The more we learn about health the more we understand that chronic inflammation is in the background of almost all illness. Whether you are dealing with diabetes, heart issues, headaches, chronic pain, excess weight, infections thyroid issues, hormone imbalances, gut concerns, dental issues, or cancer, they are all rooted in inflammation. To help healing we need to create an anti-inflammatory environment.
What is inflammation?
Inflammation is your bodies attempt to protect itself and maintain balance. It is like an internal fire, protecting you. In small doses it keeps you healthy, helps you fight off a cold or heal an injury, but it can quickly get out of control. When we are exposed to chronic triggers of inflammation – like poor diet or inflammatory foods, chronic infections, stress, poor sleep, obesity, chemicals in our environment, or prescription medications, we fuel that fire, growing the inflammatory response, leading to systemic symptoms of illness.
So what can we do?
Creating an anti-inflammatory environment requires addressing many aspects, including:
1. Optimize Digestion
Inflammation and poor digestion go together. In many cases the primary trigger to chronic inflammation is in the gut. Improving diet and removing inflammatory foods like dairy, gluten, and sugar is critical. A food allergy test can help identify specific food intolerances that may be contributing to inflammation in your system. I work with all my patients to address digestive issues and get this system working optimally.
2. Stress Reducing Practices
Chronic stress increases cortisol, catecholamines, and other inflammatory chemicals in the body. Cultivating daily practices that reduce stress are critical to reducing inflammation. Consider incorporating some of these practices: Daily walks in nature, meditation, maintaining a positive and grateful mindset, social time with friends, adequate sleep, and exercise.
3. Remove Infections
If you are dealing with acute of chronic infections you are living in a state of inflammation. It is important to remove these infections so your body can heal. I work with patients to create a treatment plan that supports the immune system and clears infections.
4. Anti-inflammatory Supplements
There are many herbs, nutrients, and botanicals that can reduce and modulate the inflammatory response. In a state of chronic inflammation these can be powerful tools to break the inflammatory cycle. Ideally, working with a Naturopathic doctor to identify which supplements are right for you is the best option. In general, Turmeric, Omega-3 fatty acids, Probiotics, Ginger, Vitamin D, and Bromelain, are all powerful anti-inflammatory agents.
5. Reduce Toxins In Your Environment
Evaluate the products you use and are exposed to on a daily basis. Before leaving the house in the morning the average person uses 10 different products, all of which contain chemicals, exposing themselves to around 100 different toxins. All before noon! Soaps, cleansers, lotions, nail polish, deodorants, perfumes/colognes, toothpaste, mouthwash, makeup, household cleaners, laundry detergents – these can all contain carcinogens and toxins that your liver has to process, increasing the inflammatory load. Consider switching to a natural alternative when the product runs out or reducing the number of products you use.