Understanding Inflammation – The Good and the Bad
Inflammation serves a critical purpose. It helps fight off serious threats and illnesses in your body. Inflammation activates an immune response and a healing response. If you have ever cut your finger and noticed it got red that is the inflammatory response triggering the immune system to start the healing process. That is good inflammation.
However, in excess, inflammation can lead to life threatening conditions. Over 60% of Americans have been diagnosed with or live with chronic inflammation conditions such as Type 1 & 2 Diabetes, autoimmune disorders, several cardiovascular conditions, lupus, thyroid disorders, fibromyalgia, Crohn’s disease, arthritis, IBS, Alzheimer’s, inflammatory bowel diseases, Multiple Sclerosis, Psoriasis, Parkinson’s disease, Osteoarthritis, thyroid disease, Rheumatoid arthritis, several cancers, just to name a few. The list goes on and on. Chronic inflammation accelerates aging.
For people in the overweight and obese categories this is extremely dangerous because their body produces an extreme number of inflammatory proteins that store in the fat cells and tell their bodies to store more fat putting obese and overweight individuals at an exceedingly high risk for life threatening conditions such as diabetes, heart conditions, stroke, and many auto immune diseases. When a person is overweight and in a constant state of inflammation the immune system goes into overdrive and can produce inflammatory proteins called cytokines which can potentially result in severe tissue damage and organ shut down.
Since lifestyle choices are the number one cause of chronic inflammation, lifestyle choices are also the number one cure for chronic inflammatory conditions. Ways to improve “bad” inflammation would start with adjusting your lifestyle. You can hack your immune system with your choices and behaviors. Eliminate the negative choices and incorporate healthier decisions and take control of your life and body back. Steps you can take that would make an immediate difference:
- Change what you eat! Eliminate sugar, dairy, gluten, and alcohol. Minimize your meat intake to only 2- 3 servings of lean meat a week. Increase your fruit and vegetable servings and make them the main source of food intake.
- Get enough sleep. Your body need 7-8 hours of sleep to regenerate and heal.
- Water, water, water! Drink at least half of your body weight in oz. If you are 150lbs you need at least 75 oz of water to stay hydrated. This is a big benefit to your health in more ways than you can imagine. Dehydration contributes to chronic inflammation.
- Get moving! Introduce healthy routines such as yoga, walking, and exercise at least 3 times a week.
- Reduce stress by using deep breathing exercises to improve lung function and stress relief.
- Meditate! Not only good for relaxing but meditation helps to program healthy habits back into your life. There are many encouraging meditations on You Tube.
- See your primary care physician on a regular basis to stay on top of your health.
- PREVENTION is the best approach. Be proactive about your body and health.
Love and care for your body and your body will love and care for you!