Is Your Body on Fire with Inflammation?
The concept of inflammation is hot right now (pun intended) and is a common thread tying diseases together like cancer, depression, Alzheimer's, autoimmune diseases including hair loss and rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes--all of which are inflammatory. Why does inflammation seem to "burn" and be an underlying thread for sickness?
Inflammation refers to a large array of biological processes and can manifest in different ways. Inflammation is the body's way of fighting off things that can harm it including viruses and bacteria. There is an imbalance in immune system activity and inflammation is the immune system's weapon against anything it perceives as a threat. Inflammation can result in what I like to call FLC syndrome or "feel like crap" syndrome.
Sometimes, we may feel "off" but not know why. Perhaps inflammation is an issue for you. Signs of inflammation include hair loss, joint pain, depression, brain fog, eczema and skin issues, weight gain, and bowel issues.
It's important to know that not all inflammation is bad, and to understand the difference between acute and chronic inflammation. Acute inflammation is the body's response to a sudden issue like a cut on your finger. When this happens, the body's immune response heats up and causes your finger to swell, get red and start forming a scab to heal the cut. Chronic inflammation is slow and long-term. It can be in the body for months or years, and sometimes you have no idea until you are diagnosed with a disease or autoimmune condition. Think of it like a long burning fire with embers that are cozy and warm, but over time that fire starts to destroy things, slowly, and one day, we find that our forest has been severely impacted. Chronic inflammation is present in people with autoimmune disease, and about 80% of those people are women. In autoimmune disease, the body's immune system begins to attack itself. It's like sending healing vibes to your finger when there is no cut.
5 Things to Avoid if you are trying to Lower Inflammation
While there are many more than the 5 on this list, these are some top things to avoid if you are trying to lower inflammation:
Highly processed foods (they contain refined carbs, sugar, artificial colours and flavous, things in a box))
Sugar (highly inflammatory)
Refined carbohydrates (cakes, cookies, bread, and things in a box)
Inflammatory foods (to determine what these are for you, consider an elimination diet)
Toxins (in personal care products, cookware, plastics, cleaning products, etc)
And as much as it pains me to say, I'm going to add alcohol to this list.
Alcohol use can have an impact on gut and liver functions and be highly inflammatory. Alcohol can impact the nervous system which has an impact on regulating inflammation in the body. I am going to write a future post regarding alcohol and its inflammatory effects, as well as my experience quitting drinking wine and the improvements I saw with regard to my health.
For a deeper dive on each of these 5 things and why/how they can be inflammatory, see my most recent video. I also invite you to review my Free Guide: the 6 hidden sources of inflammation that also includes a quiz to calculate your inflammation score.
As always, I would love to hear from you. Are you worried about inflammation in your body? Do you have FLC syndrome??