Tips for Transitioning Into A Healthier Lifestyle

It’s essential to be healthy so you can live a long life and enjoy it. There are many ways you can get healthy, but transitioning into a healthier lifestyle can be a little intimidating. If you are ready to make some changes and improve your quality of life, these tips can help you transition into a healthier lifestyle a little more easily.

Remove Temptation

Transitioning into a healthy lifestyle is a lot easier if the temptations from your old lifestyle aren’t around. If you are trying to eat healthier, remove all the unhealthy foods from your refrigerator and cupboards. If you are trying to get more sleep at night, set a timer on your TV and turn your phone on silent when it is time for bed. When these things aren’t around to distract you and tempt you, you are more likely to forget about them and work towards your health goals.

Get Support

It’s hard to make a lifestyle change on your own. Having a support system will make it that much easier for you to stick to your goals and feel motivated. Let your friends and family members know what your plans are and ask for their support. You can also find social media groups that are made up of people who are hoping to make the same changes. You can find support there and give your support to others. Everything is easier when you have someone cheering you on.

Talk To A Doctor

Before you make any big changes to your lifestyle, talk to your doctor to make sure they are okay and safe. If you have health problems, this is really important because some foods and activities could make those health problems worse. Your doctor may also have some suggestions about how to transition in a healthy way so your body and mind aren’t overwhelmed and you aren’t setting yourself up for failure.

Set Small Goals

Don’t make the mistake of making your goals too big in the beginning. It’s okay to have a larger ultimate goal, but you also need to understand that it takes time to reach bigger goals. It’s much more motivating and fulfilling to set small goals for yourself along the way to your larger goal. When you meet those small goals, you will feel like you are accomplishing something and be motivated to work towards the next one. These small goals will eventually lead you to your overall goal.

ARTHRITIS AND JOINT HEALTH

Arthritis affects 54.4 million US adults, 1 in 4 adults. It also can affect children. By 2040, it’s projected that 78 million adults in the US will be affected by some form of arthritis. The month of May is National Arthritis Awareness Month, time to learn about joint health!

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What is arthritis?

Arthritis is the umbrella term for the conditions that affect joints or tissues around joints. Though there are over 100 types of arthritis, the most common types include:

·        Osteoarthritis- mostly in hands, hips, and knees. Cartilage breaks down within a joint as we age, and from ‘wear and tear,’ resulting in osteoarthritis.

·        Rheumatoid arthritis- an autoimmune/ inflammatory disease. Hand, wrist, and knee joints are most commonly affected. Joints become inflamed and joint tissue is damaged.

·        Fibromyalgia- this condition causes widespread pain and stiffness throughout the body. The pain is accompanied with fatigue, sleep problems, and emotional/ mental distress.

·        Gout- inflammatory arthritis that can be very painful. Often affects the big toe joint. Symptoms can flare up, and also go away (remission).

Though arthritis affects millions of people including children, it’s still not well understood. Symptoms can come and go and range from mild to severe. Diagnosis typically begins at your primary physician, then usually a rheumatologist, who specializes in arthritis, often gets involved. Blood tests and imaging will be performed. Arthritis can remain the same or progressively get worse over the years. It can lead to permanent joint damage. There are a variety of symptoms associated with arthritis including:

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·        Joint pain

·        Swelling

·        Stiffness

·        Redness in joints

·        Loss of appetite

·        Tender joints

·        Decreased range of motion

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How can you manage arthritis?

Physicians may prescribe medications to reduce pain and inflammation and even “disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs” which slow/ stop the immune system from attacking the joints.

Aside from medication there are other things you can do to help with symptoms:

·        Regular exercise will keep joints flexible and also keep you at a healthy weight.

·        Weight loss will help take extra pressure off weight bearing joints.  

·        Eat healthy*, limit highly processed, sugary foods and try an anti-inflammatory diet.

·        Use heat/ cold packs for pain relief.

·        Acupuncture has been shown to reduce pain caused by some forms of arthritis.

·        Yoga helps improve and maintain joint flexibility.

·        Massage therapy may temporarily relieve pain.

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SKIN CANCER AWARENESS: THE MORE WE KNOW

 
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With summer just around the corner, it’s never to early to hit on the topic of skin cancer. The month of May is skin cancer awareness month, a month that aims to spread awareness and educate on ways to take care of your skin, especially as summer arrives. Summer is the perfect time for spending hours and hours in the sun whether you’re relaxing around the pool, boating on the river, or swimming in the ocean. The sun will find you wherever you may be. Sun exposure over the years can cause the skin to wrinkle, age spots, and even increase the risk for skin cancer.

