Quite literally inflammation is all the rage these days. If you Google inflammation you will get 101,000,000 results in .57 seconds. Inflammation may seem like a buzzword, but it’s a real issue chipping away at the health of millions and in many cases completely unrecognized.
Inflammation itself is a natural, healing process where the body sends out white blood cells and a variety of healing substances to fight off foreign bodies such as pathogenic bacteria, viruses, fungi and chemical invaders. The white blood cells’ job is to engulf the toxin, whatever it may be, and get it out of the body, while the other healing substances go back and heal the damage the invader left.
The problem lies in inflammation that is unwarranted, such as is seen in autoimmune disorders when the body begins attacking its own tissues, and/or when inflammation is never turned off. When the inflammation processes aren’t turned off and there are no foreign bodies destroy, the body’s own tissues get destroyed.
The more science looks at it, the more inflammation is being seen as the root cause and perpetuating factor of many disease states ranging from diabetes to bone loss to dementia. Heck, even seasonal allergies have been linked back to inflammation. If you’re struggling with a health condition, chances are there is some component of it that relates to inflammation. If there is one common theme coming through in all the scientific research on inflammation, it’s that the key to a long, healthy life is reducing inflammation and keeping it that way
Start with What Heals
In a country boasting sky high stress levels paired with a notoriously toxic food supply and pharmaceutical industry making a killing, it’s no surprise that Americans have widespread, uncheck inflammation. Stop. Breathe. Focus on what you can do.
By adopting healthy habits that heal and putting them in place of the habits that cause damage, you can reduce inflammation. Look into herbs such turmeric and ginger, which have both been found profoundly positive effects on decreasing inflammation. Turmeric alone has had over 6000 scientific studies done that show it’s efficacy at knocking out inflammation. Ginger has been shown to be stronger than ibuprofen. Both happen to be delicious and versatile ingredients.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to have a huge positive impact in reducing inflammation and promoting healing of damaged tissues. Think of it this way, these fatty acids have 3 hinges, as opposed to saturated fats that have no hinges. When the pressure is on omega 3 fatty acids are able to bend and go with the flow, whereas saturated fats remain rigid, increasing the pressure until they break. It turns out that going with the flow is important all the way down to a cellular level at reducing stress and inflammation.
Eat foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids such as fatty fish (that is neither fried nor breaded), walnuts, flaxseeds and Brussels sprouts. Do the research to find an omega 3 fatty acid that is good for you and your budget. Double check with your pharmacist and/or healthcare provider to make sure it’s not contraindicated with any of your medications.
As if inflammation couldn’t get any more evil, turns out that it decreases your vitamin D levels, a nutrient that both helps heal the damage of inflammation and that millions of Americans struggle to get enough of. Seriously, this inflammation is bad news bears all around.
Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin and is needed for over 200 functions in the human body. Without vitamin D you’re not able to properly absorb and utilize calcium, magnesium, nor zinc. Oh my.
Because we work indoors, wear clothes and dutifully apply sunscreen to prevent skin cancer, vitamin D deficiency is common. If sun avoidance is your jam and getting 5 to 10 minutes of sunshine a day is not going to happen, look into a vitamin D supplement. Also make sure to have your healthcare provider add vitamin D onto your labs next time you’re in, as very few have it as part of their standard panel.
Seems so simple, but keeping well hydrated by means of drinking good ol’ fashion water is one of the best things you can do to keep your inflammation down. That means opting for water over sweetened beverages, excessive coffee/tea and alcohol.
Filtered water is a good idea, but bottled water isn’t. Turns out some of the plastic particles in water bottles escape the fate of sitting in a landfill for 1,000 years to get into the water inside them and later into your body. This in turn causes inflammation because your body doesn’t want plastic particles in it.
Getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep may seem like a luxury, but it is the best thing you can do for your overall health. It’s also free. It makes you a better person during your waking hours, more productive at work and less likely to develop illness. Consider it both a must and a daily indulgence you can look forward to on most days.
What’s Got to Go
3 biggest things causes inflammation in the masses: added sugar, toxic food supply and stress. No joke, this trio is as deadly as it gets. Added sugar is lurking in over 74% of all American food products, goes by over 60 names on food labels, fuels inflammation like no other and is as addictive as cocaine. If you’re looking for the next big money making craze, go ahead and start writing a business plan for a sugar detox center.
It’s no secret that America has some serious work to do on our food supply. It’s a hotter mess than Washington. As a consumer it’s an absolute must to read the food label and start eating more things that don’t have labels called fruits and vegetables. Scan food labels for partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats), monosodium glutamate (MSG), carrageenan, artificial flavors and colors, and high fructose corn syrup. If you can’t pronounce and your friend with a Ph.D. in chemistry cannot explain what it is, don’t eat it.
Stress has become the norm and it’s killing us. Self-care has got to be more than a meme in your Insta-feed if you’re truly looking to watch out for your quality of life and long-term health. Stress kills. It has dramatic, negative effects on every system of your body and even messes with your nutritional status. Seek counseling, take up mediation, go for walks in nature and turn off the news every once in a while.
Swap stressers for the healthy habits above. While it won’t be easy, it will be worth it.
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