It is easy to think of inflammation as being only a bad thing. But, nature has a beneficial use for inflammation. When we are injured or attacked by a pathogen, it helps healing by increasing blood supply to provide needed oxygen, nutrients and stem cells. It also attracts immune factors to kill invaders and “take out the trash”. Even annoying swelling can help by immobilizing the damaged area and that prevents further damage. When we are healthy, inflammation appears only in a crisis.
However, when inflammation becomes chronic, all heck can break loose. Inflammation is at the root of virtually any disease (heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, etc.) or chronic complaint (pain, rashes, allergies, etc.) that you can name. As we always say on our show, we are supposed to be Healthy by Nature and can be if we follow the two “prime directives” as they might say on Star Trek. Let’s see how those 2 basic rules apply to inflammation.
- Give the body everything it needs for optimum function: Most nutrients are anti-inflammatory. (I’m guessing that they all are directly or indirectly.) Top of mind: anti-oxidants such as vitamin C and E, vitamin D, probiotics, omega-3 oils (e.g. fish oil), minerals such as magnesium, curcumin and resveratrol. Foods with the reputation of being anti-inflammatory are fish, dark green leafy veggies, nuts, olive oil, chocolate, green tea, garlic, and ginger as well as other herbs and spices. (Hmm, sounds like the Mediterranean diet)
- Don’t gum up the works with things the body can’t handle: Unfortunately, this list has become HUGE in recent decades. There are the obvious factors like smoking, excess alcohol, pesticides, some medications and the heavy metals contained in most all vaccines. The situation is so much more challenging these days with 10’s of thousands of synthetic chemicals lurking about. They are in home and personal care products, tap water and the air. Foods contribute to inflammation when they contain excess sugar, food additives, and trans fats. Eating foods to which we are sensitive also adds to inflammation. We even make inflammatory substances inside our body if we are constipated or otherwise have an imbalance of microbes in the intestinal tract. Having the body out of structural alignment causes joint inflammation.
It is simple! The more you add from group #1 and subtract from group #2, the less likely you are to allow inflammation to run amok.
Yes, I realize that I said “simple” and that is not necessarily the same as “easy”. Change can be a pain. But, obviously, if we keep doing what we’ve been doing, we will keep getting what we’ve been getting. It can ease the strain to take one positive step at a time. A good place to start is by reading the fine print on food labels and avoid ingredients that don’t sound like food. Take a great multivitamin (not the mass market junk you hear advertised on TV). Have your vitamin D level checked and take at least 2,000 IU D3 in the meantime. Gradually ease the harmful foods out of your meal plans while aiming toward a Mediterranean type diet of whole real foods. Eat as much of it organic as possible. (The EWG.org Dirty Dozen foods are the most contaminated.) Find natural substitutes for chemical-laden products and natural alternatives to harmful medications. Filter your water and so on. Good or bad, it all adds up.