Inflammation is the body's attempt at self-protection; the aim being to remove harmful stimuli, including damaged cells, irritants, or pathogens - and begin the healing process.
What Is Inflammation?
Acute inflammation is your body’s natural and helpful immune response to tissue damage. When you fall off your bike, the cut swells,reddens and feels…inflamed! These are all signs that your immune system is busy at work sending white blood cells to the site of your injury to repair the tissue. In this situation, inflammation is good and healthy…..we couldn’t live without it. This type of inflammation ends as soon as it’s healed.
Chronic inflammation is your body’s confused and damaging immune response to a barrage of environmental, physical,and mental invaders, which come in the form of things like poor diet, toxic chemicals, and stress. Chronic inflammation is such a huge piece of our health challenge today. Here’s chronic inflammation in a nutshell:
…There’s a silent (yet disruptive) kind of inflammation that can take place without you even knowing it. What you eat, drink, are stressed out, environmental toxins,smoking, drinking, and even a sedentary lifestyle can create a fiery cascade of inflammation in your body. When your body hits an inflammatory overload, your defense system gets so overwhelmed and confused that it literally doesn’t know the difference between the invader and you. As a result, your well-meaning immune system turns on itself, destroying healthy cells, tissue, and everything else in its wake.
Causes Chronic Inflammation
Chronic inflammation is triggered by numerous factors, but most of them are within your control and can be avoided. Such as:
1. Poor dietary choices like fast foods or packaged goods lacking in vital nutrients and high in pro-inflammatory ingredients, like trans fats, sugars, refined starches, processed meats, hydrogenated oils, artificial sweeteners, too many animal products (especially grain fed), sugary drinks,certain unhealthy saturated fats, and excess alcohol
2. Gut health issues ~ Crohn's Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome
3. Autoimmune Diseases ~ when autoimmune exists, the TH17 T cells are activated which creates cytokines that are immune messengers which causes a cytokine storm of systemic inflammation.
4. Food allergies~ You might be eating healthy foods, but if your body has an allergic reaction to one of these, an immune response will trigger inflammation—usually signaled by gas,bloating, and pain.
5. Acid-alkaline imbalance ~ Experts agree that an acidic pH leads to toxicity that creates an unfriendly environment for the healing of inflamed cells. To alkalize the body,stay away from refined foods, coffee, black tea, alcohol, sugar, and fruit juice; moderate your intake of meats, dairy, grains, and fruits; and increase your consumption of all kinds of vegetables, spices, and beans. Lemons in water in between meals will alkalize your stomach acid.
6. Chronic infections (bacteria, viruses, yeast, parasites)
7. Stress and exhaustion
8. Sedentary lifestyle
There are countless other causes of chronic inflammation, but these are some of the biggies. These things and others cause a big risk to your long-term health.
Results of Chronic Inflammation
Overtime, chronic inflammation wears out your immune system, leading to chronic diseases and other health issues, including cancer, asthma, autoimmune diseases, allergies, irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis, osteoporosis, viruses,and even rapid aging. These challenges are often only treated with drugs and surgery, which may provide temporary relief from the symptoms, but do not treat the root of the problem. In addition, these drugs (and their side effects)sometimes only add to your health problems.
Although this may seem overwhelming, it’s actually the opposite. The following tips will empower you and help you reduce inflammation over time. Try a few (or just one)of these suggestions on for size and see how you feel.
Howto Reduce Chronic Inflammation
1. Eat more plant-based, whole, nutrient-dense foods. Crowd out the inflammatory foods we discussed above (refined sugar and flour, processed junk, animal products,etc.) by adding a variety of plant-based whole foods to your diet. These foods will flood your body with the vitamins, minerals, cancer-fighting phytochemicals, antioxidants and fiber it needs to recover from chronic inflammation.
2. Focus on gut health. Your gut holds approximately 70-80 percent of your immune system, so it’s a great place to reduce chronic inflammation. And if your gut is in bad shape, you can only imagine that your immune system is in some serious trouble. A great way to start is by taking a daily probiotic or incorporate natural probiotics into your diet like fermented foods, apple cider vinegar and kombucha tea.
3. Identify and address food allergies and chronic (or hidden) infections. You could be fighting a losing battle if you’re ignoring potential food sensitivities and/or infections. If your body is working to cope and fight these challenges every day, you can bet that you’re stoking the fires of inflammation on a regular basis.
Gluten,soy, dairy, eggs, and yeast are common food allergens that might be distracting your immune system every time you sit down for a meal. These allergies can be identified with a blood test.
Be aware of your body. Only you can determine how you feel when you eat, which is where an elimination diet comes in handy. While following the elimination approach, you remove all common allergens from your diet and then slowly reintroduce them, one by one. Talk to your doctor about these options.
Another possibility worth exploring is chronic infection (bacteria, viruses, yeast,parasites). These guys could be hiding out in your body just under the radar and dragging your immune system down. Epstein Barr Virus is very common and most often people are asymptomatic. EBV alone can be the root cause for blood sugar dysregulation, thyroid issues and up to thirty-three autoimmune conditions.
You may also want to look into Leaky Gut Syndrome, a condition that can result in damage to your intestinal lining. When this occurs, bacteria, undigested food and other toxins can literally “leak” into your bloodstream, triggering an autoimmune response and a host of painful inflammatory symptoms. Perhaps look into doing some testing with me or a naturopath Dr. of healthcare provider.
4. Relax and rest more. Your body is hard at work repairing and restoring your cells while you sleep. Along with most doctors, I recommend seven to eight hours of sleep per night. If you’re cutting corners in the snooze department, you’re cheating your immune system.
Stress goes hand in hand with a lack of sleep and a laundry list of demands in our daily lives. Unfortunately, when you’re stressed out all the time, your adrenal glands are producing more of the hormone cortisol, which causes inflammation.It stands to reason that you can easily reduce chronic inflammation by focusing on stress reduction, whether it’s through more sleep, yoga, meditation, long walks,less technology or a much-needed vacation.
5. Reduce toxins in your food, home and personal care products. Your body’s alarm system goes off when you absorb toxic chemicals and pesticides through your digestive tract and your skin. Cut down your exposure by eating organic foods whenever possible and choosing non-toxic personal care and cleaning products.
Recap on Inflammation
Here are some key points about inflammation.
§Inflammation is the body's attempt at self-protection to remove harmful stimuli and begin the healing process.
§Inflammation is part of the body's immune response.
§The first stage of inflammation is often called irritation, which then becomes inflammation - the immediate healing process.
§ Inflammation is followed by suppuration (discharging of pus). Then there is the granulation stage, the formation in wounds of tiny, rounded masses of tissue during healing.
§Acute inflammation - starts rapidly (rapid onset) and quickly becomes severe.
§Chronic inflammation - this means long-term inflammation,which can last for several months and even years.
§Our infections, wounds and any damage to tissue would never heal without inflammation - tissue would become more and more damaged and the body, or any organism, would eventually perish.
§ Chronic inflammation can eventually cause several diseases and conditions, including some cancers, rheumatoid arthritis, atherosclerosis, periodontitis, and hay fever.
§It should be remembered that inflammation is part of the healing process. Sometimes reducing inflammation is necessary, but not always.
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