Monday, January 19, 2015

Chronic Inflammation

Inflammation is the body's natural way to fight infection and respond to harmful organisms, irritants, damaged tissue or toxins.  In a healthy, well-nourished body, this natural response to this temporary problem should result in a system-wide "all clear" within a few days or weeks.

Food, stress levels and ongoing toxin overloads are some of the primary decision makers in whether your body uses inflammation, fever and other healing pathways for a short season, then subsides or whether your body goes into a state of chronic inflammation which brings in another level of trouble and poor health. 

Sadly, we often look at health problems as something to be gotten rid of, not a warning signal that there is something amiss in our body, our environment or our mental state (meaning staying in a place of high stress and not addressing the cause).

Diets high in sugar, saturated fat and overprocessed foods can spur inflammation.  This can cause overactivity in the immune system, which can lead to joint pain, fatigue, and damage to the blood vessels, which is often step one, two and three in a downward spiral of poor health.

The typical Western diet – high in processed foods, refined starches, added sugars and animal fats and low in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and omega-3 fatty acids – fuels inflammation, according to a 2006 paper in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Choosing to apply toxic substances to our skin, hair and environment, breathing in toxic fumes, can all exacerbate the problem of inflammation as your system must be in overdrive all of the time.  Smog, pollution, dust, mold....  all problematic.
Living in a world of chronic stress... aka "the modern world" also brings its own set of damage inducing inflammation.  Lack of sleep, lack of quiet, lack of community, lack of being "unplugged" EVER..... some of the modern stresses so many of us deal with.
Perhaps today, make a different choice.  Choose to shut off some of the stress.  Choose to stay away from the chemical bath that the modern world offers us.  Look at your toothpaste, your shampoo, your soap, your lotion, your cleaning products.   If you would not eat them, don't put them on your skin or breathe their fumes.  Choose to eat wholesome, nutrient-dense, slow cooked, soaked, REAL food today.  Visit a farmer's market, talk to the small farmers about what they do to produce food.  They are almost universally knowledgeable.  Embark on a balanced exercise program, play, turn off and tune out for a while.  Allow your body to settle down and come to a more natural place.

Foods, spices, savory things and oils are a potent, long-term way to activate your immune system into a proper response and to provide a proper level of healing and long-term vibrant health.  The lists below are certainly not an exhaustive list, just some suggestions
Some of the foods which can help minimize chronic inflammation, please note:  This is assuming that the foods are organic, non GMO and properly prepared in a nutrient dense fashion:
Avocado, dark leafy greens, soaked walnuts and almonds, sweet and hot peppers, olives, olive oil, coconut oil, sweet potatoes, beets, beet greens, unsweetened dark berries, cacao, red grapes, broccoli, tart apples, citrus, chia seeds, red cabbage, celery, whole, soaked grains, fermented foods and liquids, high quality, minimally processed sea or harvested salt, wild caught salmon, grass fed beef, poultry.
Some of the spices and savory things which can help with chronic inflammation:
Turmeric, ginger, basil, onion, garlic, oregano, mint, cumin, cilantro, parsley, rosemary, black peppercorn, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg.
Some of the oils which can help with chronic inflammation:
Oregano, fennel, clove, thyme, wintergreen, myrrh, frankincense, camomile, tea tree oil, lavender.
Remember, this is just a starting place.  Primarily it is important to remember that what we eat, breathe and put onto our skin is what fuels our body. Give it good fuel.  Avoid fuel that clogs up the system.  Go simple, go clean, go vibrantly healthy.