What is chronic inflammation & how can you reverse it naturally?

Written By Caroline Groth

 

If you’re someone who values health and strives to live your life at above-average functioning levels, chances that you’ve heard about Chronic Inflammation and the damaging effects it can have on the body & mind if it’s persistently occurring on a longterm basis, are big.

 

So, what is inflammation really all about?

Your immune system activates when your body recognises anything that is foreign – such as bacterias (good or bad). This often triggers a process called inflammatory response. Intermittent bouts of inflammatory responses directed at threatening invaders is positive, because it protects your health – that’s what we have our immune system for.

However, sometimes the inflammatory response persists, day in and day out, even when you are not threatened by a foreign invader. That’s when inflammation becomes your enemy and turns into chronic inflammation. Many major diseases that are on the rise worldwide – including heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, depression, and Alzheimer’s – have been linked to chronic inflammation, according to studies conducted by leading researchers. Not to mention the rise in chronic digestive, GI and gut-related diseases have exponentially risen in the last decade and chronic inflammation is part of this cycle.

To paint the picture clearer; imagine if you kept training an exact same injured muscle every single day without getting enough rest time to let your body repair between workouts. The inflammation would never go down, because you’d constantly be re-injuring yourself.

That’s exactly what happens if you keep irritating your gut lining (for example, with foods you’re sensitive to or that isn’t healthy for our bodies). The injury is constantly being repeated, three meals a day (or more) 365 days a year.

Acute inflammation isnt a problem if the inflammatory response flares up and then dies down. But chronic inflammation can actually be a symptom that causes problems of its own.

Sometimes it’s hard to tell the cause from the effect: most chronic diseases come along with inflammation, but is it the inflammation that causes the disease, or the disease that causes the inflammation? But for at least a few, there’s some evidence that inflammation is actually the cause.

What are the causes of inflammation?

Lots of factors are in play when it comes to inflammation in the body and they can cross-trigger each other too, however below are a few well-known causes that trigger inflammation in the body and chronic inflammation if they persist day in and day out:

  • Physical Stress
  • Psychological & Emotional Stress
  • Pathogens (fungi or bacteria)
  • Diets high in saturated fats, sugars, refined carbohydrates & processed foods.
  • Alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Gluten & Dairy consumption.

What are the symptoms of inflammation?

  • Tiredness
  • Fatigue/Chronic Fatigue
  • Psoriasis/Dermatitis/Eczema
  • Acne
  • Digestive Issues
  • Bloating/Pain
  • Swelling & Pain in Joints
  • Depression
  • Heartburn/Reflux
  • Persistent Headaches/Migraines
  • Brain Fog

The list can continue. Studies are becoming more and more plentiful and confirms that inflammation in the body really does lead to many of the chronic diseases we deal with in todays world.

"A lot of the time, the power lies within us to reverse chronic disease and create a better and healthier life for ourselves. The only questions is; will you take it or not?"

How can we get rid of inflammation?

The good news is that inflammation in the body is reversible, and it’s possible to do so without western medicine. Often, western medicine can actually exacerbate the issues you’re already facing or create another string of issues in the gut.

The best shield for inflammation in the body that we have available to us, is right in front of our noses, and it’s our everyday diet choices that we make for ourselves and our bodies.

Particular fruits and vegetables such as blueberries, apples, and leafy greens that are high in natural antioxidants and polyphenols – protective compounds found in plants – have a proven effect on minimising inflammation in the body.

To reduce levels of inflammation, you want to aim for an overall healthy diet. In addition to lowering inflammation, a more natural, less processed diet can have noticeable effects on your physical and emotional health, like improving mood and overall quality of life.

What are some anti-inflammatory foods you can incorporate into your diet?

There are many, but just remember that you want to remove many of the inflammatory foods from your diet that continues to cause havoc whilst you increase these anti-inflammatory foods. If you can eat organic I highly recommend this, as chemicals can cause inflammation in the body just as easily as a poor diet. If you cannot afford buying organic, try buying local produce at your locals farmers market or fruit & veg supplier. Always remember to wash your produce properly before consuming it.

EAT:

  • Green Leafy Vegetables: Spinach, Watercress, Kale, Lettuce, Collard
  • Cruciferous Vegetables: Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, Cabbage
  • Colourful Fruits: Strawberries, Blueberries, Lemons, Oranges, Raspberries, Grapefruit
  • Starchy Vegetables (in moderation): sweet potato, pumpkin, legumes
  • Nuts: Pecans, Walnuts, Almonds, Hazelnuts (1-2 times per week)
  • Spices: Ginger, Turmeric, Curry, Basil, Cinnamon, Rosemary, Thyme
  • Meats: Grass-fed, Free-range and organic meat, lamb, chicken, organs
  • Fatty Fish: Salmon, Mackerel, Sardines – sustainably & wild-caught
  • Healthy Oils: Olive, Coconut, Avocado, Flaxseed
  • Tea: White & Green Tea, Turmeric, Ginger, Liquorice, Fennel
  • Mushrooms: Shiitake, Oyster
  • Filtered Water (3 litres per day)
  • Bone Broth (1-2 cups per day)

AVOID:

  • Gluten
  • Dairy
  • Soy
  • Eggs
  • Corn
  • Caffeine
  • Refined Carbohydrates
  • Grains (stick to 1-2 servings a week if your stomach isn’t reacting to it ie. bloating + pain)
  • Legumes (stick to 1-2 servings a week if your stomach isn’t reacting to it ie. bloating + pain)
  • Alcohol
  • Artificial Sweeteners
  • Sugars
  • Processed foods

Try to follow the above for a period of 10-14 days and see if you feel better. If you do, continue for a few more weeks and slowly start to incorporate certain foods back into your diet again like eggs, caffeine etc. Items highlighted in bold I would suggest keeping out of your diet apart from special occasions as they are directly linked to creating inflammation in your body at all times.

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