Chronic inflammation is not necessarily concentrated; it may not even induce noticeable discomfort and pain on a persistent basis. But it is a serious and widespread long-term health risk, the root of a range of disorders and diseases. From rheumatoid arthritis to diabetes, from high blood pressure to depression, and even from cancer to Alzheimer’s, chronic inflammation can reek havoc on our bodies in countless ways. It’s like a smoldering fire that starts burning slowly, but if left unattended will eventually turn into a three alarm blaze!
Inflammation is not an inherently bad phenomenon: it is the body’s way of fighting infections and nurturing injuries. Swelling and pain is our immune system’s way of assembling the cells and chemicals necessary to heal.
Inflammation can turn chronic for any number of reasons, but all of them relate back to an unhealthy and unaligned body. When systems in the body are not communicating properly, the stimulation of pro-inflammatory immune cells continues beyond the necessary amount. As a result, these “immune” cells actually prove harmful, inflicting damage on blood vessels, tissues, gut mucosa, and more.
Often, there are no telltale indicators that a person is suffering from chronic inflammation, so here are 10 tips to fight the fire before it starts to rage out of control:
1. Nervous System Optimization
As we discussed in my first blog post of the year, if your nervous system is not functioning at 100%, neither will your immune system – or you as a whole for that matter. Upper cervical chiropractic care can restore communication between the brain and body, eliminating interference and inflammation. Once the body is properly aligned, Tips 2-10 will succeed and sustain.
Shop the perimeter of the grocery store and choose plant based, high fiber, whole foods. Think like a Mediterranean and eat lots of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, fish, and olive oil.
3. Eliminate Wheat
Bypass the bread aisle on your way to checkout and pay close attention to hidden sources of wheat in your diet. Whole Grains aren’t as healthy as you think. As Dr. William Davis writes in his book Wheat Belly, you should decrease or altogether eliminate wheat from your diet.
4. Go Alkaline
An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but a glass of warm water with lemon will do a tremendous amount for your overall health.
5. Become Friends with Bacteria
Specifically a good probiotic. This will promote healthy digestion, and healthy bacteria in your gut reduces inflammation.
6. Balance your Omega 3’s with your Omega 6’s
The ratio is more important than the quantity. If you eat fish, dark leafy greens and snack foods like flax seeds or other sources high in Omega 3’s, you might not need a supplement. It is the ratio of Omega 3’s to Omega 6’s that is important.
You do not have to run a marathon to move enough to combat chronic inflammation. In fact, over-exercising can cause chronic inflammation on its own. Just go to the gym, play a sport, walk around the block, or even exercise at home on a daily basis. Anything to work up a sweat!
8. …then Relax!
Siesta may not be part of the American culture, but you should still take 10-15 minutes to rest in the middle of each day. This will help relax your muscles, calm your nervous system and reducing chronic inflammation risks.
Aim to get at least 7-8 hours every night to give your body a chance to rest, repair, and restore. (Don’t forget to sleep on your back to hold your alignment!)
10. Take care of your teeth
Brush several times a day – and don’t forget to floss while you are at it! Your mother was right! Neglecting your teeth will result in bad bacteria and germs accumulating. This can affect your systemic health.
You don’t have to try to conquer Rome in a day. Permanent changes take place slowly. Take one tip a week and add it to your daily routine. Remember, it is much easier to be proactive with your health rather than reactive. The way to start is with a healthy functioning nervous system!