It’s a beautiful morning, you are out for a morning jog, suddenly your toe catches a crack in the sidewalk, and down you go. In the process you twist your ankle. Your first thought is “did I break it?” and after a few moments, you realize that you didn’t, but you know it’s sprained. As the day goes on it swells, becomes more painful, and very discolored. This is because the body has created an inflammatory response to begin the process of healing. Anytime your body is injured – from a paper cut to broken bone, the body creates inflammation to repair the damage. As the damage heals, the inflammation goes away.
Inflammation always occurs when the body is trying to repair itself. And, if the body is constantly bombarded with irritants, it is constantly trying to heal creating a state of chronic systemic inflammation. These irritants are in the form of too much stress, a poor diet lacking in good nutrition and high in sugars, alcohol consumption, tobacco use, exposure to environmental toxins, not drinking enough clean water, and lack of sleep and exercise. Persistent, systemic inflammation is at the root of practically all known chronic health conditions, which includes everything from rheumatoid arthritis to dementia, heart disease, and cancer. In fact there may be hundreds of diseases that may be caused by chronic inflammation.
So what can you do to avoid chronic inflammation and resultant disease? Here are a few suggestions:
- Drink plenty of clean water – Pure, mineral rich water is perhaps the most important anti-inflammatory thing you can add to improve your health. The minerals help to keep your body alkaline, and the water washes toxins out of your body.
- Eat lots of fermented foods – Kombucha tea, yogurt, kefir, raw apple cider vinegar, fermented vegetables like kimchee are all probiotic rich superfoods that not only help to keep your body alkaline, but also populate your gut with healthy bacteria that keep it well-functioning.
- Greatly reduce sugars – It’s hard to tell people to eliminate sugars, because that is just not going to happen. But reducing carbs is very important since sugar is probably one of the greatest contributors to inflammation there is. This not only means all the goodies like candy and cookies, but also pastas and breads, which are other forms of pure sugar in disguise. Of course, reducing sugar does not mean using artificial sweeteners, as these create their own form of health risks.
- Eat more inflammation fighting fruits and vegetables – Blueberries, cranberries, papaya, chia seeds, celery, avocado, ginger, walnuts, broccoli, and spices like turmeric all have inflammation fighting phytonutrients.
- Get plenty of vitamin D exposure – Vitamin D plays a very important role in improving immune function. Whether you get it from the sun (with proper safety measures), or supplementation, Vitamin D is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent that is a must in keeping your body healthy.
- Regular chiropractic care – Chronic stress is a major cause of inflammation in the body and regular (i.e. at least once a week) chiropractic adjustments of the spinal system helps to reduce the effects of the emotional stress that is a major part of our daily lives. Along with a good night’s sleep and plenty of exercise, chiropractic care can go a long way in keeping you healthy.
If chronic, persistent stress is at the root of all our degenerative diseases, then doesn’t it make sense to take the right steps now to keep yourself as healthy as you can? Following any one of these suggestions can go a long way in protecting yourself from disease. Using all of them is even better.