‘Inflammation’ might seem like a just another health buzzword, but it’s much, much, more than that. Inflammation is at the root of all chronic health issues. It almost always starts small, can be hidden, and has physiological impacts on the body. Chronic complications including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, inflammatory arthritic conditions, autoimmune disease and more all start with inflammation. The good news is, inflammation is manipulated by dietThis is because chronic inflammation is maintained by diet, and often caused by diet. So, understanding how to reduce inflammation throughout the body, through food and nutrition, will serve you and your family well through any minor and major health circumstances.
What is inflammation?
Inflammation is a natural process that occurs in our organs and tissues (where we can’t always see or feel it) when our immune system is activated to protect us from perceived threats (like injuries to tissues, or pathogenic microbes). It’s designed to make the affected area uninhabitable to the ‘intruder’, be that a bacteria, foreign toxin, or environmental pollutant.
When inflammation occurs, chemicals from white blood cells are released into the blood or tissues in an attempt to protect the body. This involves increased blood flow to the area, which can cause swelling or redness, and may stimulate nerves to cause pain. This is a well-intended immune response, designed to protect us, however if it is prolonged, over time it can damage the area. Substances in processed or unnatural foods are one of the things that can promote this ongoing chemical response. Conversely, a diet rich in anti-inflammatory nutrients is powerful in reducing the inflammatory response and reducing the risk of further disease.  

So, how do we identify signs of internal inflammation?
Symptoms and conditions of inflammation we know:

  • Fever

  • Redness

  • Swelling

  • Warm to touch

  • Joint pain or stiffness

  • Chills

Symptoms you may not have realised can be due to inflammation:

  • Fatigue/loss of energy

  • Headaches

  • Loss of appetite

  • Muscle stiffness or soreness

  • Stiffness of the joints

  • Premature ageing

  • Reduced immune function

    • Slow wound healing

    • Being prone to infections and irritations

    • Being prone to colds or flu

  • Poor digestion & bowel motility

  • Visible signs of redness, eg bloodshot eyes

  • Skin presentations, eg rashes, eczema, psoriasis

Ok, so you might have identified some likely inflammation in your body. Now how do you get rid of it? Is anti-inflammatory medication helpful? Nope, not really. These medications just aim to reduce the symptoms, without targeting what is causing the inflammation in the first place. And all medications come with a long list of side effects (which become ‘other effects’ when you take them repeatedly). You need to address the CAUSE of the inflammation. Anti-inflammatory medications lead to the problem worsening as you hide the symptoms without actually addressing the root cause. 

Fighting inflammation means:

  • Un-junk your diet.

    • Does your food contain ingredients you wouldn’t cook with?

    • How often do you eat flour based fluffy white foods (bread, pasta etc)?

    • How much of your diet comes from the supermarket aisles (in comparison to the fresh produce section)?

  • Address gut health.

    • Do you take regular medications? They harm the gut.

    • Do you have a history of antibiotics?

    • Do you eat organic when possible?

  • Reconsider your alcohol intake.

  • Address any toxicity issues - eg heavy metals or moulds (book a consult to arrange an assessment).

  • Quit processed sugars, and be mindful of excessive natural sugars.

  • Eliminate gluten.

  • Embrace healthy fats, eg. omega 3 fats

    • salmon, sardines, egg yolk, walnuts, flaxseed oil, unheated high quality olive oil.

  • Include organic dark green leafy vegetables daily.

    • Cooked is easier on a sensitive gut!

  • Ensure 2/3 of each meal is plant food.

    • Not including white potato!!

  • Ensure the quality of animal proteins is high.

    • If meat comes from an animal that led an unnatural factory farmed life, it is inflammatory and will cause your system to be inflamed too.

  • Don’t ignore protein! Your immune system, liver, brain and muscles need it.

  • Organic food is FAR superior to chemical laden inorganic foods. 

  • Research shows that Lion’s Mane & Chaga mushroom extracts can have incredible anti-inflammatory properties.

In addition to these dietary suggestions, a holistic approach to reducing inflammation requires stress reduction, exercise, healthy sweating, adding medicinal mushrooms into your daily routine, being in nature, and meditation. Massages are also a great idea.

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