The Truth About Inflammation: The Link Between your Diet, Cancer, and Diabetes
Have you noticed the days when your hands are a little bit stiffer? That it takes just a little bit more work to stand up? That your rings, your pants, and even your shoes are just a little tight?
Maybe your joints feel a little bit warm… Maybe it just takes a little bit to get going before you loosen up…
Maybe it's inflammation. And maybe there's something you can do about it.
What Is Inflammation?
Inflammation is the body's natural response to damage. This damage could be from the outside, such as a strike, cut, or burn. It could be damage that comes from the inside. Autoimmune issues, overworked, and a poor diet often cause internal inflammation.
But why would the body do something like this? Well, it comes down to how the body fixes damage. When something happens, like getting a cut, the body needs to stop blood from rushing out. And, it needs to prevent any foreign organisms, such as a virus or bacteria, from getting in.
Around the damage, the body will increase blood flow to help get white blood cells, healing factors, and a substance called cytokines to stop any outside invaders. Because of the extra blood flow, the area swells, which can pinch off severed blood vessels and aid in blood clotting.
In the short-term, like when you get a cut, this is a healthy and normal reaction.
However, chronic, long-term inflammation is damaging and can lead to other health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, fatty liver disease, and cancer.
“Inflammation is at the root of the vast majority of chronic illness. Modern medicine offers injections, pills, lotions, and potions to mask inflammation, but an ultimate cure involves identifying and addressing the root cause of inflammation. At that point, natural therapies can be utilized to eliminate the inflammation and give the innate immune system an opportunity to heal the body.” -Dr. Viktor Bouquette, MD, Progressive Medical Center
What Causes Inflammation?
Other than what damage comes from the outside, the leading cause of inflammation in the body is our diet. Foods that contain chemicals, preservatives, gluten, too much sugar, unhealthy oils, alcohol, and excessive protein that damage the body.
We'll take a look at it a little bit more in the diet section.
The medications you take may also cause inflammation. Many treatments for cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other lifestyle diseases controlled by diet cause inflammation. Most people can get off of these medications by switching to a diet like what we have below.
Dehydration can cause the body to have a general inflammation response, especially in the joints. The body is trying to stop more damage done to the cartilage. The solution is to drink more water.
Exposure to environmental pollution can cause inflammation, especially in the lungs and mucus membranes. Being exposed to fresh air and going outside helps.
And finally, autoimmune diseases are a huge contributing factor. Fibromyalgia, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and many of the other 120+ autoimmune issues tend to have inflammation as one of their indicators. The distinction between the different autoimmune diseases is where this inflammation occurs.
Your Diet and Inflammation
One of the primary reasons for inflammation is poor food choices. Much of the inflammation response starts in the gut. Gluten is an inflammatory molecule that directly damages the gut. Even people who are not allergic to gluten suffer damage to their intestine when consuming too much of it.
Chemicals, pesticide residue, trans-fats, preservatives, artificial colors, and all the other artificial ingredients added to processed food cause repeated small injuries to your digestive system. With these minor injuries, your digestive system may lose integrity, leading to Leaky Gut Syndrome and IBS. Some researchers believe that a leaky gut is the cause of most of the health issues in today's society (See the GAPS info article for a better description).
But, that's not the only issue with these poor foods. Your immune system recognizes these chemicals and other unhealthy foods as something the body should not consume. It can cause people without autoimmune issues to believe foreign invaders attack the body (it kind of is).
But that's not the only thing. The whole body works together. If the gut is damaged, the body understands this. It changes the way the brain perceives food and cause changes in our hormone production. Our hormones realize the danger and release cortisol, a stress hormone that can increase inflammation throughout the body. Now, this leads to adrenal fatigue.
And finally, poor food choices, inflammation, and all the other problems can lead to nutritional deficiencies. And if the body doesn't have the raw materials to repair itself efficiently, chronic inflammation can set in, causing all these problems all over again – only worse.
How Do You Fix Your Diet?
It's best to work with a nutritionist to figure out the right type of diet to help you.
But, you can start right now by eliminating processed foods. Make your foods 75% fruits and vegetables. Choose foods that are locally grown without pesticides or organic. Drink lots of water and move around more.
Then, when you work with a nutritionist, you have an excellent foundation to make specific changes.
