There has been an increasing amount of discussion in the health industry lately around inflammation and its role in disease, with numerous recent scientific studies showing chronic inflammation contributing to nearly every modern disease.
So what causes inflammation and what can you do to avoid it?
Inflammations role is to protect the body from harmful stimuli such as injury or infection. Pain, heat, redness, and swelling are the 4 basic symptoms of inflammation. While inflammation is a protective response to heal the body’s tissues and can be good in the short-term, long-term chronic inflammation can have hugely detrimental effects on your health.
The prevalence of inflammation and inflammatory disease is rising in all developed countries and has been strongly linked to a vast number of health conditions including; heart disease, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune diseases, and gut disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease.
The main known cause of inflammation in the body is through injury or infection, however, there are a number of other lesser-known factors that can cause an inflammatory response. These can include; stress, lack of sleep – losing sleep for even a few short hours in one night can trigger the key cellular pathway that produce tissue-damaging inflammation, chronic low-grade food allergies or sensitivities, dysbiosis – an imbalance of good and bad bacteria in your gut, environmental toxicity and a diet high in trans-fats, sugar, refined carbs and processed foods.
While this all sounds very overwhelming, it is important to remember that a lot of your body’s response systems are within your control. Through a healthy diet and lifestyle, we can alter our body’s response to triggers of inflammation to help improve our overall health and wellbeing.
The best ways to manage and reduce inflammation in your body are:
- Prioritize sleep – 8 hours of quality sleep can undo the effects of the inflammatory response so don’t undervalue your sleep.
- Limit your intake of toxic substances such as alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, and drugs as they place a heavy burden on your body’s detoxification processes.
- Add more fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet and try to cut down on common allergenic and inflammatory foods such as dairy, wheat and sugar.
- Transition to more natural cleaning and skincare products and invest in a water filter to reduce toxic load and chemical exposure.
- Consider taking a natural anti-inflammatory supplement such as high-quality omega 3 fish oil, turmeric extract and/or a good quality probiotic.
Our bodies are incredibly complex and resilient, but they need our nurturing. If we take good care of ourselves and fuel our body with nourishing foods we can activate their self-healing mechanisms to help us live a happy and healthy life full of energy and vitality.