Taming Inflammation: How It’s Affecting Your Health and What You Can Do About It!

Blog Health Taming Inflammation: How It’s Affecting Your Health and What You Can Do About It!

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4.8.2022 0 comments

Inflammation is a common enemy we all share.

Literally every human being (and animal) alive experiences low-grade chronic inflammation on a daily basis, with more noticeable acute inflammation as the body’s natural response to injuries and internal damage.

Inflammation is your body’s way of protecting against further injury and “supporting” damaged internal components (organs, bones, joints, muscles, etc.). However, though it has a positive short-term effect, in the long-term, it can decrease the function of every cell in your body—essentially decreasing body function overall.

Over time, it can cause your health to deteriorate and contribute to a wide range of diseases.

In this post, we’re going to talk about inflammation and how it negatively affects you, but we’ll also end with practical, actionable steps you can take to combat it in your daily life. Inflammation may be a “normal” internal bodily function, but you can counteract it and prevent it from impairing your health.

How Inflammation Negatively Affects Your Body

Chronic inflammation—resulting from stress, pollution, environmental toxins, exposure to chemicals, allergens, and artificial foods—can directly cause or contribute to a wide range of health problems [1]:

Diabetes – Inflammation works against insulin, making it less effective at doing its job of encouraging your liver and muscles to absorb glucose from your bloodstream. As insulin becomes less effective, your pancreas tries to produce more in order to maintain a healthy blood glucose balance. This leads to drastic spikes and crashes in your blood glucose, which contributes to insulin resistance and Type 2 Diabetes.

Obesity – Fat cells are capable of producing cytokines, chemicals similar to those produced by your immune system to kill off invading pathogens. Unfortunately, cytokines produced by fat cells attract more cytokines and inflammatory cells, until the cells are “crushed to death”. This damage attracts even more inflammatory cells, which just keeps the cycle going. Inflammation as a result of fat cells can lead to serious weight gain—to the point of obesity.

Cognitive Health – Infections during pregnancy can trigger an inflammatory response that negatively affects the way a fetus’ brain develops, leading to a higher risk of autism and schizophrenia.

Heart Disease – Inflammation can lead to dysfunction of HDL cholesterol, the “good” cholesterol that reduces the presence of “bad” LDL cholesterol. Though HDL cholesterol has anti-inflammatory benefits, widespread inflammation may be too much for it to combat, and thus it cannot function properly to keep your cardiovascular system clear and prevent the build-up of cholesterol.

Viral Infections – The body responds to viral infections by triggering the natural inflammatory response, which is intended to overwhelm and paralyze the virus so the body can send “virus killers” to eliminate the problem. Unfortunately, even after the virus is reduced, the inflammation remains for much longer and can contribute to “co-morbid” conditions (like kidney disease, diabetes, and heart disease), as well as neurocognitive disorders and brain degeneration. The chronic inflammation resulting from viral infections can lead to long-term health consequences.

Cancer – Some types of cancer (particularly breast and colon cancers) are able to “hijack” the body’s natural proliferation of inflammatory cells, which means they’re able to spread throughout the body “riding on the back of” inflammation. This can contribute to faster tumor growth and metastasis, as well as change the way tumor cells behave.

As you can see, inflammation is NO JOKE! It’s a serious problem that you A) need to be aware of and B) take active steps to combat.

The good news is that you can tame inflammation. It will take some effort on your part, but it can be done, and you’ll enjoy noticeably better overall health and longevity as a result.

Here are some of the best ways to tame inflammation:

  1. Reduce sugar intake. Sugar has powerful inflammatory effects and is a “toxin” that you voluntarily expose yourself to on a daily basis. Curb sugar intake—or eliminate it from your diet completely—to reduce inflammation.

  2. Eliminate processed food. “Junk food” and all processed foods are loaded with chemicals your body can’t begin to digest, and which will be treated like “invaders” and trigger an inflammatory response.

  3. Cut allergens and toxins. Foods that cause allergies and trigger intolerances or sensitivities will lead to chronic inflammation—chiefly in your digestive system, but throughout your whole body. Try an “elimination diet” and avoid all potentially allergenic foods to see how your body responds, and figure out if you’re sensitive or intolerant to a particular food.

  4. Eat natural. Whole, organic, raw fruits, veggies, grains, nuts, and seeds are absolutely vital for your health and can counteract and prevent inflammation.

  5. Exercise daily. Exercise will encourage weight loss, decrease fat cells, and prevent chronic inflammation. It can also regulate insulin and blood sugar, eliminate LDL cholesterol, and increase your health significantly.

  6. Take care of your oral health. Bacteria in your mouth can trigger chronic inflammation in unexpected places, including your brain [2] and heart [3]. Step up your efforts to maintain healthy gums and teeth in order to prevent inflammation!

Taking care of internal and external sources of inflammation is critical in order to achieve strong health and longevity.

Resources:

[1] https://medschool.vanderbilt.edu/vanderbilt-medicine/the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly-of-inflammation/

[2] https://www.healthline.com/health-news/bacteria-in-your-mouth-can-find-its-way-to-your-brain

[3] https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/heart-disease-prevention/faq-20057986#:~:text=Gum%20disease%20(periodontitis)%20is%20associated,you%20have%20artificial%20heart%20valves.

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