While I think plant-based foods are pretty spectacular and are important tools to foster optimal health, they're not a panacea. Eating a stalk of kale isn't going to get rid of the pain from headache or post-surgery recovery, you need more anti-inflammatory power that that. This is where an ibuprofen, like Advil, can be useful.

fish, candy
Kristine Mahan

If you find yourself reaching for Advil pretty often, it might be time to reassess the inflammation in your life. 

For a more natural navigation of aches and pains in the long-term, anti-inflammatory practices help tremendously. Everything from preventing and combatting chronic illness to reducing severity of short-term pain and speeding up recoveries can be achieved using the following suggestions. 

These 8 suggestions to reduce your Advil intake will surely help with reducing inflammation. A general place to start to reduce inflammation though is by looking into what's causing it. Detecting the root cause of problems instead of just remedying them is the best long-term solution. 

1. Assess your stress

coffee, beer
Kristine Mahan

Stress can cause an ungodly amount of inflammation in your body and consequent health problems that would have you reaching for Advil.  Get in the habit of checking in with your stress levels.

Learning how to decrease these levels starts by identifying what causes your stress. Mindfulness, meditation, yoga, and deep breathing are all great ways to begin reducing stress. 

2. Eat lots of vegetables, especially green ones

pasture, pak choy, bok choy, cabbage, vegetable
Kristine Mahan

As mentioned, a stalk of kale isn't going to replace a pain killer. But, daily intake of greens can help to reduce chronic inflammation significantly. Nutrition rules so much of your health, I like to think of it as a functional tool. Considering what food can do for you is a great place to start when getting serious about nutrition for optimal health. 

Cruciferous vegetables are a more efficient than juice cleanses to detox your body from toxins that lead to inflammation. Bring on the broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage. 

3. Ditch the alcohol 

liquor, tonic, water, cocktail, alcohol, vodka, ice
Kristine Mahan

Alcohol is not good for you if you're looking to fight inflammation. That headache you wake up with when hungover is exemplary of this notion. Increasing your daily water intake too is a good idea, not just when you're hungover. 

4. Add a dash of anti-inflammatory spices

beer, tea
Kristine Mahan

Removing the foods that cause inflammation is the first, most critical step. Adding foods to reduce it even further should be the second step to reap the most benefits. 

Turmeric is the OG of anti-inflammatory spices. Curcumin is the active anti-inflammatory ingredient in turmeric, and consuming it with a bit of black pepper increases its bioavailability

5. Get over the fat misconception 

wine, vinegar, beer, syrup
Kristine Mahan

In the 1960s, the sugar industry paid off Harvard scientists to tell subscribers of the Western diet that fat made you fat. Thankfully, that myth has been busted. In fact, sugar is to blame for many health woes caused by inflammation. 

Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids and phytonutrients fight and lower inflammatory conditions in the body. Consuming things like chia seeds, walnuts, and certain oils provide our bodies with the fatty acids that they can't produce. 

6. Move how it feels good to you

tea, coffee
Kristine Mahan

Understanding the details of cytokines and cellular communication in the body can be hard. But, we all understand that exercise is beneficial for us, for a variety of reasons. Exercise is an extremely important tool to combat causes and effects of inflammation, if not prevent it. 

When finding an exercise form that's right for you, make sure you're listening to your body and moving in a way that feels good to you. You should try to not be moving in such an extreme way that your body produces crazy amounts of cortisol, causing inflammation instead of reducing it. 

8. Rest and recharge

Kristine Mahan

Inflamed cells can't give you the energy you need to feel awake and healthy. Getting enough rest in the form of both quiet time and actual sleep is critical for cells to fight and reduce inflammation. 

Reaching for the Advil too often can have serious consequences, and my current health is a product of that. Years of taking more than the recommended dose of ibuprofen for chronic pain could have been resolved by reducing inflammation in my body naturally. It did a serious number on my gastrointestinal tract among other things, and I wish I had known these natural methods earlier. 

Heed the warning on the bottle label, and follow these tips for reducing inflammation. Consequently, you'll probably need to reach for Advil considerably less. Your body has the power to heal itself if you foster ideals to nourish it for optimal health.