Skin cancer is the most common types of cancer, in fact, the American Academy of Dermatology estimates that 1 in 5 Americans will be affected by skin cancer. Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, has become much more prevalent and cases have doubled from 1982 to 2011. Melanoma rates are higher in women than men, specifically in women ages 15-29. Sunburns during childhood may increase the risk of melanoma, therefore it’s important to protect children from the sun.

Skin cancer warning signs:

  • Changes in size, shape, or color of moles

  • Appearance of new growth on the skin

  • A sore that doesn’t heal

  • Spots on your skin that are different from others, changing, itching, or bleeding

If you have any of these signs, it’s important that you make an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist.

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The sun is the strongest between 10 am and 4 pm, which is the prime time for enjoying the outdoors. So, what can you do to be sure your skin is protected?

1.      Wear sunscreen that is at least 30 SPF.

2.      Be sure to not only apply it when you first go out, but reapply about every 2 hours. (Especially if you are swimming.)

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3.      Wear protective clothing such as long-sleeved shirts, sun hats, or have a shady spot you can go.

Sunscreen mistakes:

1.      Not reading the label. Not all sunscreens are the same. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends looking for ones marked “broad- spectrum” and “water resistant.”

2.      Not using enough. Many people don’t apply an adequate amount of sunscreen. Most adults need to apply about the amount to fill a shot glass (1 oz) to all skin that isn’t covered by clothing, 15 minutes before going outside.

3.      Not applying it when cloudy. It’s cloudy out, you’ll be okay without sunscreen. FALSE. While the sun may not be out, the harmful UV rays can still penetrate your skin. It’s recommended to use sunscreen every time you’re outside, not just on sunny days.

4.      Using old sunscreen. The FDA requirement for sunscreen is that they last at least 3 years. If you have old sunscreen, throw it away! If there is no expiration date and you are unsure, throw it out and buy new.

5.      Sunscreen only! Many people believe that once they are coated in sunscreen they are fully protected. Unfortunately, that’s not the case, while sunscreen does a good job of protecting your skin, it’s also good to wear protective clothing to help cover your skin and protect from harmful rays.

THE MORE WE KNOW…

 
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Mental Health Month

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May is Mental Health Month, a month geared toward raising awareness and educating the public on topics many people aren’t well educated on. Millions of Americans suffer from mental health related issues whether it’s anxiety, depression, eating disorders, PTSD, schizophrenia, or other related conditions.

Mental health is a topic many people feel the need to keep to be silent about due to stigma, sharing about their anxiety or depression doesn’t seem to be the same as sharing about a physical condition. Mental illness seems to be something people are afraid to share about and want to keep to themselves, for fear of how people will react and ultimately afraid of what others will think of them. Rather than a physical condition, mental illness is “invisible” people can’t see what is going on so it’s hard to explain and understand.

Lately, many organizations and inspiring individuals are creating more awareness and opening up about mental health topics, which has created a chain reaction of others opening up. More of an emphasis is being put on taking care of your ‘whole self’ physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health. A larger focus is being put on practicing mindfulness, relaxation, and self-care each and every day rather than once a month or every few months.

Diet and Nutrition

Did you know the food you eat can impact your mental health? Mental illnesses seem to becoming more prevalent, so is obesity, is there a link? It’s possible! Poor diets full of saturated fats, high sugar, and processed foods can lead to not only heart disease, obesity, and diabetes, but poor mental health as well. Research has shown that consuming a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, fish, and lentils reduces the risk of developing depression.

Vitamin D is an important vitamin that plays a role in optimal brain functioning which includes mood. Sunlight is a great source of vitamin D, but during the winter months our exposure to sunlight is decreased. Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to depression; this explains why some people experience seasonal depression during the winter months. Be sure to get plenty of fish, eggs, fortified cereals, and dairy products in your diet to ensure your vitamin D levels are adequate.

The B vitamins are another important group that help regulate neurotransmitters in the brain. Those with low B12 levels could be at an increased risk to develop depression. B vitamins are found in leafy green vegetables, whole grains, fish, and eggs.

Along with Vitamin D and the B vitamins, magnesium is very important and one of the most essential minerals in the human body, connected with brain biochemistry. According to the The National Center for Biotechnology Information  a variety of neuromuscular and psychiatric symptoms, including different types of depression, was observed in magnesium deficiency. 

Fact: Every cell in your body contains magnesium and needs it to function.

