So, what is inflammation?
Simply put, it’s the body’s protective response against any sort of illness or infection. Since inflammation can be tied back to anything from a sprained ankle to obesity to cancer, let’s break things down for you and provide you with some practical tips you can take to begin to minimize your risk for and stop fueling the fire of chronic inflammation.
The negative effects of inflammation…
There are two types of inflammation: acute and chronic.
Acute inflammation generally disappears after a few days and can be very helpful in the context of an acute injury. It usually comes in the form of pain, localized redness, stiffness, swelling, or heat in response to something like a broken bone or scrape.
Chronic inflammation occurs when the “injury” is not resolved, which ends up causing more harm than benefit and becomes the “engine that drives many of the most feared illnesses of middle and old age.” Chronic inflammation is often the root of:
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Metabolic Syndrome
- High Cholesterol
- Chronic Fatigue
- Autoimmune Disorders
- Neurodevelopmental Disorders
To gain a better understanding about the difference between acute and chronic inflammation, as well as how inflammation is important to recovery, check out this previous Facebook Live
Practical ways to stop “fueling the fire.”
Even though there can be many contributors to what causes chronic inflammation, the common theme is that they each have the capacity to cause “injury” to the body. This is usually on a much smaller level than the injuries that cause acute inflammation and are more difficult to resolve. These types of injuries are more commonly referred to as “toxicity,” “oxidative stress,” and “oxidative damage.”
These are the four foundational causes of those injuries and the chronic inflammation that ensues and suggestions on how you can reduce the problem:
Cause #1: A diet that’s high in processed sugars, refined carbohydrates, industrial oils, and trans fats.
This is the Standard American Diet, and each one of these highly processed foods is a major contributor to chronic inflammation. With over half of the average American’s energy intake being from this diet, it’s no wonder that disease is rampant!
To make sure your food isn’t contributing to inflammation and disease in your body, eat a nutrient-dense, unprocessed diet. We recommend these dietary guidelines as a place to start:
- Reduce your sugar intake, and replace all white sugar with traditional sweeteners like organic, unrefined cane sugar, raw honey, or maple syrup.
- Remove the industrial oils like canola, soybean and vegetable oils and trans fats like margarine, and replace it with animal fats like raw, pastured butter, lard or tallow and traditional vegetable oils like extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil. Use these fats in every meal, and if you’re concerned about cholesterol, check out this previous article.
- When eating grains, nuts or seed, be sure they’re properly prepared.
- Drink a minimum of 8oz. of bone broth daily. Here’s our recipe.
- Drink half of your body weight in ounces of filtered water daily.
Cause #2: Prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs.
Unfortunately, prescriptions are the norm in our society and the repercussions of their impact on gut health are often overlooked. The long-term effects can be extremely harmful to the microbiome and can induce greater inflammation to an already dangerous situation.
Therefore, use good judgement about your use of pharmaceutical drugs and be proactive in supporting your gut and overall health through nutrition, detox therapies, lifestyle changes, and proper supplementation.
Cause #3: Environmental Toxins
“Thousands of new chemicals are developed by industries each year. In the United States, most of these chemicals do not undergo comprehensive testing before release.” And sadly, the list of “adverse health effects linked to existing chemicals in our environment” is far too long.
You’re exposed to these toxins on a daily basis through skin absorption, breathing them in, ingesting them with your food, or through injection. EWG even did a study that found 232 different toxins in the umbilical cord blood of newborn babies!
However, the good news is that you actually have a lot of control over what you’re exposed to within your home! Making simple changes to your cleaning products, personal care products, food storage, cooking equipment, etc. can make a huge impact. It can feel overwhelming at first, but start with small, simple steps, and over time, your proactive choices will have made a big difference to your health!
- Check out our “Clean Home Webinar” for specific DIY and green alternatives to your favorite brands.
- Keep fresh air in the house by regularly opening your windows.
- Reduce your estrogenic exposure. For example, replace all plastic with glass or stainless steel, stop drinking from plastic bottles, and forgo cash register receipts.
- Use organic and all-natural personal care products with no added fragrance.
- Use only non-toxic cleaning products.
- Cook with stainless steel or ceramic cookware.
- Install a whole house filter to remove chlorine from the water.
- Don’t use pesticides in your yard or inside your home.
Cause #4: Stress
Stress is a double edged sword when it comes to inflammation. Not only can it cause inflammation on its own, but when the body is in a chronic state of stress, its ability to detox slows down, and in some cases, it comes to a halt. It also weakens the body’s ability to fight off illness and heal. So, even if you’re “doing all the right things”, if ongoing stress is not addressed, the body will not be able to fully heal!
Here are some practical ways to support your stress and mental health.
- Minimize your technology use by regularly turning it off, shutting down all electronics 2 hours prior to bed, or implementing a regular digital “detox”.
- Remove toxic relationships from your life and move towards a healthy, supportive social network.
- Get 8-9 hours of sleep a night.
- Move 20-30 minutes a day.
- Spend time daily outdoors.
- Implement breathing techniques.
- Take a detox bath.
- Spend time in a sauna.
- Practice saying “No.”
- Regularly play.
- Laugh daily.
- Practice forgiveness every night before going to bed.
Suggestions to fight inflammation using supplementation.
While we believe that a nutrient-dense diet is the foundation for optimal health, sometimes it’s necessary to provide some additional supplement support to assist the body in the healing process. Here are our top recommendations to help fight inflammation.
Herbals: These herbs help to dampen the inflammation messages.
- Turmeric (Curcumin)
Enzymes: When taken away from meals, they “digest” the proteins involved in inflammation signaling.
- Proteolytic Enzymes
Gemmotherapy: These support the drainage of lymphatic congestion caused by inflammation.
- Ribes Nigrum
- Pinus Montana
- Sorbus Domestica
Nutritionals: Essential Fatty Acids are precursors to anti-inflammatory signal molecules.
- Fermented Cod Liver Oil
- Cod or Skate Liver Oil
Looking for some individual support?
If you would like some individual support for those inflammation related diseases mentioned above (i.e. type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, Fibromyalgia, arthritis, allergies, and autoimmune disorders), we highly recommend our Lab Analysis Service.
This service cost $140. After reviewing your labs, we’ll provide you with a 90-day protocol that includes dietary, supplement, and general lifestyle recommendations, as well as, supplement suggestions, to support your health goals and minimize the challenges you’re currently experiencing.
This information is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice and treatment from your personal physician. Consult your own doctor or other qualified health professional regarding the treatment of your medical problems. Those taking prescription medications should consult with their physicians and not take themselves off of medicines to start supplementation without the proper supervision of a physician familiar with nutritional supplementation.
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