Arthritis, Gastritis, Bronchitis, Colitis, Tendonitis, Encephalitis and anything that ends with -itis is a term used to describe inflammation in the body.
So what is Inflammation?
Inflammation is actually a process used by the body to heal tissues and organs. When body detects a foreign body or substance such as bacteria, virus, chemical, injury or a pathogen it sends blood to the area to heal those tissues. This is when we see the typical signs of inflammation: red, swollen, hot and painful. These signs can be seen easily when they are on the outside of the body, but are usually only felt as pain when they are within the body. Sometimes the body loses its ability to determine harmful cells from its own healthy cells or tissues and begins to treat those as foreign objects—this is often the autoimmune pathway to disease.
There are two categories of inflammation that characterize the frequency and nature of the process: Acute and Chronic. Everyone has experienced the acute process at one time or another with a burn, bite, bruise or cut. Tissues experience damage of some kind and blood and various cells are sent in to heal everything up in a very quick and efficient manner. Acute inflammation usually lasts a couple of days and disappears without a trace (unless a scar forms). Chronic inflammation is where more intense issues arise in the body. Our foods, habits and lifestyles play a big part in this process. Chronic inflammation lasts months to years and can lead to serious health issues such as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Hepatitis, Lyme disease, Diabetes, Allergies, COPD, Psoriasis, Eczema, yearly bouts of Bronchitis and much more.
Factors that increase the risk of chronic inflammation:
Diets rich in processed foods, meats and unhealthy fats
Unhealthy products used in the home or on the body
What can we do to prevent, treat and heal chronic inflammation?
Lifestyle adjustments, herbal remedies and healing treatments go a long way in restoring damaged cells and tissues and reducing and preventing inflammation.
1. 30 MINUTES DAILY EXERCISE-walking, running, swimming, yoga, tennis, surfing, pilates, etc. Basically, move your body! Get everything moving and circulating. We are too sedentary these days, more movement is necessary to get healthy. If you sit at a desk for work, get up and move around every 30 minutes, even if just to stretch a little and shake out your limbs and stretch your neck and shoulders. If you like to binge tv shows, get up walk around a bit, wash the dishes, or stretch on the floor while watching tv.
2. PLANT BASED DIET: fruits and vegetables contain anti-oxidants and substances called anthocyanins that heal tissues of the body, deliver high vitamin content to organ systems, and provide vital nutrients with absolutely no links to inflammation (unless there is an allergy), think vitamins and minerals such as: A, B, C, D, E, F, K, Magnesium, Zinc, Calcium, etc. The National Institute of Health states that:
“Vitamins and minerals are essential substances that our bodies need to develop and function normally. The known vitamins include A, C, D, E, and K, and the B vitamins: thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxal (B6), cobalamin (B12), biotin, and folate/folic acid. A number of minerals are essential for health: calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, chloride, magnesium, iron, zinc, iodine, sulfur, cobalt, copper, fluoride, manganese, and selenium.”
In order to have all of these vital substances included in your diet, fill your plate with colorful fruits, vegetables, gluten-free grains, seeds and nuts at meals and snacks.
3. PLANT BASED PROTEIN—UCSD and UCLA recommend all patients with degenerative diseases and chronic inflammatory responses to eat plant-based protein since it is easier for the body to digest and assimilate. These are institutes that spend a great deal of time researching health and what’s best for the body. Tofu, tempeh, quinoa, beans, nut butters, seeds, broccoli, kale, potatoes, etc. are all great choices. There are so many plant-based proteins to choose from, they are economical and easy to cook too! Choose the ones that agree the most with your body and keep it simple. Once your taste buds adjust, you’ll notice how delicious these foods really are without all the added sugar, salt and unhealthy fats.
4. 30 MINUTES OF SUNSHINE DAILY-try to get sunscreen-free sunshine before 11am and after 3pm (start out slowly with 10-15 increments if you have fair skin). Did you know that the average person spends 90% of their time indoors? Yikes! Let’s turn the tide of unhealthy living and get outdoors more to move naturally, enjoy sunshine, nature and all the beauty that surrounds us everywhere. If you’re in the sunshine between 11am and 2pm, be sure to use a mineral-based sunscreen, it’s best for your skin AND the environment. By choosing natural products you’ll avoid baking chemicals into your skin since chemical sunscreen ingredients absorb into the bloodstream and can cause exactly what you’re trying to avoid, skin cancer.
5. USE NATURAL PRODUCTS IN YOUR HOME AND ON YOUR BODY—the effects of perfumes and cosmetics that are made of chemical and synthetic ingredients are numerous. These synthetic products cause hormone imbalance and disruption, are toxic to your system due to heavy metals and artificial dyes and perfumes. There are plenty of healthy, natural products with mineral and plant based options these days—they are good for your body and good for the earth. Look for vegan cosmetics (typically eco-friendly and all natural) and earth-friendly cleaning products.
6. HERBS AND SPICES—there are numerous herbal remedies to help heal all different areas of inflammation in the body—get an herbal consultation with your acupuncturist for a formula that is best for you. Spices have been used for thousands of years to heal the body, so include plenty of ginger, turmeric, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, rosemary and fenugreek in your diet.
7. HEALING TECHNIQUES—massage, meditation, deep breathing exercises, journaling, Tai Chi, Qi Gong, reflexology, acupuncture are great ways to reduce inflammation. When anxiety and stress build up in the body and the mind is moving rapidly from present to past to future these healing techniques can shift us out of fear, loneliness, stress and anger quickly. Emotions that build up, especially anger are associated with inflammation. If we are experiencing a lot of pressure in our lives then we need something to help us let go of all that tension. Any excessive emotion that’s felt over a sustained period of time can cause internal damage to our organs. In order to purge out that build-up healing is necessary.
**After a healing treatment we feel light, relaxed and are able to cope with the requests of the world again in a more centered and focused way. We make healthier choices for our bodies and are kinder and gentler with our loved ones. When we feel good we share that energy with each other making a healthier, happier planet**
Happy Healing San Diego!