For many, inflammation has a daily impact on overall health and wellbeing.* That said, it often goes undetected or disregarded. Let’s break it down with a brief overview and some of the ways we can begin to maintain our health.
What is inflammation?
Inflammation is the body’s response to injury.* But “injury” doesn’t have to be purely physical; mental and emotional stress also increases inflammation in the body.* Sometimes inflammation is healthy and normal, like when you injure a limb and inflammation helps the body heal internally.* Intense exercise may also cause inflammation in the body.* Inflammation itself can impact mood, energy, and overall wellbeing.*
Inflammation can stem from these sources:
Stress of all kinds (physical, mental or emotional) is a contributor to inflammation.* Stress triggers the release of cortisol.* Cortisol, in turn, acts as a systematic immune suppressant, meaning it suppresses immune system function, leaving us more vulnerable to illness.*
Refined sugar, specifically in the form of fructose and sucrose, spikes insulin and triggers the release of inflammatory agents called “cytokines” in the body.*
Industrial chemicals in our food, products, plastics and environment stimulate the immune system to disrupt normal energy production on a cellular level and increase inflammation.*
Genetically modified foods, herbicides and certain gluten grains irritate the intestines and change intestinal chemistry.*
How do we prevent inflammation?
Experts view unhealthy inflammation as a reflection of “body disharmony.”* But there are a range of lifestyle choices that can help support healthy inflammatory balance and bring back harmony.*
Nutrition plays a key role in reducing inflammation.* And while every body system is unique and requires trial and error to determine the best anti-inflammatory diet for you, generally anti-inflammatory foods include green vegetables, sweet potatoes, squash, avocado and berries, and nutrient-dense foods like vegetable or beef broth, salmon and chicken (although it’s possible to uphold an anti-inflammatory diet without meat). In being mindful of inflammation, it’s also important to avoid processed or refined foods, sugar, artificial sweeteners, preservatives and alcohol (when possible).* And, those with food sensitivities and allergies should avoid foods that cause discomfort, as they further perpetuate inflammation. The Paleo diet is one of many options for those with gut or inflammation issues.
Meditation, Exercise and Quality Sleep*
These habits contribute to less overall stress and support an anti-inflammatory lifestyle.*
Supplements and Functional Herbs*
Natural herbs like curcumin (the active component of turmeric), green tea, probiotics, and CBD work synergistically with the body to promote balance.*