Inflammation: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
How do you think you’re doing in the inflammation department? There are signs and symptoms that you might not even recognize as inflammation! Often, I find people just tell me they are a part of aging or something they just “deal” with. Do you have aches and creaks when you get up in the morning or after sitting for any length of time? How about puffy eyes, sluggishness, digestive issues, food sensitivities, joint pain, unexplained weight gain, or any diagnosable health condition?
Inflammation is often at the core of these issues, and it’s a contributing factor to many of our health-related issues. Not all inflammation is bad. Inflammation is our body’s response to injury, and that inflammation is necessary for healing. Bad inflammation is low-grade systemic inflammation that many of us are not even aware of until it is causing bigger problems.
That leads to the ugly side of inflammation. When left unaddressed, inflammation can begin to wreak havoc on our bodies, minds, guts, and mental health. So where does this bad inflammation come from? There are several factors, including stress and a Standard American Diet (SAD) high in processed foods, sugar, seed oils, alcohol, and refined carbohydrates. These two areas combine to create a storm of inflammation. Chronic unmitigated stress creates a pro-inflammatory environment in our bodies, stressing our nervous system, adrenals, cardiovascular system, gut microbiome, and ultimately every system in our body. Most of us underestimate the amount of stress we are facing daily, and that’s the first place we should look to begin the process of reducing inflammation.
Secondly, we need to assess how we are fueling our bodies, which is either going to increase or reduce our inflammation burden. The SAD diet is a diet very high in omega-6 fatty acids and foods that promote oxidative stress. If we are eating a diet that is largely fresh, live, unprocessed foods, including organic low-glycemic fruits, vegetables, grass-fed and pastured meat and eggs, wild-caught fatty fish and seafood, soaked, sprouted, or fermented grain, and legumes, along with lots of filtered water, our omega ratios will be close to what they should be. A great ratio is somewhere in the neighborhood of 4:1 Omega 6 to Omega 3. Our modern diets often have a ratio closer to 20:1 or higher. Omega 6 is essential to the body to provide what the body needs for the good kind of inflammation, but when we get into higher ratios, our food is keeping us in a constant state of higher inflammation, and that will inevitably lead to greater health problems down the road. Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties and are superstars for keeping inflammation in check.
The good news in all of this is that we can control many aspects of our inflammation burden, and it all comes down to our choices! Taking time to deal with stress by doing whatever it is that helps you with that is the first step. Whether that’s spending time in nature (which is scientifically proven to reduce our stress levels), taking time out to recharge with friends or family, or a daily ritual to reset our body, mind, and emotions, we can help bring down our internal stress.
When it comes to diet, what was mentioned above is the ticket. Avoid packaged, processed, and refined foods, sugar, seed oils, alcohol, and low-fat, non-organic dairy products. Instead, eat lots of live, natural, unprocessed foods that are as close to nature as possible, including good fats, high-quality protein, organic fruit and vegetables, fermented dairy, soaked, sprouted, or fermented grains and legumes if they are tolerated, and of course plenty of filtered water. If you need help navigating this and want some guidance on how to implement an anti-inflammation-promoting lifestyle, you’ve come to the right place!
Are you looking to get even healthier? Are you dealing with high inflammation? Could you use some help figuring out what foods you could add to your everyday diet to support getting your inflammation back into balance? Curious about how nutritional health coaching can help you make healthy changes? Let’s talk! Schedule an initial complimentary consultation with us today—or pass this offer on to someone you care about! Visit www.noshoesnutrition.com and sign up for a FREE consultation. We work with people from all over the world individually or in groups, so don’t let anything hold you back!
Want to learn more? Check out this past No Shoes Nutrition article!