You’ve heard me talk about inflammation a lot. Headaches, joint pain, bloating, digestive upset, even chronic health conditions can all be connected back to a root cause: inflammation.
It’s important to understand where inflammation comes from, because if you keep unknowingly engaging in behaviors or eating foods that contribute to inflammation, then it’s kind of like pouring salt in a wound — you’ll feel worse.
So let’s look at inflammation and identify some causes.
First, what is inflammation?
Inflammation is our body’s normal and healthy response to injury or attack on the immune system. Inflammation on the surface of the body, known as acute inflammation, is commonly described as heat, redness, swelling, and pain. Chronic, low-level inflammation at the cellular level – known as the “silent killer” – develops without pain and can lead to obesity, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
What causes it?
Here are some examples of the top contributors to inflammation…
Diet: trans fats, refined sugar, gluten, food additives, and refined grains, etc.
Environment: Pollution, smoke, pesticides, herbicides, heavy metals, etc.
Stress: Psychological, personal, relationships, workplace, etc.
Physical Injury: Infections, injuries, trauma, cuts, fractures, abrasions, etc.
Illness: Excess weight, heart disease, digestive disorders, autoimmune, etc.
How to reduce inflammation
Reducing your exposure to the above factors can help reverse inflammation. So can exercise! Exercising 3-5 days per week, for at least 30 minutes per session, helps reduce excess weight, the likelihood of chronic illness, and builds overall wellness. Additionally, exercise–including yoga and meditation–promotes mental clarity and stress reduction.
Finally, including more anti-inflammatory foods in your diet can lower inflammation, too.
Examples of anti-inflammatory foods include…
extra virgin olive oil
dark leafy greens
There’s a lot you can on your own to quell the inflammatory fires, but it can be overwhelming to figure out where to start. You don’t have to implement everything at once. Just pick one thing from the list above. What’s one change you could make in the area of food, stress reduction or exercise?
What causes inflammation?