5 Ways to Fight Inflammation
(page 1 of 2)
Clearing up confusion behind the causes, symptoms, and treatments.
The term inflammation has become somewhat of a buzzword in the world of holistic health, and for good reason. However, a lot of confusion exists around what inflammation actually is, how it is caused, and how to treat it. Many chronic diseases are partially, if not fully, rooted in chronic, systemic inflammation. It is of utmost importance to act proactively, and not reactively, to inflammation—work to prevent it instead of just addressing the symptoms.
Inflammation is a natural healing process that is necessary to defend and protect the body from infection and disease. What is not natural is when inflammation becomes generalized and chronic, rather than acute.
Typical signs of normal and necessary acute inflammation include redness, pain, heat and swelling, and would occur with a broken bone, infection or wound. Chronic inflammation, however, is usually internal and unseen. It is the type that disturbs the body’s biochemical pathways and can cause the immune system to attack healthy cells. This could result in conditions such as metabolic disorders like diabetes, fatty liver disease; neurological diseases like ADHD, depression and Alzheimer’s; and autoimmune conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s, rheumatoid arthritis and more.
What Causes Inflammation?
Toxicity can enter the body in many forms. It can be in the form of processed, nutrient-void foods, the overuse of drugs and antibiotics, food sensitivities and allergies. It can also come from external forces such as molds in the environment and general environmental pollution. Some of these factors are largely out of our control, so it is important to focus on the factors that we can change, like the foods and drinks we consume.
High Sugar Diet
Most health experts now agree and studies have shown that a diet high in refined sugar and chemical sugars (such as high fructose corn syrup) can cause obesity, diabetes and insulin resistance.
Causing similar problems as a diet high in sugar, a diet high in refined carbs has also been proven to greatly contribute to obesity and inflammation. Foods such as white bread, pastas, and commercially-made baked goods top the list. This is especially true if a diet also lacks key minerals and vitamins from organic and seasonal vegetables.
A rancid oil is one that has been oxidized, which occurs when a delicate oil is exposed to light and heat. Its chemical makeup is then altered, creating dangerous free radicals. Oils most prone to oxidation (and ones that are usually rancid even before hitting the shelves at your grocery store) are vegetable oils such as canola, soy, corn and grapeseed. Studies have shown that these types of oils are also likely to throw off our omega levels.
Processed and packaged foods often contain inflammatory ingredients such as sugar, refined carbohydrates and rancid oils. Ones that are even more highly inflammatory are those that contain trans fats (hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats), so make sure to always read ingredient lists.
Plain and simple, drinking too much is very inflammatory and can cause a host of problems. Excessive alcohol consumption has been linked with higher CRP (C-reactive protein) markers, which signal inflammation in the body.
Lack of physical activity and a lifestyle that is mainly sedentary has been shown to contribute to inflammatory conditions such as obesity and insulin resistance. Sitting is the new smoking.
Research has shown that lack of quality sleep is directly related to increased inflammation. As a health coach, I work with my clients to help them develop healthy sleep hygiene.