Many people will find it surprising that one specific condition in the body is the “root of most of modern disease.”
Inflammation is also being called the root of all chronic illnesses, including heart disease, diabetes, obesity, dementia, cancer, and depression. It has also been linked with such diverse conditions such as ADD/ADHD, thyroid issues, and dental problems.
Let’s step back for a moment and get a better understanding on what is “inflammation.” Inflammation is your immune system’s reaction to both trauma and infection. When you catch a virus or have a cut, your body initiates inflammation as a response to the adverse stimuli (the wound or viruses or bacteria, etc.). The body uses inflammation to clear out any foreign substances as well as any damaged cells so that the body can repair itself. Inflammation is normal and necessary in the healing process of the body.
The problem comes in when our body over-reacts with inflammation or has too many issues that cause inflammation so that inflammation becomes chronic.
The causes of inflammation are well known, if largely ignored, in our Western culture. They include:
- Injury to the body, such as cuts in the skin
- Toxins such as mercury and pesticides
- Allergens in food or the environment
- Lack of exercise
The good thing about this list is that, with a small amount of awareness and small lifestyle changes, you can work with your body to use inflammation properly without causing other problems in your body. To aid your body with this process, Dr. Mark Hyman says,
Here is what I recommend. It’s a disarmingly simple but extraordinarily effective way to achieve UltraWellness:
- Whole Foods — Eat a whole foods, high-fiber, plant-based diet, which is inherently anti-inflammatory. That means choosing unprocessed, unrefined, whole, fresh, real foods, not those full of sugar and trans fats and low in powerful anti-inflammatory plant chemicals called phytonutrients.
- Healthy Fats — Give yourself an oil change by eating healthy monounsaturated fats in olive oil, nuts and avocados, and getting more omega-3 fats from small fish like sardines, herring, sable, and wild salmon.
- Regular Exercise — Mounting evidence tells us that regular exercise reduces inflammation. It also improves immune function, strengthens your cardiovascular systems, corrects and prevents insulin resistance, and is key for improving your mood and erasing the effects of stress. In fact, regular exercise is one among a small handful of lifestyle changes that correlates with improved health in virtually ALL of the scientific literature. So get moving already!
- Relax — Learn how to engage your vagus nerve by actively relaxing. This powerful nerve relaxes your whole body and lowers inflammation when you practice yoga or meditation, breathe deeply, or even take a hot bath.
- Avoid Allergens — If you have food allergies, find out what you’re allergic to and stop eating those foods—gluten and dairy are two common culprits.
- Heal Your Gut — Take probiotics to help your digestion and improve the balance of healthy bacteria in your gut, which reduces inflammation.
- Supplement — Take a multivitamin/multimineral supplement, fish oil, and vitamin D, all of which help reduce inflammation.
A few simple changes to your lifestyle and diet can prevent and possibly reverse chronic diseases that our culture deals with, and the good news is that this is all in your control.