Inflammation is the body’s way of fighting against things that harm it, such as infections, and toxins (including bacteria and viruses), in an attempt to heal itself.
When something damages our cells, our body releases chemicals that trigger a response from your immune system – This is inflammation. So, inflammation, in appropriate amounts is a good thing. It prevents us from walking on a twisted ankle and it kills harmful toxins. However, excess inflammation causes problems and is implicated in almost all chronic illnesses from hypertension and diabetes to asthma and cancer. They’re all driven by excess inflammation in the body. Excess inflammation in the body may be the result of diet and lifestyle choices, stress or chronic toxin exposure. It may also be an innate, over-reactive immune system, such as in atopic eczema and asthma. Either way, there’s much that we can do to reduce inflammation in the body in order to better protect our long-term health:
- Cut down on or eliminate sugary and processed foods. When junk food is broken down in the gut it produces toxins which in turn invites an inflammatory response.
- Increase your intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fermented foods. When these foods are broken down in the intestines, short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) are released. These SCFAs regulate metabolism, strengthen gut integrity and lower inflammation.
- Get 7 -9 hours sleep each night. Our bodies repair and replenish while we are asleep.
- Hydrate. We need plenty of water to help us eliminate toxins and thus reduce inflammation.
- Stress less. Stress (physical or emotional) creates a cortisol response, also known as the fight or flight response. However, when there are no tigers to run from or bears to fight, cortisol remains in our blood vessels, causing havoc and inflammation. Some stress reduction techniques are: Reading, exercise, mediation, journaling, talking therapies, massage, dancing, singing, laughing and avoiding toxic people.
If you would like to know more about how to reduce inflammation, please make contact with Tamla Anderson, Nutritional Therapist and Kingston Natural Health Centre on 0208 549 8000