What Is Inflammation?
We hear about inflammation a lot these days, and it’s good to know that inflammation isn’t necessarily bad. In fact, acute inflammation is our immune system’s natural healing response to damaged tissue or infection (toxic chemicals, viruses, bacteria). Basically, our body seeks to trap the offending agent and start healing the tissue.
Chronic inflammation, however, will affect your quality of life. Chronic inflammation comes from autoimmune disorders, untreated acute inflammation, exposure to toxins, alcohol abuse, obesity, over or under-exercising, chronic stress, or smoking. It’s also related to the consumption of fried foods, cured meats, refined oils, trans fats, and refined carbohydrates (sugar and white bread, for example).
Yes, what we eat and what we’re exposed to has a large effect on inflammation!
Symptoms of Inflammation
Acute inflammation is easy to recognize. If you’ve ever injured yourself you know the pain, swelling, redness, and heat of inflammation. Chronic inflammation, however, can be harder to spot and often involve more internal signs.
Signs of chronic inflammation can include ongoing stomach pain, chest pain, joint pain, trouble breathing, skin rashes, mouth sores, fatigue, and fever. Sometimes they’re easy to live with, and sometimes they are unbearable.
I have several inflammatory conditions – endometriosis, arthritis (my orthopedist and I were discussing my upcoming meniscus repair, plus long-term possibilities today), eczema and rosacea, plus a love of fried food and sugar, along with a tendency to over-exercise.
Treatment of Inflammation
Frontline treatment of inflammation starts with addressing the cause(s). For acute inflammation, this may mean rest, ice, elevation, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen or naproxen, and steroids (as local injections or systemic medications).
For chronic inflammation, you need some lifestyle changes in addition to any of the above. NSAIDs are not great to take long-term, and can be problematic for anyone with stomach problems or reflux. Steroids have a host of negative side effects that preclude long-term use.
Luckily, there are some proven foods and supplements that can help relieve chronic inflammation and help you feel better!
What to Eat
The typical American eats way too many refined carbohydrates, cured meats, and fried foods. We eat a ton of white bread, refined sugars, pastries, cookies, chips, bacon, hot dogs, fries, and chips of all forms. This is why over half of Americans are obese!
If we just make sure that we get some good oily fish, leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables (darker lettuces, spinach, kale, broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower), olive oil, some seeds and nuts, and tomatoes and berries on the daily, we’d all be feeling a lot better. If you fit the healthy foods in, you’ll naturally eat less of the others because you simply won’t be as hungry!
Supplements That Work
Yes, in addition to healthy foods, there are some supplements that are clinically proven to reduce inflammation. Here are the supplements that I personally take, that allows me to take less pain medication. Note that supplements can take 4-8 weeks to start working in a noticeable way, so give them time.
Turmeric with Curcumin & BioPerine 1500mg 2x day
Collagen peptides 10g (I put a scoop in my morning coffee)
1000mg Omega 3 (I take fish oil 2x day – make sure you’re getting 1000mg Omega 3, and not just 1000mg of oil)
3000mg powdered tart cherry extract 1x day (you can also drink 10oz of tart cherry juice 2x day, but I’d rather take a capsule)
Turmeric and ginger tea with honey (part of my evening ritual)
The last thing you want to do with chronic inflammation is over-exercise, and not allow recovery time. That’s right, less is more!
Get in some full-body strength training, some cardio, and some mobility work. Just make sure you allow for recovery. Being sore all the time is, you guessed it, a sign of chronic inflammation.
If you don’t really want to join a gym or studio, you can help reduce chronic inflammation with safe and effective exercise at home. I teach my clients online, and they’re thriving. For more information, check out my website.
Connect with Lynda on The Wellness Universe.
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