Foods that are a good source of magnesium include whole grains, rice and wheat bran, nuts, seeds, chocolate, peanuts, peanut butter and green leafy vegetables.

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Fact: Every year as many as 8 million Americans with serious mental illness don’t receive adequate treatment.

Exercise

Including regular physical activity in your routine can keep your heart healthy, help you maintain a healthy weight, strong bones, prevent disease, and also create a healthy mind! Regular exercise has been shown to lower a person’s risk for depression, panic disorder, and phobias. As little as one hour of exercise a week has been linked to lower levels of mood, anxiety, and substance use disorders. Even short 10-minute chunks of vigorous exercise at a time contains benefits for your mental health. “What can you accomplish in only 10 minutes?” Set a timer for 10 minutes. Pick 3-4 exercises from the list below, decide on a number of repetitions (10-20) and do one exercise after another until the timer goes off! You’ll be surprised what you can do in only 10 minutes!
Squats                               Pushups

Lunges                               V-Ups

Star jumps                        Mountain climbers

Bicycle crunches              Glute Bridges

Jumping jacks                  Plank

(Ex: 10 squats, 20 mountain climbers, 10 V-ups, 25 glute bridges. Repeat one exercise after another, minimal rest, until 10 minutes is up.)

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Fact: Half of mental health conditions begin by age 14, and 75% develop by age 24.

 

The Gut-Brain Connection

The gut is often referred to as the “second brain,” why is this? First off, during fetal development the gut is developed from the same tissue as our central nervous system, so they both share a lot in common. Secondly, they constantly communicate back and forth. More and more research is being done on the gut microbiome and its connection to mental health. Research has found that there is a connection between changes and inflammation in the gut microbiome and symptoms of Parkinson’s, autism, depression, and anxiety. It’s important to eat a healthy balanced diet, reduce your consumption of soft drinks, and processed foods and be sure to get plenty of probiotics and prebiotics to make your gut happy.  

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Fact: 1 in 5 adults experience a mental health condition every year, and 1 in 17 has a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.

Sleep

Not only do you feel like a zombie with lack of sleep, but your mental health can be jeopardized as well with too little sleep. Sleep is so important and being well rested is important for optimal health. When we sleep it gives our body an opportunity to re-energize cells and clear away toxins. Those who consistently struggle to sleep well at night are at an increased risk for problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, anxiety, and depression. Sleep affects the body as a whole, getting plenty of sleep is required for the health of our organs, immune system, hormones, ability to learn, and moods.

Tips for getting a good night sleep:

-Don’t nap too late in the day.

-Limit caffeine to the morning if you find you struggle to fall asleep at night.

-Try and avoid exercising 2-3 hours before bed.

-Say no to nicotine!
-Try and go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day.

 If you struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep, talk to your doctor.

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Fact: Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.

Stress

We all know what it feels like to be stressed, not a fun feeling. Stressing over finances, your job, relationships, and just life in general. Your body responds to stress in ways such as elevating the blood pressure, heartrate, and breathing. While elevating those things, chemical signals are sent out signaling to slow down other body functions such as digestion, growth, and the immune system. This chronic stress leads to inflammation that doesn’t go away.  You can probably guess what the consequences are when stress becomes chronic. You become run down, fatigued, your immune system is weakened, and your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer is increased. Short term stress that comes and goes is healthy, it’s the chronic long-term stress that isn’t healthy. We need to remember we are all human! We can’t do everything, and we aren’t perfect.

Tips for handling stress:

-Know when to say enough is enough. Don’t take on more than you can truly handle.

-Be flexible.

-Vent when you need to.

-Have a close group of friends/ family you can turn to when the stress gets overwhelming.

-Breathe! Take a few minutes to just relax and breathe.

-Find a hobby you enjoy.

-Exercise. Take a walk outside and enjoy nature. Try yoga to help you relax.

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Mental health matters and it’s time to break the stigma. If you are struggling, get help. There are so many great resources out there. Don’t isolate yourself, find a support group, and speak out against stigma! You are not weak for seeking help, you are STRONG.

