Inflammation is actually a healthy response that our body uses to heal itself from a virus, injury or harmful infection. Our immune system rushes to our aid sending proteins and antibodies to protect cells and tissues. This is a helpful and appropriate reaction by the body.
Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, is an unhealthy reaction by the body. This occurs when the body is overloaded and burdened by toxins, stress, harmful bacteria and infection. As a result, the immune system quickly becomes over stimulated by the load and can no longer tell the difference between you and the foreign invader. The immune system has an inappropriate response and starts to attack healthy cells.
Chronic inflammation is the root cause of many of today’s illnesses:
- Heart disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Chronic fatigue
Preventing chronic inflammation is a matter of introducing diet and lifestyle changes and incorporating key supplements. Below are four suggestions to help you on your journey to better health.
1. Supplement with Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3s are probably the most widely researched nutrient and it has been scientifically proven that they effectively reduce inflammation in the body. The omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA are found mainly in fish, while ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) is found in nuts and seeds.
Omega-3 fatty acids have a powerful anti-inflammatory action in the body. As the body is unable to make Omega-3s on its own, using a supplement is an excellent way to reduce and prevent inflammation.
As well as supplementation, foods high in Omega-3s include (but is not limited to):
- Atlantic mackerel
- Wild-caught salmon
- Chia seeds
- Hemp seeds
2. Take inflammation-fighting probiotics
Current research clearly shows that probiotics have the ability to reduce inflammation in the body. By now we all know that 70% of our immune cells reside in the gut. It is no wonder that we can strengthen and regulate our immune system by improving gut health with the use of probiotic supplementation.
Twenty clinical trials were summarized in a recent study , and it was found that probiotics lower the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein. Many different strains of probiotics have the ability to lower inflammation. For example, Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum are highly beneficial strains. A special mention goes to Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, which has been extensively studied and shown to powerfully stimulate the immune response.
When taking probiotics it is also important to focus on overall gut health in order to facilitate the best possible outcome. Knowing which foods are best suited to your body is important.
The following articles on gut health will help you to reduce inflammation:
3. Reduce stress with exercise and relaxation
Ongoing stress can have a devastating impact on our health. Stress immediately raises cortisol, the primary stress hormone. This is the fight-or-flight response that can wreck havoc on our body by raising blood pressure, increasing heart rate, activating the sympathetic nervous system, shutting down digestion and creating an imbalance in gut bacteria.
As you can imagine, our immune system quickly becomes over stimulated by all of the stressful activity in the body. The solution? Regularly engage in moderate exercise and relaxation as a way to keep cortisol in check.
Moderate exercise is recommended because over-training or pushing your body beyond its limits can raise cortisol levels. However, many people find High Interval Training a successful strategy. The objective is to enjoy regular exercise that leaves you feeling energized.
Relaxation is vital to reducing stress and keeping your fight-or-flight response at bay. Meditation, yoga or any activity that calms the mind and the body will benefit your health.
4. Reduce your exposure to toxins
Our body can quickly become overloaded when exposed to multiple toxins everyday in our home, food and environment. When the liver is burdened by toxins and can no longer function efficiently it creates inflammation and disease in the body. The liver is our main detoxification organ and we can support our body’s own detoxification processes by reducing our toxic load.
Simple ways to reduce our exposure to toxins:
- Eat organic whenever possible and use the Clean Fifteen list
- Only use natural skin care products
- Make your own cleaning products using essential oils
- Purify the air in your home with beeswax candles
The good news is that we have the power to take back our own health and you can dramatically reduce inflammation in the body by following these suggestions. Not only will you look and feel better, but many other areas of your life often improve as your health improves.