What is it and why should you pay attention?
Inflammation is the body’s response to injury in the body, think of when you’ve accidentally bumped your shin or toe on something hard and it hurts and swells up. This is the body’s reaction to send more blood and white blood cells to the area to repair itself. Too much of this, too frequently though can cause internal scar tissue, throw off hormone balance and damage DNA, which can have serious health consequences, such as onset of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s and cancer. This also happens inside the body in response to various stressors, such as diseases (think diabetes), invasive microorganisms, toxic fungi, parasites, exposure to environmental substances that can’t be broken down well by the body, such as silica dust, agricultural agents like pesticides, fumes from welding, industrial solvents, vehicle exhaust, etc. Other causes are autoimmune disorders like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, Autoimmune disorders like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, Recurrent acute inflammation from various sources, such as too much intense exercise without adequate time off, alcohol abuse, chronic stress, oxidative stress, overload of free radical molecules, advanced glycation end products (toasted, browned, or burnt carbohydrates and proteins), uric acid, homocysteine.
Exercising and overtraining
Exercising to get stronger and fitter, especially high-intensity workouts, challenging resistance training and frequent vigorous aerobic exercise can cause elevated acute inflammation in the body, but lead to greater fitness, performance, and strength. Do yourself a favor and take a week off every 4 weeks of intensive exercise; choose low-intensity exercise to give your system a break, such as restorative yoga, swimming, easy walking or cycling to let your body recover and adjust to exercise adaptations. Also, pay attention to signs of overtraining (which is an indicator of elevated inflammation as well), such as constant fatigue,
feeling weaker rather than usual, problems sleeping, frequent pain or injuries and more than an hour of cardio exercise per day for an ongoing basis.
Diet and Nutrition to reduce inflammation
Diet and nutrition also play a significant role in inflammation. Focus on getting plenty of colorful vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins, Omega-3 rich fish (salmon, mackerel, sardines) and mono and poly-unsaturated plant-based fats help reduce inflammation. Avoid an excess of browned/charred/fried carbohydrates and proteins because they cause the formation of AGE (advanced glycation end products that have been shown to trigger an inflammatory response in the body. Consider adding more turmeric, green tea, ginger, garlic, tomatoes, olive oil, dark chocolate and chia seeds to your diet when possible.
Eat organic whenever possible to reduce your exposure to pesticides. One more thing to pay attention to is dietary fiber; it too is shown to reduce chronic inflammation by optimizing your gut microbiome.