When foreign particles like bacteria or virus attack your body or when you suffer an injury, your natural immune response to it triggers a chemical release to speed up the healing process.
However, when this response lingers, leaving your body in a state of alert, you may have chronic inflammation. If left untreated for long, chronic inflammation can negatively impact the health of your organs, tissues and systems, causing underlying medical conditions.
Hence, it is crucial to find the cause and the right approach to chronic inflammation. Here is a rundown on what causes inflammation and how it can be addressed:
What causes chronic inflammation?
While several factors can lead to chronic inflammation, some common causes include:
The standard American diet contains ultra-processed foods that are a leading cause of inflammation. They can alter the gut bacteria and interact with our immune system in a way that can cause chronic inflammation.
Some foods that can cause chronic inflammation include:
· Sugar and sweeteners (Aspartame, Sucralose, Acesulfame K, Saccharin, Xylitol)
· High Omega-6 relative to Omega-3 fatty acids
· Digestive enzyme inhibitors
· Processed food chemical
· Vegetable oils including soybean, grape seed, canola, corn and cottonseed oil, margarine and other “vegan” butters.
· Certain dairy products such as non-pasture-raised cows milk products including cream, cheese, yogurt and butter
· Gluten products including wheat, rye & barley to name the main ones.
· Processed meats including sausages, salami, hot dogs, ham, cured bacon, beef jerky, salted and curedmeat, smoked meat, corned beef, dried meat and cannedmeat
· Common GMO foods including soy (soy milk, meat alternatives, soy sauce, tofu, soybean oil…) &corn (corn oil, cornmeal, polenta)
· Food containing antinutrients such as Agglutinins, Prolamins , Saponins & Glycoalkaloids that are known to cause leaky gut and chronic inflammation
Cytokines are chemicals responsible for inflammation; high levels of stress can lead to increased amount of cytokines, triggering inflammation. So if you're stressed you're more likely to have increased amount of inflammation in your body.
Sleep deprivation can increase proinflammatory cytokines and increases C-reactive protein (aka: inflammation). A lack of sleep can also alter your body’s stress response system, increasing cytokines.
Too much exercise
Exercise is generally good for your body but the same can’t be said about long and intense exercise. The latter can lead to higher levels of inflammatory mediators, increasing the risk of chronic inflammation.
Infections such as Helicobacter Pyroli and Toxoplasmosis Gondii are very good at triggering the immune system and mitigating these infections is crucial to reducing the symptoms of autoimmune disease.
Some types of persistent infections that can resist host defenses and remain in the host tissue for long, causing inflammation also include cell wall-deficient bacteria. In this case, it as also good to test. This is why I use the GI-Map stool sample test that not only measures the morcobiome and and the functional side of proper digestion, but also the presence of fungi, parasites and protozoa.
Extended toxin exposure can affect the function of your lungs and cause inflammation. Some forms of toxic exposure you should avoid include:
· Prescription drugs including hydralazine, procainamide and isoniazid
· Pristine, a naturally occurring hydrocarbon found in petroleum
· Silica dust
· Pesticides including organochlorinated pesticides, organophosphates and carbamates, tributytyltin chloride, atrazine and propanil
How to deal with chronic inflammation ?
Needless to say, nobody wants to deal with the disruptive symptoms of chronic inflammation. Here are some ways you can deal with chronic inflammation:
Lengthy exposure to stress is never good for your health and wellbeing. When you’re dealing with increasing levels of stress, make sure to avoid binge eating. Some people may also cut down on their diet as anxiety affects hunger. Hence, it’s crucial to ensure that you’re consuming a healthy, balanced diet to combat stress.
Practicing relaxation techniques like yoga can also help you manage stress. The different yoga poses can also help release physical blockages like muscle knots, promoting flexibility and alleviating pain.
You can incorporate physical exercise into your routine by going for a walk every morning. Brisk walking can promote the release of endorphins in your brain, improving your mood.
Other than these activities, it can help to connect with your loved ones, including friends and family, often and try some Qi Gong activities to harmonize the body and mind and promote relaxation.
If you stuggle with anxiety I would also recommend you look into Emotional freedom technique (EFT), commonly known as tapping. Similarly to acupuncture, EFT focuses on the meridian points to restore balance to your body’s energy. It is believed that restoring this energy balance can relieve symptoms a negative experience or emotion may have caused.
Get enough sleep
Sleeping better is crucial to ensure your immune system is at the top of its game. Make it a point to get at least 8 hours of sleep every night for optimal health. The ideal timeframe is sleeping from 10 pm to 7 am.
It would help you to avoid all the high inflammatory foods like processed food items and others mentioned earlier. Eat plenty of immune-boosting superfoods including leafy greens, ginger, apple cider vinegar, garlic, olive oil, lemons and onions for optimal health.
And make sure you’re addressing any nutritional deficiencies you may have, including vitamin D, magnesium, zinc and omega 3. Some foods you can take for each of these groups are:
Vitamin D—salmon and fatty fish, chicken or beef liver, egg yolk, grass-fed butter, grass-fed raw cheese and mushrooms
Magnesium—pumpkin seeds, dry, roasted almonds, boiled spinach, cashews, oil roasted peanuts and kale
Zinc—whole grains, milk products, oysters, red meat, poultry, baked beans, chickpeas and nuts.
Omega 3—cold-water fatty fish, such as mackerel, salmon, herring, tuna, and sardines
Do a food sensitivity test to see what foods your immune system is sensitive to
You may be sensitive to certain foods items that can trigger inflammation. I do the MRT with my clients to assess their food sensitivities. The patented blood test can assess your body’s reaction to 30 food chemicals and 140 foods by measuring the alterations in white blood cells and the number of mediators released.
If your work in an environment where you may be exposed to toxins, ensure to wear protective gear. Check the weather forecast before stepping outside to avoid air pollution and avoid using pesticides that contain toxic chemicals mentioned earlier.
Get treated for infections (parasites, bacteria)
Leaving the infection untreated for a long time can lead to chronic inflammation. Hence, it’s crucial to find out the proper protocol to eliminate the foreign particles disrupting your bodily functions. Get a stool test done to assess the amounts of good and bad bacteria in your body. These include H. Pylori and Candida.
I do GI-MAP with my clients to know the proper protocol is to eliminate these. The GI-MAP test also measures leakages due to gut syndrome in addition to estimating the amount of good and bad bacteria in the body.
Now that you have all the information on the common causes of chronic inflammation and know effective ways to deal with it, get it touch with me to find a complete guide to inflammation and nutrition.
I’m a nutrionist trained to help people suffering from autoimmune diseases, chronic inflammation, and chronic pain to reverse their conditions, live pain-free and symptom-free so that they can finally enjoy a vibrant, active, peaceful and joyful life.