Inflammation has a time and a place. It is a very valuable process in place to facilitate healing, but when occurring for long standing periods of time will contribute to many illnesses and uncomfortable symptoms.
Inflammation may be acute or chronic, barely noticeable or completely debilitating.
Short term inflammatory examples include having a sore throat, or a raised red lump on your shin where you whacked it on the coffee table. Examples of long term inflammation can include conditions such as Ulcerative Colitis and Osteoarthritis. Most autoimmune conditions feature a strong inflammatory picture.
You can tell that in the short term instances, inflammation is helpful and will lead to healing and repair, but in cases of inflammatory illness it may take a little more work to find solutions.
If your body loses its ability to respond to inflammation adequately, then working with a Naturopath can assist by working on processes in your body that may be malfunctioning and enabling a chronic state of inflammation.
Things that can may need working on include:
Your immune system: in cases of autoimmunity, a process of your immune system changes and begins to attack a specific cell or function of your body. In this case, chronic inflammation can arise
Your cortisol levels: cortisol usually has an anti-inflammatory action in the body by binding to specific receptors. In chronic stress, your cortisol levels can elevate and remain high for long periods of time. When this happens these anti-inflammatory receptors lose their sensitivity to cortisol, and it can begin binding to different pro-inflammatory receptors, inducing inflammatory processes throughout the body
Your diet: it’s no secret that your dietary intake can influence so many factors of your health. Consuming lots of processed food, alcohol, sugars and trans fats will increase inflammation in your body. See an example of a basic anti-inflammatory diet at the end of this blog.
Your sleep: Disturbed and irregular sleep can contribute to inflammation by reducing your resilience to stress and increasing your cortisol response. Your adrenals can become over worked if you don’t have quality restorative sleep overnight. Poor sleep and energy levels can encourage your adrenals to pump out lots of cortisol to keep you going through the day.
Your blood sugar control: elevated blood sugars are inflammatory, specifically to your kidneys, eyes circulatory and nervous systems. These areas contain small and fragile capillaries which are damaged by too much glucose in the blood. Degradation of these organs and systems is a hallmark of uncontrolled diabetes. Basically, too much sugar will be inflammatory both in your diet and in your blood.
Your gut lining: consuming an inflammatory processed diet will cause a degree of inflammation to your gut lining. Gluten found in wheat can also aggravate inflammation in the gut. Your microbiome is made up of trillions of gut bacteria that are really important for taking care of this lining. A diet high in sugar and low in fibre can lead to dysbiosis in your microbiome, which can lead to development of food intolerances, mood issues and skin conditions.
If you think you are experiencing a degree of chronic inflammation, there are many tests that can be performed to investigate what is going on. These range from standard pathology blood tests, to functional tests such as stool testing, salivary hormone testing and IgG food intolerance testing. Please let me know if you have any questions on these: firstname.lastname@example.org
Basic Anti inflammatory diet:
- Limit red meat to 1 serve per week
- Limit dairy intake – with an exception of a small amount of fermented dairy such as yogurt or kefir
- Limit wheat intake
- Limit shellfish consumption
- Limit alcohol consumption
- Limit caffeine intake
- Avoid processed sugar, trans fats and artificial colours and flavours.
- An abundance of vegetables – veggies at every meal
- 3 pieces of fruit per day
- Aim to consume a rainbow of plants – include all colours
- Lots of oily fish
- Plant proteins such as lentils, beans, legumes, tofu and tempeh
- Filtered water, mineral water
- Vegetable juices
For more information on how you can reduce your inflammation, send me an email!