 





3 Dietary Supplements You Should Definitely Use

There are hundreds of dietary supplements on the market, each claiming to be the one thing you need to take to alleviate health issues. Supplements can be a vital part of a healthy lifestyle, but the truth is that the evidence for some of the claims made by supplement manufacturers aren't entirely accepted. These supplements can still be used safely while more research is done. However, there are some supplements whose beneficial properties have been established for generations. Here are three dietary supplements you should definitely use and that you can get from Nature’s Edge.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are an essential part of bodily functions, which is why it's one of the most widely used forms of dietary supplement. Taking omega-3 supplements can be useful for people who don't get enough of these minerals from the foods they eat. For people that tend to avoid fish and seafood, supplements are an excellent way to keep your omega-3 levels high. It's essential that buyers know that there are different kinds of omega-3 fatty acids, and you should choose a supplement that includes a mix of DHA, EPA and ALA forms of omega-3 fatty acids. According to the National Institute of Health, “A deficiency of essential fatty acids—either omega-3s or omega-6s—can cause rough, scaly skin and dermatitis. Plasma and tissue concentrations of DHA decrease when an omega-3 fatty acid deficiency is present.” There are other ways that omega-3s can affect or improve your health, though the evidence is mixed. You can add more omega-3 fatty acids to your diet by using Omega-3 Fish Oil gel caps from Nature’s Edge.

Red Yeast Rice

Ancient remedies may lack scientific stories of their discovery, but the fact that they've been used for centuries is a testament to their effectiveness. An example of an ancient remedy with modern uses is red yeast rice. Red yeast rice is part of traditional Chinese medicine and is known to help with cardiovascular issues. According to the Mayo Clinic, "Research shows that red yeast rice containing considerable amounts of monacolin K can lower your total blood cholesterol level, your low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or "bad") cholesterol level, and your triglyceride level." If these benefits sound good to you, you can order a bottle of red yeast rice supplement from Nature’s Edge

Magnesium

A healthy diet includes eating the right foods to get all the vitamins and minerals your body needs. Modern diets are deficient in many areas, and they can have multiple negative health effects. Magnesium is one of the minerals that are critical to proper body functions. According to WebMD, “Adults who consume less than the recommended amount of magnesium are more likely to have elevated inflammation markers. Inflammation, in turn, has been associated with major health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. Also, low magnesium appears to be a risk factor for osteoporosis.” There are clearly many benefits to taking magnesium supplements. Nature’s Edge has CitraMag to help increase your magnesium intake.

If you’re looking for high-quality nutritional supplements, you can find what you need at Nature’s Edge. We have a wide selection of supplements that use the exotic, clean ingredients natural health care professionals take and give to their patients. Our products are laboratory tested, GMO-free, and there are no unnecessary fillers. Visit our shop now to start living a healthier and more natural life.

QUIET YOUR MIND

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In the midst of the constant hustle and bustle of life, how do you just quiet your mind and escape from reality for a few seconds? No, there’s no magic pill. But it’s close enough- yoga. Yoga has been around for more than 5,000 years and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. You see pictures of people doing beautiful yoga poses on mountain tops, the beach, or in other exotic charming places. Peaceful, serenity. Silencing the world. Nothing more than being in the moment, then and there. Concentrating on each breath you take. Inhale a deep breath of fresh air, rib cage expanding, exhale and release stress, worry, and tension.  

Aside from building strength, muscle definition, and increasing flexibility, yoga has many positive benefits on the mind, body, and soul, as a whole. Quieting the mind is one of the most important things yoga can do, along with energize the body, improve digestion, and even be therapeutic.

 

Health benefits yoga has to offer:

  • Improved circulation

  • Regular yoga practice has been shown to normalize blood pressure

  • Improve joint mobility and flexibility

  • Improve posture

  • Ease muscle tension

  • Reduce stress/ anxiety

  • Increased feeling of calm

  • Improves balance

  • Gives you inner strength

Meditation can be a big aspect of yoga for some. The idea of meditation is mental stillness, quieting the mind. This is achieved when the body, mind and senses are brought into balance. The nervous system relaxes. Yoga sequences can be done for relaxation, to reduce pain, increase flexibility, and even energize.

Yoga pose for meditation:

Quarter Lotus Pose

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Yoga pose to calm and relieve stress:

Downward Dog

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Yoga pose good for low back health:

Cat Cow

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Yoga pose to improve concentration:

Mountain pose

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If you haven’t given yoga a try, it’s definitely something to consider. Whether it be at home following a yoga video, or attending a yoga class. Yoga has so many great benefits to offer and very much impacts the body in a positive way.

TRY THIS MEDITATION!

 

Irritable Bowel Syndrome Awareness Month

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Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is so common that it's likely you know at least one person with this functional disorder. It primarily affects women, in fact, studies show that 2 out of 3 cases of IBS are women. An estimated 12% of people in the United States suffer from IBS. The month of April is IBS awareness month, aiming to educate and inform the public on this functional gastrointestinal disorder.

