What Is Inflammation?
You’ve likely heard of inflammation before; either in the context of a certain food being inflammatory, or perhaps an anti-inflammatory drug like ibuprofen.
Inflammation can be a big blanket statement, but what is it really? And what does it feel like if you are experiencing inflammation?
What Is It?
Generally speaking, inflammation is the body’s response to an irritant.
Imagine if you cut your finger, your skin gets red, swollen and achy, but your body’s response is able to heal the cut by the regrowth of your skin. This is an example of acute inflammation and the body’s capacity to heal.
The thing is, in our modern culture there are far more irritants that harm our body on a daily basis. Toxins, chemicals, foods, stress… these are chronic sources of inflammation. Each time you experience one of these irritants, it’s like you’re getting a little punch that your body has to care to.
Depending upon your personal bio-individuality your body is able to tolerate and respond to these irritants at different levels. And when you continue to get these little punches and cuts, your body has a harder time bouncing back and open the doors for more reactivity, infection and disease.
What Does It Feel Like To Be Inflamed?
Like the example above, an acute case of inflammation like a cut, bruise or burn shows obvious signs like redness, swelling or pain in a specific area.
Chronic inflammation can have more widespread signs that make it a little tricky to pinpoint a specific reason for “unexplainable” symptoms. For this reason, it’s common to experience chronic low grade inflammation brewing for an extended amount of time before a standard medical test can diagnose it as a disease.
Common signs of inflammation can feel like:
- Exhaustion & Fatigue
- Anxiety & Depression
- Irritability & Moodiness
- Brain Fog
- Trouble Sleeping
- Skin Rashes or Acne
- Joint Pains
- Digestive Issues
- Irregular Bowel Movements
- Weight Fluctuations or Holding on to Extra Weight
When unaddressed, inflammation can often lead to autoimmune conditions or disease.
How Food Affects Inflammation
Some foods are inherently inflammatory due to their natural chemical structure; like gluten, sugar and alcohol.
But bio individuality is a big piece of the puzzle too. If you are experiencing chronic signs of inflammation your body likely has other, potentially random foods that are causing an inflammatory immune reaction in your body.
Food sensitivities can be very obvious or more inconspicuous signs. I’m sure you can think of a food that you know doesn’t make you feel good. Does dairy send your stomach in spirals? Or sometimes it’s more sneaky and signs don’t show up for hours, or even days, like bloat or dry skin.
That’s why there isn’t one perfect diet that works for everyone.
Every bite of food sends a signal through your body telling it how to react and operate on a chemical level. So when you continue to consume inflammatory foods, your body is continually getting those little jabs that it must try to heal from. But when the jabs don’t stop, your body starts to take a beating until it can’t take it anymore and gives up.
Other sources of inflammation include stress, environmental toxins, chemicals, pesticides, lack of sleep, injury, and lack of movement.
How Do You Decrease Inflammation?
1. Eat a nutrient dense diet. When your body is inflamed it needs more nutrients to fight the inflammation. That’s why they say to load up on vitamin C and antioxidants when you’re sick.
2. Figure out what foods work best for you. Not only are the processed foods inflammatory, but a number of “healthy” foods can cause big flares especially when your body is also dealing with other underlying imbalances.
3. Identify the main underlying sources of inflammation. This can be done by testing for underlying infections or imbalances in the gut, food sensitivities, hormonal imbalances, nutrient deficiencies, or toxins.
These are some of the most powerful tools I use with my clients to help uncover the root cause of their symptoms. Some of these common imbalances include h. pylori, candida, dysbiosis and parasites. These critters could be living in your gut and you wouldn’t even know it. That’s why it’s so valuable to test!
4. Manage your stress levels. Yes, it’s easier said than done. Try to focus on the things you can control. Say no when you can and deal with the obligations as they arise. Get a solid 8 hours of sleep every night. Meditate and practice deep breathing.
If you are feeling extra tired, burnt-out, moody, with brain fog, body aches, headaches or indigestion; your body may be telling you it’s time to pay attention.
I help my clients figure out what their body is telling them, build a plan to decrease inflammation and build their health and wellness back.
Schedule a Clarity Session with me today to talk about your health and how take action towards your goals.