Inflammation is at the root of so many health concerns it’s hard to keep track. When it comes to prevention, living an anti-inflammatory lifestyle could be one of the most profound things you do. Fortunately, for many of us, turning down the volume on chronic inflammation can be as simple as adjusting a few lifestyle habits and loading up on anti-inflammatory foods. We asked functional medicine leader, Dr. Mark Hyman to help us understand why this issue matters so much and how to deal with inflammation in our daily lives.
Inflammation is part of the body’s natural defense system against infection, irritation, toxins and foreign molecules. When your body detects problems like these, a cascade of events occurs in which white blood cells and chemicals called cytokines (the messenger molecules of your immune system) mobilize to protect you from foreign invaders.
In this capacity, inflammation is a good thing. It fights disease, toxins and other foreign invaders.
Normally, the immune system produces just enough inflammation to keep infections, allergens, toxins or other stressors under control. However, However, when the natural balance of your immune system is disrupted, the immune system shifts into a chronic state of alarm spreading a smoldering fire of inflammation throughout the body.
In essence, the part of your immune system that is designed to protect you from foreign invaders starts attacking the cells and tissues of your own body. When this happens it can cause major problems.
There are a few final causes that everyone in medicine (even most conventional medicine practitioners) agree are the sources of all diseases. Inflammation is one of them. Every specialty in medicine has recognized the link between inflammation and chronic illness.
Today, we are all on fire and the effects are staggering. Autoimmune conditions, asthma, cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and more are all inflammatory diseases.
When the fires of inflammation spread to the brain, it causes depression, dementia, autism, Alzheimer’s and more. Most psychological and neurological problems are fire in the brain.
Some of the causes of inflammation are:
An inflammatory diet
Food allergens—delayed reactions to food or hidden allergens
Imbalances in digestive function and the gut immune system
Toxins such as mercury and pesticides
Low grade, hidden or chronic infections
Stress — emotional or physical, such as trauma
Inadequate sleep — less than seven hours a night
Nutritional deficiencies, such as vitamin C, B vitamins, vitamin D, zinc and omega-3 fats
Chronic inflammation can also cause something called leaky gut, where undigested molecules of food you would normally have no problem processing leak through the wall of your gut into your immune system, setting off a cascade of inflammatory effects.
Cooling the fires of inflammation actually isn’t as hard as it sounds once you know how to do it. In fact, it’s staggeringly simple. You just have to eliminate the bad stuff and add the good stuff.
What’s The Best Way To Deal With Inflammation?
Increase The Good Stuff:
Real, whole, hormone- and pesticide-free foods
Love, community, connection
eat anti-inflammatory foods:
Sometimes we need to dig a little deeper with the help of a functional medicine practitioner, but often times learning how to deal with inflammation can be as simple as this.
The Chalkboard Mag and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. All material on The Chalkboard Mag is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programs.