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What is IBS?      

Irritable bowel syndrome is a functional GI disorder affecting the large intestine. IBS is a chronic condition and symptoms vary person to person. Functional GI disorders means the intestines don’t work properly resulting in a group of signs and symptoms including:

  •         Cramping

  •         Abdominal pain

  •         Bloating

  •         Gas

  •         Diarrhea

  •         Constipation

There are different types of IBS: IBS- C (with constipation), IBS- D (with diarrhea), IBS- M (with mixed bowel habits).

What causes IBS?

Though the cause is unknown, doctors have some ideas of what might be the culprit. Functional GI disorders refer to problems with the gut- brain interaction. This can cause the food to move too fast or too slow through the digestive tract, resulting in a handful of the symptoms described above. Stress, mental disorders such as depression and anxiety, bacterial infections in the gut, SIBO in the small intestine, and food intolerances are all possible causes of IBS as well.

How can you keep IBS under control?

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While there are medications, depending on what type of IBS you have, medication alone sometimes isn’t enough to keep symptoms as bay. It’s important to know what triggers your IBS so you can avoid it. Common triggers include:

  •        Stress

  •         Processed foods

  •         Carbonated drinks, alcohol, coffee

  •         Dairy products

  •         Gluten (For some people, not all)

  •         Eating large meals/ eating too quickly

  •         Fatty/ fried foods


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Tips for keeping symptoms under control:

  •         Don’t stress! Easier said than done, I know. During times of high stress, find something relaxing to do to help reduce your stress.

  •         Keep a journal and log what you eat and any symptoms, that way you can find what food may be triggering your symptoms.

  •         Practice healthy habits and eat a well-balanced diet, cutting out processed, fried, sugary foods.

  •         Drink plenty of water

  •         Eat slowly

  •         Exercise regularly

  •         Get adequate sleep



 

Inflammation and Food

When you hear the word inflammation what comes to mind? The redness and swelling that can occur around a cut finger? External inflammation can be easy to spot, but what about the inflammation that goes on internally?

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Inflammation is our bodies way of protecting itself against harm, it’s a response that the immune system is in charge of. From a splinter in your toe to germs in the body, signals are sent out that there is a harmful irritant invading the body and the immune system goes to work.

Inflammation sounds all good and helpful, right? Well not always. In some cases, the immune system actually mistakes the body’s own cells as foreign invaders and attacks them. When this persists, the chronic inflammation is harmful and can result in disease. Chronic inflammatory diseases can last anywhere from a few years to a lifetime. A few examples of diseases associated with inflammation are: diabetes, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and inflammatory bowel diseases.

While yes, as with anything there are medications to control inflammation, but is that the only way? What if the answer to controlling your inflammation wasn’t just a bottle of pills, but also in your kitchen? That’s right, we’re talking about food!

Just like the foods that are unhealthy for us such as fried foods, sugar loaded beverages, excessive red meat, and refined carbohydrates, those too create an increased risk for chronic diseases and inflammation. These unhealthy foods also create weight gain, leading to obesity, which is a risk factor for inflammation.

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Now to the good part, let’s talk about anti-inflammatory foods. In order to reduce inflammation, you want to consume a healthy diet. Aim for a diet consisting of plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, and health fats.

Top anti-inflammatory foods:

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  • Leafy greens (spinach, kale, collards, etc.)

  • Fruits (strawberries, blueberries, oranges, cherries)

  • Nuts (almonds, walnuts, etc.)

  • Olive oil

  • Fish (salmon, tuna, sardines, herring, anchovies)

  • Turmeric

  • Ginger

  • Flaxseed

  • Chia seeds

  • Dark chocolate

While the list of anti-inflammatory foods can go on and on, it’s best to load up on these beneficial foods and replace the refined, processed, fried foods you consume. Your body will thank you!

Easy ways to sneak anti-inflammatory foods into your meals:

  • If you’re having grilled chicken, fish, or whatever meat it may be, try placing it on a bed of greens such as spinach.

  • Fruit smoothies are a great way to get a variety of fruits in, try adding some flaxseed or chia seed to your smoothie, or simply top your yogurt with some flax or chia seed.

  • Sautee some vegetables, including some leafy greens, in olive oil.

  • Add turmeric to rice, vegetables, soups, smoothies, and even tea.

  • Eat dark chocolate- any time! It’ll make your taste buds happy, boost your mood, and reduce inflammation!