Inflammation is a big buzz word but is it all bad? Not really and here's why!
There is a lot of negativity around the term Inflammation but did you know not all inflammation is bad? Think of a time you cut yourself and that area felt hot, red, and swollen. That's an acute inflammation where your body is trying to heal itself. This cut is like a fire that needs to be extinguished so your body sends the firefighters (aka white blood cells) to put that fire out and that is a good thing!
The other type of inflammation is chronic, think eczema. You have it, you see it frequently but the dots aren't connected and it's an inflammatory response. This type of inflammation is more like a smoldering fire that can exist throughout the body almost undetected. This is the “bad” form of inflammation that may appear gradually over time and last for months or even years and most people don't even realize it's happening.
It has been shown that unhealthy diets, excessive alcohol consumption, not being physically active, stress, and carrying excess weight all contribute to chronic inflammation. For many diabetes, and insulin resistance go hand in hand with chronic inflammation. Nutritional therapy can help to extinguish these slow-smoldering fires with diet and lifestyle choices that support reducing insulin resistance.
Medications that reduce inflammation in the body, are a band-aid. It is possible to reduce joint pain, and brain fog, have clearer skin, improve insulin sensitivity and boost your metabolism by addressing the root causes and supporting those foundational areas.
“For chronic low-grade inflammation not caused by a defined illness, lifestyle changes are the mainstay of both prevention and treatment,” says Harvard Health. An anti-inflammatory diet can help improve insulin sensitivity and prevent 60 percent of chronic diseases.
Eat a nutrient-dense diet loaded with vegetables, lean proteins, nuts, seeds, healthy fats, and fruit.
You most likely get enough Omega 6’s in your diet, but what about Omega-3? These fats can help to reduce pain and clear up inflammation and are found in salmon, trout, mackerel, soy, walnuts, and flax
High fiber foods (whole grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes) encourage friendly gut microbes to help reduce inflammation. Those gut bugs love fiber!
Avoid charring foods when cooking at high temperatures.
Limit inflammatory foods such as red and processed meats (lunch meats, hot dogs, hamburgers), fried foods (fries), unhealthy fats (shortening, lard), sugary foods and drinks (sodas, candy, sports drinks), refined carbohydrates (white bread, cookies, pie), and ultra-processed foods (microwaveable dinners, dehydrated soups)
Move more! Regular exercise has been shown to reduce inflammation and insulin resistance. Aim for 5 days per week at 30 minutes per day with movement you enjoy.
Consider weights or resistance bands. A large portion of blood glucose (blood sugar) is stored in our muscle tissue, weights increase muscle mass increasing glucose storage and it helps to burn up what we have in our bodies faster.
Aim to get 7-9 hours of wholesome sleep every night to help your body heal and repair. Disrupted sleep has recently been linked to increased inflammation and atherosclerosis (plaque buildup in the vessels) that contribute to heart disease.
Improve your sleep by maintaining a regular sleep-wake schedule, getting exposure to natural sunlight earlier in the day, avoiding caffeine later in the day, eliminating screens an hour before bedtime, and creating a relaxing bedtime ritual
Quit smoking and limit alcohol
Quitting smoking will reduce inflammation and other health risks associated with it.
Limit your alcohol intake to no more than one or two drinks per day
Manage your stress
Try mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), deep breathing, meditation, yoga, or tai chi to reduce stress. Singing, dancing, self care are also ways to manage stress and lower inflammation.
Call your friends and schedule a night out or a girls trip. New research suggests that feeling socially isolated is linked with higher levels of inflammation, so reach out to family and friends (or make new ones) by joining local support groups or clubs.
Visit Your Doctor or Dentist
Know your cholesterol numbers. High amounts of the “bad” or LDL cholesterol is linked to chronic inflammation.
Consider requesting a blood test to measure levels of CRP (C-reactive protein) which is a marker of inflammation (this test is also used to check your risk of developing heart disease)
If you notice that your gums are bleeding when you brush or floss this may be a sign of gum inflammation (gingivitis), so consider ramping up your oral hygiene and see your dentist
For the skimmers:
Acute inflammation is a necessary part of healing but chronic inflammation needs to be extinguished. The optimal first approach to using nutritional therapy which is entails a whole food approach consisting of colorful fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, fish, and protein in your diet while layering in lifestyle upgrades like physical activity, restful sleep, and stress management.
These adjustments can be easily integrated into your day-to-day practices. For support on how to make these changes join my private Facebook group the Low Carb Lifestyle for Diabetes Management and Weight Loss Support. Inside the group I post delicious recipes, and strategies to help you on your journey plus you become part of a likeminded community.
If you’d prefer a more personalized protocol tailored specifically for you, I’d invite you to book a free call to hear more about my 1:1 coaching programs. They all begin with an in-depth look at your health history via a very comprehensive questionnaire (about 300 questions) that paints a picture highlighting root concerns needing support. From there I make recommendations based on your comfort level of change so you can see results fast. A one size fits all approach fits no one.