Chronic Inflammation is a silent epidemic; a plague afflicting millions of unsuspecting Americans. It is the mother of most major chronic diseases including heart disease, cancer, obesity, Alzheimer’s and many others. Below you will find 12 tips for preventing and eradicating disease-causing inflammation.
Chronic inflammation is typically a silent, under the radar, asymptomatic disease— until actual tissue damage and loss of function occurs. There is no single direct test for inflammation. Instead, doctors use indirect methods by measuring blood levels of C-reactive protein, a pro-inflammatory marker, and homocysteine levels.
Even if you don’t have a chronic disease, chances are you know someone who does.
CDC Reports on Chronic Disease
Chronic diseases which are generally triggered by diet, lifestyle habits, and environmental toxins account for more than 75% of health care spending.
Seven out of Ten Americans die each year from chronic diseases. In 2005, 1 out of every 2 adults had at least one chronic illness, while about 25% of people living with a chronic illness experience significant limitations in daily activities.
Dr. Barry Sears, author of The Anti-Inflammation Zone: Reversing the Silent Epidemic That’s Destroying Our Health states:
“Silent inflammation attacks the heart, arteries, and even the brain, and you will not even know it. Obesity is the primary cause of silent inflammation and excess body fat is causing today’s epidemic rise in countless health threats.”
Acute vs Chronic Inflammation
Acute inflammation is the body’s natural and immediate response to an injury or insult. It’s the internal ambulance that rushes to the scene of the injury and stabilizes the victim and starts the healing process.
Anyone who has been stung by a bee, fallen off a bike and bruised their knee, broken out in hives, or experienced a blister from splattering grease while cooking knows firsthand what acute inflammation is.
Related Read: 6 Foods for Arthritis and Other Inflammatory Pain
A serious problem arises when the inflammatory response never turns off –when the body is continuously reacting to an offender. This type of inflammation is symptomatically silent, unlike acute inflammation, and can go on for years until troubling symptoms emerge and a major disease manifests.
Managing inflammation before it manifests into a recognizable disease is an important key to maintaining one’s health. Diet accounts for the majority of the benefits you reap from a healthy lifestyle, and keeping inflammation in check is a major part of these benefits.
Managing Inflammation with Diet and Lifestyle Choices
The best way to manage inflammation is to eat a diet rich in organic, nutrient dense, whole foods, especially antioxidant loaded fruits, vegetables and nuts like omega 3 rich walnuts, selenium, rich Brazil nuts, and natural vitamin E rich-almonds.
- 1. Balance your omega-6 to omega-3 ratio; the ideal ratio is close to 3:1. Omega-3 food sources include ground, flax seeds, hemp seeds and chia seeds. Good Fats are Anti-Inflammatory. Some examples are unprocessed coconut oil, raw, organic pastured butter, genuine olive oil, and avocados. Wild fish such as salmon, sardines, and anchovies are also high in anti-inflammatory omega 3s.
- 2. Turmeric is a scientifically proven inflammation buster. A 2004 study published in the journal Oncogene found that curcumin (found in turmeric) was found to be an effective alternative to allopathic drugs as an anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative agent against tumor cells. Be sure to buy the organic non-irradiated version of this healing spice.
- 3. Like turmeric, ginger is also a powerful anti-inflammatory food. Ginger contains potent anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols. The February 2005 issue of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine reported that ginger suppressed the main pro-inflammatory compounds cytokine and chemokine. The health benefits of ginger are astounding.
- 4. Probiotics are necessary to maintain a healthy flora balance between good and bad bacteria in your gut, enabling your immune system to function effectively. Probiotics also relieve intestinal inflammation, although qualitative differences do exist between different strains of probiotic bacteria. Include daily doses of preferably homemade fermented foods like kefir and yogurt (ideally from raw organic milk), and fermented sauerkraut. Your gut and the probiotic organisms who live there comprise 80% of your immune system. A study published in Pathogens, a publication of the Public Library of Science, demonstrated the anti-inflammatory and pathogen protection benefits of probiotics beyond the gastrointestinal tract.
“Past research has shown that the probiotic Bifidobacterium infantis 35624 can positively impact the body’s immune defense, and this most recent data suggests that its benefits are not restricted to the gastrointestinal tract,” reported lead researcher Dr. Lliam O’Mahony. “Inflammation is a major factor in a number of chronic diseases affecting millions of people and can cause an unwanted impact on healthy tissue”.
Diet is 80% of Your Management Strategy
- 5. Resolve lingering, low-grade infections and other pathogenic conditions with natural treatments.
- 6. Maintain a high level of gut probiotics with fermented foods and/or supplements.
- 7. Eliminate heavy and toxic metals like aluminum, mercury, and lead. Research detox methods for those metals.
- 8. Maintain adequate high quality sleep patterns. Sleep is when the body/mind repairs and replenishes.
- 9. Minimize and manage stress. Consider meditation, yoga, deep breathing, and massage.
- 10. Optimize vitamin D3 levels. When available get your D3 safely from the sun.
- 11. Normalize insulin levels. Avoid high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and refined sugar. Instead sparingly use coconut sugar, sucanat, stevia, real maple syrup and raw honey.
- 12. Maintain a regular exercise routine. Walking three or more times a week for 20 to 30 minutes is minimally sufficient. Health benefits include lowering heart disease and Alzheimer’s risks.