The best part about making most of your diet fruits and vegetables is that this specific recommendation helps eliminate cholesterol problems, lowers you blood sugar to healthy levels, helps you lose weight, and may help prevent things like cancer, arthritis, dementia, and other health issues.
Inflammation and Adrenal Health
In a cyclical feedback loop, inflammation and declining adrenal health feed each other. In times of stress, the body produces a lot of hormones, which puts pressure on the adrenal glands. These hormones, particularly cortisol, can increase inflammation and stress. As the inflammation increases, it encourages the body to release more hormones because of increased stress.
How To Fix It?
Removing as much stress as possible is vital to help the body understand it does not need to produce as many of the stress hormones. Supplementing to support the adrenal glands helps get the nourishment to continue their normal function.
Ashwagandha helps modulate the overactive immune response typically found in most people with chronic inflammation. It also helps regulate cortisol, reducing the amount of it needed by the body. Ashwagandha may also help support the adrenal brain axis, more formally known as the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis that governs the homeostatic responses of the body. Basically, it can help you calm down and feel less stressed.
Your diet places a significant role, as well. Reducing sugar, primarily by eliminating processed foods, probably one of the most essential anti-stress and hormone balancing choices you can make.
Also, choose exercise. One of cortisol functions is to break down tissues within the body. This can inhibit muscle growth and cause atrophy. Activity is a valuable tool to rebuild muscle, retain your strength, and avoid infirmary later in life. Then, relax and sit with meditation or prayer to relax your mind.
Inflammation and Arthritis
Arthritis is damage to your joints caused by either overuse or an autoimmune condition that destroys the cartilage. In either case, inflammation is the body's attempt to overcome this damage and provide cushioning to the bones, so our joint structure is not destroyed.
How To Fix It?
Keeping your weight down and removing excess pressure on your joints is key to keeping the remaining cartilage healthy. Again, your diet plays a vital role. Try to avoid foods with gluten and excess sugars, as they are higher in carbohydrates, which most people find helps them gain the weight the quickest.
Exercise may be the more critical piece. Sitting still can cause the joints to become stiff and painful. Motion, especially strength training, can help keep your joints flexible. Exercise will also help move water into the cartilage, as it helps prevent atrophy.
Certain supplements can help reverse some of the damage. Glucosamine and chondroitin are two of the most popular arthritis formulas and help to rebuild the protein structure within the cartilage.
Curcumin (read this blog!) helps reduce both the inflammation and the pain a person experiences. As odd as it may seem, the omega-3 fatty acids found in any ocean fish and found in some vegetables helps the joints by providing the fatty acid structure to cushion the joints.
Inflammation and Gut Healing
As we said before, much of the inflammation we experience throughout our body starts in the gut. The foods we eat are a direct reflection of what's happening in the rest of our body. Therefore, our food is our number one choice to help reduce inflammation.
We have several excellent articles about what happens in our gut and the foods to eat to help recover from digestive problems. You can take a fun Journey Through Our Digestive System and discover essential facts about digestive enzymes.
Remember that food affects our whole body. What happens in our gut affects our brain, joints, muscles, and skin. If you’re experiencing inflammation in your abdomen, most likely, it's manifesting somewhere else, too. If you see puffiness in your fingers or face, it's a good sign that you need to start paying attention to the foods you eat.
You may think that exercise doesn't have a lot of play in our gut, but it does. Having strong abdominal wall muscles helps protect our digestive system, and core exercises, such as crunches and twists, help increase the smooth muscular contractions of peristalsis. This can help our food move through our gut smoothly. It may decrease gas, too.
And the supplements we take are very important. A lifetime of eating the Standard American Diet can leave our guts in a sad state. We may need digestive enzymes, probiotics, and other healing herbs to restore integrity and structure.We have a lot of these in our Foundation Gut formulas that help restore the structural integrity of our gut and help give life back to the probiotics and enzymes that digest our food.
We hope you have a good idea of what inflammation does to our body and some of the things it can do. But that's not all. Diseases such as high cholesterol, heart problems, depression, weight gain, and even cancer can be caused by inflammation within the body.
Fortunately, changing your diet for the better, focusing on healthy fruits and vegetables, and reducing processed foods to an absolute minimum can reduce your chances of contracting these diseases and may naturally reduce the inflammation going on in our bodies. Add in healthy exercise and the right supplements, and you can help return your body to a state of health, which will let you live a long and happy life.
- Nutracare Team