If you’ve ever gotten a paper cut, you know what inflammation is, but did you know that asthma and allergies are also forms of inflammation? That chronic inflammation can lead to aging?
Injuries such as paper cuts generally result in what’s called acute inflammation. This is a process in which immune cells venture to the injured area to protect your body from bacteria and viruses. This type of inflammation is a good thing! It shows that our body is working properly.
Chronic inflammation, however, can last from years to an entire lifetime! Damage from chronic inflammation that begins at a cellular level causes oxidative damage which has a direct correlation to aging and in some cases, cardiovascular disease.
So what can we do about this?
We can most certainly always speak with our doctors who can run tests to check for warning signs of chronic inflammation. But something else that we can do right at home? Change. Our. Diet.
The Western culture diet has shown time and time again that there is a direct correlation between this way of eating and disease. When we look specifically at how our diet enhances inflammation, this continues to be true.
Issues such as obesity, hearth disease, high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, NASH, arthritis, memory loss and dementia can all be associated with inflammation of specific areas in our body.
Items in our world have been proven to cause inflammation in humans. In over 80,000 of the environmental toxins that we are immersed in each and every day, only 2% have been tested for safety in humans. While we can control this in a small amount by paying attention to our use of plastics, lotions, sunblocks, makeups, cleaning products, etc., we can control it in greater amounts by looking at what is on our plate.
Simple way to remember the good and the bad food?
Whole, nutrient dense foods are anti-inflammatory by nature.
Processed, sugary foods promote inflammation.
The food that we eat actually allows our bodies the capability of turning on and turning off both good and bad genes. Meaning, while genetics may play some role when it comes to chronic inflammation, they aren’t solely responsible. In fact, up to 90% of chronic inflammation disease stems from non-genetic triggers.
Now that we know that food can play a part in aiding with inflammation, it’s important that we note lifestyle adjustments that affect this too.
SLEEP. Ensuring that we get not only enough time sleeping, but also high quality sleep is extremely important. Reaching stage 4 sleeping is what allows our body to enter into our most restorative phase. One way to help ensure this is reducing our use of electronics in the evening as well as throughout the day. I know it may be easier said than done, but imagine how much better you’ll feel when you wake up fully recharged!
GOOD OLD WATER. Consuming proper amounts of water is something we’ve been told for a very long time, but in case you need a friendly reminder: we need water EVERY day, not just in the summer or after a workout.
CALM. Choosing to remain calm lowers our cortisol levels (the main stress hormone) which also reduces inflammation. Things such as mediation, journaling, deep breathing, mindfulness, etc. are all great ways to practice a sense of calm.
MOVEMENT. Physical exercise, such as yoga, and cardio are very important in reducing chronic inflammation. Be careful! Less than one hour of daily exercise is excellent for our bodies, but over one hour of daily exercise can actually increase inflammation.
NATURE. Last, but certainly not least, one of my favorites here: get. in. nature. Get your feet in the grass, lay your body in the sand, get your hands in the dirt, and breathe in all of the beautiful scents of nature’s perfumes. Sunshine is actually very beneficial in reducing inflammation.
What are you biggest takeaways from this? What do you want to learn more about? Let me know in the comment section below!