We’re told from a young age that every decision you make molds what your future will hold. The same is true for your health. Every day you make a lifestyle choice when deciding what you will eat. For breakfast, do you eat eggs with fruit or do you go to the McDonald’s drive thru for an Egg McMuffin? For dinner, do you eat a chicken salad with veggies or a greasy cheeseburger? Your diet directly correlates with your health following the famous saying, “you are what you eat”. Your daily choices can be the cause of chronic inflammation. When you start making renovations to your life like removing fast foods, toxins, and stressful relationships, you can be left with a healthier immune system and decreased chronic inflammation.
It’s important to note that inflammation is not always a bad thing. Acute inflammation is the body’s natural and helpful response to an injury or tissue damage. When you cut your finger or scrape your knee, you notice the injured area will swell and redden. This is a healthy response and let’s you know that your immune system is busy at work repairing the damaged cells. However, chronic inflammation is your body’s unhealthy and damaging response to environmental, physical, or mental invaders like poor diet, toxic chemicals, or stress.
Chronic inflammation is triggered by numerous factors most of which can be avoided. Just a few of the major factors are listed below:
- Poor dietary choices
- Gut health issues
- Food allergies
- Chronic infection (bacteria, viruses, parasites)
- Sedentary lifestyle
Over time if not addressed, chronic inflammation wears out your immune system leading to chronic diseases and autoimmune disorders such as cancer, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, and in fact ages you. These chronic conditions are then treated with medications or surgery, which relieve the symptoms but may not treat the underlying cause.
There are numerous ways to treat chronic inflammation, but you must find out which ones are causing your body grief. Here are some pointers, but these suggestions should never take the place of a trained medical professional.
- Eat more plant-based, whole, and nutrient dense foods. You should cut out all processed foods, cut back on sugar and salt, and animal products. Replace these with plant-based whole foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
- Focus on gut health. Your gut holds about 60-70 percent of your immune system, so it’s reasonable to focus on this area to reduce chronic inflammation. You should start taking a probiotic supplement daily that contains active cultures.
- Identify food allergies and hidden toxins. Start by eliminating all common allergies (like gluten, soy, dairy) from your diet, then slowly reintroduce them one by one. You should take note of the way your body reacts as you starting eating each one again. Chronic infections (parasites, bacteria, viruses) could be the culprit of chronic inflammations. Having blood work done is a great tool to diagnose allergies and chronic infections.
- Rest and relax. Stress increases the hormone cortisol in your body, which causes chronic inflammation. It’s recommended to get about 7-8 hours of sleep each night for optimal health. Relaxation techniques like yoga, meditation, and walking are great ways to de-stress.
- Reduce toxins in your food, home, and personal care products. Cut down on toxin exposure by eating organic foods and choosing nontoxic personal care and cleaning products.