavor is actually from toxins called AGEs (advanced glycation end products) that damage proteins in the body. AGEs are broken apart by cytokines, which can then cause inflammation. “We expect that increased levels of AGEs increase inflammation, although a direct link to arthritis is not firmly established,” says Jaime Uribarri, MD, a nephrologist at Mount Sinai Hospital who has lead many studies on the topic.
White flour-based products
White foods are bad news for arthritis. We’re talking white rice, potatoes, breads, and crackers—all of which contain refined carbohydrates. These foods also hike production of AGEs and cause inflammation, according to the Arthritis Foundation. The molecular structure of refined (aka white) grains is fairly simple: “The body turns them into sugar more quickly, and sugar is highly inflammatory,” says Barbara Olendzki, nutrition program director of the Center for Applied Nutrition at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester. Choose whole or multi-grain carbohydrate options whenever possible. If you don’t want to give up all your favorites for good, learn how to cook white rice and potatoes in a way that increases resistant starch.
Sorry, java lovers. Coffee has been linked to increased chance of developing RA and it’s one of the foods to avoid with arthritis. Researchers believe that some ingredients in coffee trigger rheumatoid factor, which can later progress to RA, although the findings are based on a study of Finnish coffee drinkers who drank boiled coffee, which may influence its impact on the body. However, it’s still cause for concern. A 2009 study published in Arthritis Research and Therapy found that even decaffeinated coffee contributed to the development of RA and suggests switching to antioxidant-rich tea.
Gluten, a sticky protein found in wheat and related grains, such as barley, oats, and rye, can promote inflammation. People who have celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder in which gluten prompts the body to literally attack certain food proteins and injuring the digestive tract should go 100 percent gluten-free, as should arthritis patients who have gluten intolerance, a less serious condition that can still trigger inflammation and other symptoms. Nutritionist and health expert Joy Bauer suggests that people with certain types of arthritis get tested for celiac disease, as they are both autoimmune diseases that often occur together.
Alcohol doesn’t just impact liver function, it also disrupts interactions between other organs, potentially causing inflammation. Although some research suggests that red wine can help to keep the heart, muscles, and joints healthy, a 2006 study at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that excessive use of alcohol increases the production of inflammatory cytokines in the body. Stick with a maximum of one glass a day for women, two for men.
This includes everything from stressing less to cooking with spices and more.
There are two types of inflammation: acute and chronic. Acute inflammation is the body’s natural response to a short-term threat such as an injury, burn, or surgery, according to the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgery. Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, is an ongoing response to a longer-term medical condition such as arthritis, asthma, or Chron’s disease, among others, per Medical News Today. This type of inflammation could cause health issues such as rheumatoid arthritis, hay fever, and even some cancers. Here are some tips for how to fight inflammation.
Eat a Mediterranean diet
The Mediterranean diet focuses on nutrient-dense, mostly plant-based whole foods and includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, fish, olive oil, legumes, and grains, according to Malina Linkas Malkani, RD, RDN, CDN, media spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Multiple studies show that following a Mediterranean diet has not only an intense anti-inflammatory effect but also improves cardiovascular risk factors such as blood pressure.
Limit heavily processed foods
According to Malkani, creator of the Wholitarian™ Lifestyle, reducing or limiting processed foods is another smart move to fight inflammation. This includes foods high in added sugar, man-made fats, fried goods, processed meats, and salts. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition specifically warns that foods high in processed sugars release pro-inflammatory cytokines—proteins released from certain cells.
Cook with herbs and spices
Embrace herbs and spices in your cooking. In addition to adding flavor, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, and especially turmeric all have anti-inflammatory properties. According to Malkani, turmeric contains the specific compound curcumin which helps lower inflammation levels in the body. Malkani advises pairing it with black pepper to promote better absorption.
Eat fruits and vegetables
Getting your fruits and vegetables in might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important to reiterate the health benefits of both for inflammation. Malkani says people should focus on adding fruits to their diet because the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound anthocyanin is in everything from strawberries to cherries. “Try to eat at least one to two cups of whole fruit on a daily basis,” Malkani says. Vernon Williams, MD, a sports neurologist and founding director of the Center for Sports Neurology and Pain Medicine at Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute in Los Angeles, California, adds that generally eating larger varieties of fresh, whole, colorful foods can help balance your diet.
Vitamin E-rich foods
An inflammation-fighting diet should include vitamin E-rich foods like nuts and seeds such as hazelnuts, peanuts, almonds, and sunflower seeds, according to Kris Sollid, RD, senior director of nutrition communications at the International Food Information Council Foundation. “Vegetable oils like sunflower and safflower oil as well as green vegetables like broccoli and spinach are also good sources,” Sollid says.
Get in your Omegas
According to Dr. Williams, omega-3 and omega-9 fatty acids reduce and fight inflammation. Sollid adds that omega-3s are a double health whammy since they lower both blood pressure and inflammation while increasing “good” HDL cholesterol. The U.S. dietary guidelines recommend two servings of seafood such as salmon, anchovies, or sardines to reap these Omega benefits.
Try yoga, Tai-chi, or meditation
Mind-body practices such as yoga, Tai-chi, and meditation help reduce stress and fight inflammation. New Scientist reports that meditation and Tai-chi can even impact the body on a cellular level. An analysis of 18 different studies found that genes related to inflammation were less active in people practicing mind-body activities. One of the researchers says the results also suggest these practices can reduce the risk for inflammation-related disorders themselves.
Stand, don’t sit
Prolonged sitting is linked to increased inflammation as well as a higher risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and even death, according to Kristine Arthur, MD, an internist at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California. That’s why Dr. Arthur recommends standing and moving your body as often as possible, even if you do exercise regularly. “The goal is to limit total hours of sitting during the day,” Dr. Arthur says. “Small changes like standing while on the phone or using a standing computer can have a big impact on the total hours of sitting.”
Similarly to standing instead of sitting, getting enough regular exercise can do wonders for inflammation. In fact, a study published in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity found that just 20 minutes of exercise is enough to reduce inflammation. “Our study shows a workout session does not actually have to be intense to have anti-inflammatory effects,” Suzi Hong, MD, lead author of the study says. “Twenty minutes to half an hour of moderate exercise, including fast walking, seems to be sufficient.”
Get enough sleep
Inflammation is linked to both too little and too much sleep. So yes, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing. Poor quality sleep and insomnia are especially associated with inflammation, per a report published in the journal Biological Psychiatry. The ideal sleep duration is seven to eight hours of shut-eye per night, according to the report.
On Monday, March 5th, 2018, actor Luke Perry passed away, at the age of 52, after complications related to a stroke. His death was a shock to many—especially those who loved him on shows like Riverdale and Beverly Hills, 90120—and jumpstarted a national conversation about stroke. Isn’t he too young for that? (No.) Wasn’t he in pretty good health? (Yes.) Can it happen to me? (Possibly.)
Stroke is a common disease—the third leading cause of death in the United States—but it’s also a commonly misunderstood one. For starters, it’s not always fatal. In addition to the 140,000 people that die of stroke each year, a further 655,000 survive, and live with its often-debilitating effects. When it comes to surviving, and preserving cognitive and bodily function, it’s essential to catch it as early as possible. And that means knowing the warning signs. Here they are.