Do You Know What Chronic Inflammation Is?
Updated: Dec 24, 2018
noun in·flam·ma·tion \ˌin-flə-ˈmā-shən\
From the Merriam-Webster dictionary: inflammation is "a local response to cellular injury that is marked by capillary dilatation, leukocytic infiltration, redness, heat, and pain and that serves as a mechanism initiating the elimination of noxious agents and of damaged tissue". Sounds scary? Maybe. But, it's necessary when your body is injured. Think of a swollen sprained ankle. It will inflame to get it the nutrients it needs to heal. When does this become a problem? When you are constantly injuring your body. This results in chronic inflammation. And when you are chronically inflamed you are a now a prime candidate for any and all diseases.
We all have different genetics. We are all prone to different diseases. We have the ability to turn these genes on and off (Like light switches. This is called epigenetics.) If you are making lifestyle choices that are injuring you from the inside they result in inflammation. You are priming yourself for pain, disease and general dysfunction.
Signs you are chronically inflamed:
You always feel stressed
Wake up feeling tired
Achy joints and muscles
Decrease immune function, often sick
Depressed or anxious
Skin issues (acne, rashes, blotchy)
Reasons you are chronically inflamed:
You eat crappy foods (sugar, grains, processed foods, fast foods, foods to which you are sensitive)
You are constantly stressed out
You don't get enough sleep
Your water is dirty (city water is often contaminated with heavy metals and fluoride)
You are absorbing the junk you put on your skin (lotions, soaps, make up)
You exercise too hard and often without adequate rest
You work long hours and don't take enough time off
There are many things you cannot control. You cannot control the foods your mom ate when she was pregnant with you, whether you came out of the birth canal, whether you were breast fed, what you ate growing up, the toxins in the air and more. But, there are so many things you can control.
First, your diet. Seriously. Get rid of the junk. Start eating foods in their whole, natural forms. Lots of quality protein, fats, veggies, fruit, nuts and seeds. Eliminate processed foods, soda, grains, refined sugars, sugary drinks, fake sugars and any foods to which you might be sensitive. This most commonly includes dairy, gluten, certain nuts or soy.
Learn to manage your stress or remove yourself from stressful situations. Your body can't tell the difference between stress from being chased by a bear, stress from your high intensity 1-hour workout, stress from dealing with your boss at work or stress from your dysfunctional relationship. Stress is stress is stress. Make time for yourself. Allow your body to recover. Be selfish every once in a while. If you don't take care of yourself, you are going to have a hard time taking care of anyone else.
Get enough sleep. Often, cleaning up your diet and managing your stress result in better sleep. Bang for your buck, sleep is as good as it gets. Opt for a minimum of 8 hours per night (although this can vary from person to person).
Just because you don't feel pain at the moment does not mean you are not inflamed. Only about 10% of your nervous system actually registers pain. The other 90% is giving your brain other signals. And if you are chronically inflamed, your brain is inflamed, too. Depression, brain fog, decreased memory and anxiety are all symptoms of a more systemic issue. The earlier you can address the symptoms, the better chance you have to prevent more serious issues. Dementia, cancer, infertility, diabetes, depression and most other diseases don't simply occur overnight. They are the compilation of a long standing problem. Start taking care of the underlying inflammation (improve your diet, manage stress, get enough sleep) now so you can prevent more serious issues in the future. You and your family deserve it.