Chronic, long term inflammation is the underlying cause of illness and disease. Learn what causes inflammation and how you can reduce inflammation with natural remedies.
What is Inflammation?
Chronic inflammation occurs when the on/off switch to inflammation stays on and your body gets no time to recover. You continue have the immune response of producing additional white blood cells but these cells have nowhere to go so start attacking even healthy organs, tissues and cells. Chronic inflammation has been linked to autoimmunity, gut issues, cancer, cardiovascular disease, depression, pain, swelling, and so much more.
What Causes Inflammation?
When you gain weight, your fat cells expand, and you are constantly in a swollen state. Your body doesn’t like this new “situation” so it brings in the white blood cells to help. Pretty soon, the cells stop responding to the insulin (which regulates blood sugar), and then the white blood cells that were there to help you now start entering your bloodstream and damaging the liver. Sadly, this is the beginning of diabetes.
Stress and Anxiety
Stress and anxiety increase cortisol. Cortisol causes inflammation. When you are constantly under stress, you’re constantly in an inflammatory state.
Environmental – Pollution, Bad Air, Smoking
Polluted air and toxicity cause inflammation. Also, cigarette smoking exposes everyone to bad air. Under prolonged exposure, our immune system continues to work on detoxifying from bad air, that constant effort is called chronic inflammation.
Lack of Sleep
During sleep, the body rests and the immune system calms down. Lack of restorative sleep is a major producer of inflammation. People with rheumatoid arthritis or other autoimmune disorders often associate an increase in pain and flare-ups with poor sleep quality.
Digestive Issues/Leaky Gut
“Leaky gut” happens when the cells lining the intestines begin to develop larger and larger spaces, or gut permeability. When this happens toxins and larger molecules of protein that weren’t meant to get through the intestinal wall, break through into the bloodstream and cause the immune system to respond to these foreign invaders. The response is often an increase in white blood cells. These cells become confused and can attack healthy tissues, cells and even organs. Signs of your immune system responding to these invaders can include brain fog, bloating, IBS, mood imbalances, other digestive issues, skin issues and autoimmune disease.
What are Remedies for Inflammation?
In general regular exercise reduces the markers of inflammation. Some amount of inflammation is necessary to make gains in exercise. Your body gets stronger via the inflammatory response to the stress of the exercise by rebuilding and refortifying its tissues. An effective training session is basically a session that triggers an inflammatory response interspersed with recovery which over time reduces inflammation. On top of all that, it’s an incredible stress-reliever so check that box too!
Yoga has been shown to decrease cortisol and adrenaline, the main stress hormones that make you feel overwhelmed, cranky, and on edge. Most studies show that significant hormonal improvement requires three to six months of regular practice for 30 to 60 minutes per day, five days a week. While all yoga styles may help, research has examined hatha yoga, pranayama (such as deep breathing), and meditation to have the greatest rewards.
Stress increases your blood pressure and heart rate, making your blood vessels work harder. Essentially, you’re pounding on them more often and creating damage. If that damage happens over and over, inflammation occurs.
If you’re not clocking at least 6 hours of restful sleep a night, you’re more susceptible to inflammation than those who have a solid night of slumber, according to research presented at the American Heart Association 2010 Scientific Sessions in Chicago. Getting less than 6 hours of sleep was linked to significantly increased levels of three key inflammatory markers.
Eat Anti-Inflammatory Foods
Anti-inflammatory foods include lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, plant-based proteins (like beans and nuts), fatty fish, and fresh herbs and spices. The anti-inflammatory diet is one of the many reasons I choose to be vegan.
Since I’ve battled autoimmunity, I’m interested in exploring natural options to remedy inflammation as a root cause of autoimmunity to help others. I’d love to hear about your experiences with inflammation.
Love and Light,