What is inflammation?
What is inflammation? Is it all bad news? Why is there inflammation in the body and what can we do about it?
Inflammation is part of the body’s defense mechanism against something harmful, irritating, like viruses or toxins. If regulated and under control, inflammation is an important component of the immune system function which is necessary for fighting pathogens and healing from injuries.
We are all aware of the signs of acute inflammation such as redness, swelling and pain. These symptoms are more noticeable. Chronic inflammation can have more subtle symptoms. If not addressed, it can spread throughout the body and have damaging effects on our health. Almost every chronic disease, from diabetes, heart disease, depression, digestive issues to fatigue and brain fog is linked to inflammation.
When the root cause has been addressed and cleared away, as in the case of a virus or an allergic reaction, the inflammation subsides and everything goes back to normal. However, if the inflammatory process goes on for too long or if it occurs in places where it is not needed, that becomes problematic.
What are the causes of the chronic inflammation?
There is no simple or easy answer to this question. We often find a combination of multiple factors such as poor diet, food sensitivities, exposure to toxins, nutritional deficiencies, gut imbalances, certain medications, inadequate sleep, chronic stress, a sedentary lifestyle, or low grade infections.
Work with your Functional Medicine doctor to guide you through a personalized, targeted approach to identify the causes of inflammation in your body and to achieve better health.
The 5 essential things to fight off inflammation:
All these are essential to maintain health and balance and sometimes all that’s needed is simply making some lifestyle changes.
The easiest thing we can do to maintain and improve our health is to change our diet. Food can be either the problem or the solution. Clean up your diet!
- Avoid processed food, sugars, packaged foods.
- Opt for dark leafy greens, wild-caught salmon, sardines, mushrooms, almonds, whole grains, healthy fat sources.
- Eat brightly colored fruits and vegetables.
- Add spices and herbs to your diet. Rosemary, turmeric, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, cayenne, clove, black pepper are well known anti-inflammatory spices.
Still, changing the diet or trying to identify food sensitivities can be a difficult process for most of us, and you may need help, assistance, guidance and a pertinent medical approach. Here, at Restore Balance Integrative Medicine, doctor Anca Sisu works with each patient on a personalized diet program while identifying the cause of the inflammation.
2. Remove toxins from your food and environment.
Most conventional food production uses pesticides, which exposes us to different levels of pesticide residues. Knowing when to choose organic versus conventional produce is extremely important. Every year The Environmental Working Group (EWG) publishes a guide of the items most important to buy organic.
A comprehensive list can be found here »
Choose non toxic, natural cleaning products for your house. We found a fantastic resource on easy to follow DIY cleaning products on Greatist.com »
4. Stress Management.
Work on reducing your response to stress. It is well known that chronic, high levels of stress can have a damaging effect on health. Removing ourselves from toxic, stressful situations and relationships when possible, walks in nature, practicing yoga and or meditation can be extremely beneficial for lowering our levels of inflammation.
More on the benefits of managing stress and inflammation can be found here, on ifm.org »
A healthy sleep routine is essential. Sleep and immune function have the same regulator. Poor sleep triggers inflammation. The best way to maintain a good sleep hygiene is by following these simple rules: having a consistent sleep schedule, avoiding heavy meals and alcohol before bedtime, and maintaining a healthy sleep environment.
For a comprehensive holistic assessment and treatment plans, request and appointment with Dr Sisu today!