Muscle aches, joint pain. Gastrointestinal discomfort. Stress, anxiety, depression and insomnia. What do these symptoms all have in common? Chronic inflammation.
How do we get chronic inflammation? When the body’s first line of healing refuses to turn off due to constant stress, the disturbance can be a physical, mental or emotional breakdown. Physiologically, the body’s blood vessels dilate to allow blood, immune cells, nutrients and other molecules that aid in cleaning up damaged tissues to easily access the area in need. While required to initiate the healing process, concerns arise when this process doesn’t stop, and pro inflammatory immune cells continue to flood the body.
This continual offense, or chronic inflammation, has been linked to the development of many health concerns, including arthritis, autoimmune diseases, depression, generalized anxiety disorder, gastrointestinal upsets and even cardiovascular diseases. But sometimes the diagnoses are not always evident, including symptoms such as brain fog, congestion, fatigue and difficulties gaining or losing weight.
Pharmaceutical interventions can be used to decrease irritations but when it comes to avoiding chronic inflammation, preventive medicine plays an even more important role.
Here are five beneficial tips to combat chronic inflammation naturally.
No matter what your age, sleep is a necessity. During sleep your body goes to work repairing tissues that have undergone any micro traumas throughout the day. If difficulty sleeping throughout the night waking exhausted is a common occurrence here are some tricks to encourage a restful night’s sleep.
A regular routine is essential to a good night’s sleep. Try to stick to a bedtime. A set bedtime trains our bodies to get used to ‘powering down’ for the night making sleep come more easily. Second, stop all screen time two hours before bed. Screen time at bedtime wrecks havoc on the body’s circadian rhythm our internal biological clock. Affected by light, it tells the body when to be awake, sleep and eat. Computers, cell phones, tablets, and tv screens all emit blue wavelengths that mimic the sun’s natural emissions.
So if your body still thinks its daytime at bedtime, pineal gland functions decrease, inhibity the secretion of melatonin, restful sleep is difficult to achieve, and the body’s healing/repair time is shortening. Turning off our electronics two hours before bed prepares your body for sleep while ensuring proper melatonin production and secretion without having to take a supplement.
You literally are what you eat. In the simplest of terms Food truly is medicine and you can help heal your body through what you feed it.
The most inflammatory foods are sugars, corn syrup, refined carbohydrates, heavily processed meats and cheeses, fried foods and alcohol. These foods increase cytokine production (inflammation messengers) and saturated fats, which elevate LDL – cholesterol levels. When this happens, inflammation balloons.
Therefore it only makes sense that increasing your anti inflammatory food intake can help prevent the constant build up of inflammation in your body.
Foods that are anti inflammatory tend to contain a lot of antioxidants. These aid in the removal of cellular waste. Also known as free radicals.
The great thing is that these foods are naturally delicious! Dark chocolate contains natural antioxidants like resveratrol and epicatechin, and nutrients like magnesium and zinc which help promote muscular relaxation and cellular repair.
Wild caught, cold water fish like cod, salmon, tuna and sardines contain omega 3s, EPA and DHA which help with cognitive function, tissue repair and hormone production. And when we choose organic foods, we eliminate the pesticides, hormones and antibiotics that cause inflammation.
These additional toxins overwhelm the liver’s detox pathways, increasing the overall physiological burden.
Botanical medicine or herbal medicine can be incorporated into a daily routine to help decrease inflammation. Turmeric, ginger, green tea and cinnamon are common anti inflammatory botanicals, but new studies are emerging on hemp based CBD oil and its positive effects on reducing inflammation.
For example. I recently had a very bad case of stubborn eczema, around my mouth and under my eyes for many months that would not go away despite several trips to the dermatologist who prescribed topical ointments, steroids (ugh – avoid these at all costs!), creams, etc. After ditching all the traditional methods I did my own research and purchased some organic hemp seed oil from Amazon. After a couple of applications my stubborn eczema cleared up completely.
Research on the endocannabinoid system and cannabidoil have shown positive results. Still more research is needed to understand the different mechanisms of action that come into play. A 2009 study stated that cannabidiol, “increases production of eicosanoids that promote the resolution of inflammation. This differentiates these cannabinoids from clyclooxygenase-2inhibitors that suppress the synthesis of eicosanoids that promote the induction of the inflammatory process.” Another study mentioned that cannabidiol causes, “dys-regulation of cytokines productions” halting inflammation development.
Mind Body Techniques
Inflammation isn’t always due to physical trauma; it can also develop from mental/emotional trauma, like stress. Stress can trigger the inflammatory cascade as easily as a poor diet or a muscle strain. When the body encounters stress, it releases cytokines, which also helps to regulate metabolism.
When cytokines are released, anxiety and depression can occur along with a physiological inflammatory response in our bodies.
Take control of how the body processes life and become more mindful. Meditation, journaling, breath work and coloring are some of the few mind-body techniques that help improve mindfulness while cultivating a more efficient way to process through stressful life events.
Physical exercise is paramount and cannot be left off the list. When it comes to inflammation, exercise aids the body on so many levels. It helps to decrease physical and mental-emotional inflammation.
For those who do not already have a workout routine, incorporating just 30 minutes of heart pumping exercise a day will increase endurance, cardiovascular circulation, lymphatic drainage, cellular repair and detoxification, while also improving body fat percentage. Exercise also release feel good endorphins which in turn improve how you handle stress, anxiety and depression and in turn, decrease cognitive chronic inflammation.
Inflammation and stress are an inevitable part of life, but there are many ways to reduce it naturally and keep it under control. Pick one small change to incorporate daily and slowly build from there to increase your arsenal against chronic inflammation.
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