Great news from British researchers: You can cut your risk of fatigue, stiff muscles, achy joints and headaches 50%—plus add 12 healthy, happy years to your life—just by dialing down the amount of tissue-damaging inflammation in your body! The keys:
✓ Halting trouble with cinnamon
Adding 1/2 tsp. of cinnamon to your daily diet could cut your inflammation level 25% in just 10 days, research shows. Cinnamon’s secret? The sweet spice reduces production of COX-2, a troublesome enzyme that makes your inflammation level skyrocket if it’s left unchecked. If you prefer savory spices, ginger and turmeric have similarly impressive anti-inflammatory powers.
✓ Preventing illness with astaxanthin
Astaxanthin, a pink-colored compound that acts like a natural sunscreen for algae, is a potent inflammation-taming nutrient for us! In fact, simply taking a daily 4-mg. dose of the supplement does such a great job of keeping inflammation at bay, it cuts your risk of stiffened, clogged arteries (and heart disease!) as much as 25%, reveals research in the Journal of Atherosclerosis and Thrombosis. Astaxanthin switches on genes that heighten your body’s ability to closely monitor your inflammation level and react quickly if it starts to creep up, explains study coauthor Hiroshige Itakura, PH.D. One option: Life Extension Astaxanthin with Phospholipids ($8 for 30 softgels; Lef.com/ww).
Important: Always check with your doctor before taking any supplement for the first time.
✓ Revving your liver with root vegetables
Potatoes, carrots, turnips, beets . . . enjoying one cup of a filling, flavorful and budget-friendly root vegetable daily could cut your risk of pain-triggering tissue inflammation 42%, Harvard research shows. These winter staples are rich in potassium, phosphorous and magnesium, minerals that help your liver quickly break down inflammatory wastes and clear them from your body.
✓ Soothing your tummy with onions or garlic
Even if you’re careful about what you eat, some inflammatory ingredients— such as trans fats and high fructose corn syrup— may sneak into your diet. Luckily, you can disarm them before they cause trouble by eating 1/4 cup of onions or one clove of garlic daily. Both are packed with sulfur compounds that stop inflammation from building up in the stomach and intestines, even when your diet is less than ideal. Bonus: Because they nix damaging intestinal inflammation, onions and garlic also cut your risk of digestive tract cancers 44%.
✓ Koing inflammation by doing nothing
The stress hormone cortisol is a top contributor to tissue-damaging inflammation, so it’s not surprising that University of Wisconsin research shows relaxing—whether by soaking in a bath or reading quietly— can cut inflammation 30% in two weeks.