The Danger of Chronic Inflammation and What You Can Do About It
According to the World Health Organization, chronic disease has been ranked as one of the greatest threats to human health! Sadly, many of these diseases are associated with chronic inflammation and this problem is expected to increase in years to come. As it is, nearly 60% of Americans suffer from a chronic health condition as a result of inflammation in the body.
What are some chronic inflammatory diseases?
- Autoimmune Diseases
- Chronic Respiratory Diseases
- Heart Disorders
- COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder)
- Chronic Kidney Disorder
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
As you can see, chronic inflammation in the body can be dangerous to our health, our quality of life, and ultimately our longevity.
Therefore it’s not only important to understand the risk and symptoms associated with chronic inflammation, but it’s also good to know where your specific levels are, so you can begin to take steps through nutrition and lifestyle to reduce inflammation pronto, if necessary.
What are the risk factors for chronic inflammation?
- Age: As we get older, mitochondrial dysfunction and free-radical accumulation are more common issues, as well as visceral body fat.
- Obesity: The higher our BMI, the higher our inflammation.
- Nutrition: A diet high in processed foods and refined sugar results in higher production of inflammatory molecules.
- Smoking: Smoking automatically induces inflammation in the body.
- Low Sex Hormones: Having adequate levels of sex hormones is actually anti-inflammatory, so of course not having enough will increase inflammation.
- Stress: High levels of emotional stress causes an inflammatory response in the body.
- Lack of Sleep: This is a form of stress and therefore increases inflammation.
How do you know if you have chronic inflammation?
Aside from paying attention to the risk factors, there are also signs and symptoms that will alert you to the possibility of chronic inflammation already happening within your body.
For example, you may be experiencing unusual amounts of pain that you never really had before. Don’t just assume you’re getting older. It’s probably inflammation. Fatigue and insomnia are also indicators of a potential inflammatory response.
Many people don’t realize that inflammation has a direct impact on gut health and therefore on brain health. The gut and brain are closely connected when it comes to health and happiness! So feelings of depression, anxiety, or moodiness can also be indicative of a root cause of inflammation.
Speaking of gut health, symptoms such as gassiness, bloating, diarrhea, indigestion, acid reflux, and constipation are all classic signs of inflammation.
Have you noticed an increase in the amount of infections you’ve been getting? Yep. Inflammation.
And what about stubborn weight issues or weight gain that seems to come out of nowhere? That, too, can be inflammation in the body.
What many don’t understand is just how quickly inflammation can wreak havoc on the overall health and wellness of the body. Before you know it, a chronic condition is developing, and actually a large number of Americans suffer from multiple chronic inflammatory related diseases!
There is also a blood test you can have your doctor order up. It’s called high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP). CRP is produced mainly in the liver, and normal levels help fight off infection, protecting the body.
It’s when inflammation is produced way beyond our body’s needs that it becomes dangerous to our health. If the results from this blood test come back high that’s an indication that you have too much inflammation and should start immediately taking steps to reduce those levels.
So What Can You Do to Reduce Inflammation?
Well, it’s what I call Integrative Nutrition! What that means is it’s a whole body, whole mind, whole life approach to getting healthier. Nutrition, both on and off the plate, is key!
So, check yourself in the following areas:
- Kick Sweets to the Curb: The more sugar you eat, the more inflammation your body will produce.
- Pay Attention to Your Fat Consumption: You should be reaching for healthy fats like avocado, coconut oil, pastured/grass-fed butter or ghee, and olive oil. Also avoid processed and packaged foods.
- Eat Lots of Veggies: Brussel sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower are all high in natural antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds.
- Increase Exercise: Energy expended through exercise lowers multiple pro-inflammatory molecules.
- Eat Wild Caught Fish and Take a High Quality Fish Oil Supplement: Inflammatory conditions are greatly improved with consumption of plenty of omega fatty-acids.
- Take Your Vitamins: It may sound like a no-brainer, but it’s actually super important. B vitamins, the fat soluble vitamins (A, E, K, D), magnesium, a high quality probiotic, zinc, selenium, and the antioxidants zeaxanthin and B-cryptoxanthin are all vital to reduction of inflammation in the body among other wonderful benefits to your health!
- Do Yoga Class: Yoga immediately reduces cortisol levels in the body, reduces stress, improves sleep, and all of that results in reduction of inflammation.
- Get it On with Your Lover: Having sex has been shown to reduce CRP levels in men and boost immune activity in both men and women! Plus it’s stress reducing and brings on a lot of feel good hormones.
- Drink a cup of coffee (decaf) or green tea: Studies have shown that a daily cup of coffee or green tea reduces CRP levels.
- Enjoy a glass of red wine: Ahh, yes! This one is my personal favorite! A glass of red wine per day has been shown to lower CRP levels, but this is not necessarily true for other alcoholic drinks. So beware!
Have you had your CRP levels tested before? What were your biggest take-aways from your results?
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