Combating Inflammation: Everything You Need To Know
Jessica Leslie | | 0 comments
Inflammation is part of a healthy immune response. When tissues are injured by bacteria, toxins, or another potential threat, the damaged cells release chemicals (namely histamine). Histamine and other chemical messengers cause blood vessels to send fluids into the damaged tissues, inducing swelling or inflammation.
However, this response can be triggered for the “wrong” reasons such as certain foods, pollution, chronic stress, and other lifestyle factors.
Symptoms of Inflammation
Because in western culture we typically do not address our health until we feel like something is wrong, many of us may suffer from minor symptoms of chronic inflammation and may not even know it. Moreover, chronic inflammation presents in a variety of systemic symptoms, making it difficult to realize there may be one root cause. Symptoms of chronic inflammation can include:
- Skin rashes
- Brain fog
- Digestive issues
- Anxiety/ depression
- Sore joints and muscles
- Weight gain
Chronic inflammation does not just compromise your day-to-day quality of life, it can also have serious health consequences in the long run. Research shows that chronic inflammation is linked to an increased risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, diseases related to chronic inflammation account for 50% of global deaths annually.
In considering any chronic inflammation issues that may be leaving you feeling suboptimal, we have outlined potential causes of inflammation and ways to alleviate this issue:
Limit Toxin Exposure
92% of the world’s population lives in areas where air pollution exceeds safety limits, according to the World Health Organization. If toxins are absorbed in the lungs, they can elicit an inflammatory immune response in an attempt to destroy the pathogen.
Air pollution is not the only contributor to toxin exposure as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that people have an average of 500 environmental chemicals in their bodies. These chemicals can come from beauty products, cleaning supplies, food packaging, and so much more.
If you are interested in measuring your exposure to toxins, consider our advanced Environmental Toxins At-Home Test Kit, which is a thorough panel of 39 of the most inflammatory environmental toxins.
As our founder and CEO, Dr. Darshan Shah says, “You can’t change what you can’t measure.”
Alcohol can cause short-term and chronic inflammation. Because alcohol is metabolized in the gut, it can disrupt tissue in the gastrointestinal tract. As a result, excessive alcohol consumption can cause chronic inflammation, which quickly leads to other problems throughout the body, most commonly joint swelling and arthritis.
Similarly, tobacco use is known for inducing inflammation. Nicotine activates the release of immune cells, white blood cells, which in turn release molecules that increase inflammation.
Therefore, it is best to minimize or eliminate any alcohol and tobacco use to avoid eliciting an inflammatory response.
Stress can also induce inflammation throughout the body. Although the direct link between stress and inflammation is complex and somewhat unclear, a review published in June 2017 in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience concluded that inflammation is a common pathway of stress-related diseases. The opposite is also true: there is extensive evidence that those who apply stress management tips and relaxation techniques experience a decrease in overall inflammation.
Therefore, make sure you prioritize taking time for yourself to decompress and not allow daily stressors to take a toll on your health.
Learn about tips to practice mindfulness, relaxation, and self-care here
Diet is arguably one of the most influential factors in regard to inflammation levels. Diet can be one of the main contributors to inflammation but it can also be one of the most effective tools you have to combat it.
In addition to alcohol, there are numerous foods and beverages that are a normalized part of a western diet that can lead to health issues in the long run.
Processed foods, refined sugar, trans fats, gluten, and even dairy can induce an inflammatory response in the gut, which in turn can cause inflammation throughout the body.
If your diet mainly consists of packaged foods and pre-made meals, it may be time to consider an anti-inflammatory diet. One of the best ways to kick start an anti-inflammatory is through fasting-mimicking diets or intermittent fasting. Fasting is an effective way to remove cellular waste from your system as it can increase the production of enzymes involved in detoxification. Because of such benefits, fasting has become one of the latest crazes in the health and wellness realm.
There are a variety of different ways to practice intermittent fasting, all of which are based on set time windows to eat and fast. One common practice is only eating during an eight-hour period each day, allowing you to fast for the remainder. This is thought to prolong the period when your body has burned through the calories consumed at a meal and begins to burn fat.
