"Nausea, heartburn, indigestion, upset stomach, diarrhea. Yeah, Chronic Inflammation!”
We are constantly being told that inflammation has a major role in poor health, but what does that actually mean?
In small doses, inflammation is actually a good sign! It’s a natural healing response of the body. It means the system’s in place are doing their job. So when does this feedback turn into a bad thing? Two words: chronic inflammation.
In this state, the body’s immune system is always “keyed up”. Damaging chemicals are being released and therefore cells cannot heal. If we cannot heal, we probably don’t feel well or look our best. Inflammation is associated with many illnesses, leaves us feeling drained and can even sabotage our overall fitness goals.
A large contributor to chronic inflammation is poor gut health. Hippocrates said “All disease begins in the gut.” Picture the small intestine as a roof. Now imagine a leaky roof full of holes after a hurricane. Certain medications, alcohol, food allergens, bad bacteria and even fungal infections are the so-called “hurricanes” wreaking havoc on the roof (or membrane of the gut), and the leaks are undigested proteins and food.
The body then recognizes these particles that leak through as a threat, and calls for an immune response. This is where chronic inflammation comes in. The immune response adds more stress to the system and the cycle repeats itself! Luckily our body can heal with our help. Check out these tips to get you started on a path to improved health.
How to Kick Inflammation’s Butt
Cut out junk food. Try sticking to whole foods or labeled food with six ingredients or less. Fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, certain grains and meats that are found in nature have a high nutrition content and tend to have healing capabilities.
Shy away from possible food allergens. If eggs make us bloated every time we eat them, they probably are harming us more than helping us. Same goes for refined wheat, gluten, dairy, white sugar, nightshades, legumes and highly processed foods. We may not have to rid of all common food allergens, just the ones that destroy our gut in particular. Try an elimination diet to see which foods are affecting the body most.
Fill the gaps with supplements and healing foods. Fish and fish oils, walnuts, bone broth, tart cherry juice, turmeric and ginger are all good examples of anti-inflammatory foods that are easy to find and taste delicious!
It sounds strange, but we need inflammation to live. Too much of anything is unhealthy though. We need to listen to and work with the body to achieve optimal health, accomplish our goals, and ultimately live a more fulfilling life.