Inflammation is now recognized as the “underlying basis of a significant number of diseases”, and may be related to asthma, arthritis and Crohn’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and Parkinson’s according to Dr. Tanya Edwards, director of the Center for Integrative Medicine.
Inflammation isn’t all bad, it is an integral part of our immune system, increasing blood flow, activating an army of white blood cells to mitigate damage caused by an illness, pathogens, or injury. That type of inflammation is often labeled “Acute”, meaning that it starts quickly and usually dissipates in a couple of days. Chronic inflammation on the other hand if left untreated can last for weeks, months, even years, often going undetected. Chronic inflammation keeps the immune response active, sometimes resulting in the attack of healthy tissue, worst case contributing to an auto-immune disease.
Chronic inflammation can exist without symptoms and in “healthy people”.
The most common causes of inflammation are poor lifestyle choices such as processed foods and inactivity….
But that’s not you, you are healthy, active, environmentally conscious, and you even put adaptogenic herbs in your morning smoothie, right??
Harder to detect causes of chronic inflammation include:
- Chronic stress, resulting in HPA (hypothalamic pituitary adrenal) axis dysfunction, aka adrenal fatigue, wreaking havoc on your hormones.
- Allergies and food intolerances that can occur as a result of missing enzymes or nutrients, poor bacterial balance or gut integrity, and more. It is estimated that 3 out of 4 people have some sort of food intolerance.
- Intestinal pathogens, usually yeast, bacteria, or even parasites. Yep, bugs! Ewe, but it happens, traveling out of the country, poor quality or undercooked meats or fish, over indulgence of sugar or alcohol, even some medications.
- Excessive exposure to toxins or mold, typically found in household items, poor quality air filtration, hidden mold in your home, walls, bathrooms and kitchens.
In addition to managing your stress, meditating, eating anti-inflammatory foods and exercising, now is a great time to check your home for hidden mold, switch your household cleaners, cosmetics, and toiletry items to natural and organic when possible, avoid processed foods, artificial sweeteners and any other food additives. An elimination diet can help to identify food intolerances, starting with gluten, dairy, eggs, shellfish, and peanuts.
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