If you are looking for structured fasting programs, there are functional meal plan kits such as Daily Dose that ship straight to your door.
Foods high in antioxidants, such as blueberries, strawberries, pecans, artichokes, and more, are great at combating inflammation. Antioxidants help repair the cellular damage that results from oxidative stress (hence the name antioxidant).
Ginger is becoming increasingly popular due to its variety of health benefits but has been used as a natural remedy for hundreds of years. Ginger is particularly effective in aiding in the digestion system as it can reduce nausea, bloating, and gas. This is because antioxidants in ginger help combat the damage of harmful substances in the digestive tract, reducing inflammation.
Avocado is packed with antioxidants, which bind to free radicals (toxic molecules) that strain your detoxification pathways. Moreover, avocados contain over 20 different vitamins and minerals that support overall health and lower your risk of diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and more.
Full of flavor and health benefits, garlic is a potent antiviral, antibacterial, and antibiotic. This is because it contains a chemical called allicin, which promotes the production of white blood cells that fight against toxins and inflammation. It is important to note that cooked or processed garlic is likely to lose these qualities, thus, it is best to eat raw garlic for optimal anti-inflammatory properties.
Tea made with all-natural, high-quality ingredients can aid in ridding your body of toxins that elicit an inflammatory response. Herbal teas that contain phytonutrients can help support metabolic function, streamline liver function, and support a healthy gut lining. It is important to note that it is best to opt for loose-leaf tea to avoid introducing microplastics into your system (which trigger an inflammatory response).
Berries such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and others are packed with antioxidants, specifically anthocyanins. This compound is known to have potent anti-inflammatory properties and reduce the risk of inflammatory-related diseases.
Other Anti-Inflammatory Foods:
- Fatty fish
- Peppers (red peppers)
- Dark chocolate
It is important to note that our bodies are complex and unique, meaning not all anti-inflammatory foods will be the solution for everyone. In fact, “healthy” foods can lead to suboptimal health due to food sensitivities.
Food sensitivities can elicit a minor inflammatory response, contributing to symptoms such as bloating, digestive issues, skin problems, mood disturbances, and other symptoms that compromise your quality of life.
The Next Health Food Sensitivity Test is a simple at-home finger-prick test or a blood draw at one of our locations that will help our medical experts determine what foods you may be sensitive to. This test is incredibly thorough as it measures your immune response to over 96 different foods.
Remember, just because you are currently sensitive to a food, does not mean you have to eliminate it from your diet forever. After working with our medical experts to improve your gut health, it is likely you will alleviate some sensitivities.
Equally important to identifying the foods you should eliminate from your diet is identifying the foods that you are not sensitive to. This provides more dietary freedom to enjoy foods that you might be unnecessarily avoiding.
For those interested in advanced medical services to significantly improve your inflammation levels, consider Ozone Therapy.
Ozone infusions involve the separation and oxygenation of your blood. This process encourages bio-rejuvenation, which has the potential to reduce inflammation and enhance your overall sense of wellness.
Other potential benefits may include:
- Stimulating the immune system
- Improving circulation
- Aiding in detoxification
- Delaying the effects of aging
- Rejuvenating overall health
Last but not least, cryotherapy is the fastest way to reduce inflammation. In just three minutes, the -150 degree temperatures trigger blood vessels to constrict and decrease circulation, limiting the ability of immune cells to inflame tissue throughout the body. This is why cold therapy and ice baths are known to be great for post-workout recovery.
Plus, after you may experience a variety of benefits including:
- Supported immunity
- Promoted collagen production
- Enhanced energy
- Improved mental clarity
- Stress relief
- And so much more
“Achieving” a health goal such as lowering and combating inflammation levels can be difficult to do on your own. Our medical experts and wellness team are here to empower you to achieve optimal health and answer any questions you may have along the way.
Have questions about what may be the best way for you to reduce inflammation and achieve other health goals? Request a complimentary consult today