Do you often feel sluggish, tired, and wake up not feeling great? Did you know with a few changes you could have more energy, wake up feeling good, and not need those extra cups of coffee! Chronic inflammation is something many Americans suffer from and don’t even know it. Inflammation is a body’s response to what is happening in your body between genetics and the environment. Some of the well-known factors that play a role in inflammation are; central obesity, western-dietary pattern- esp. high fructose, sedentary life style, prolonged psychosocial stress, alterations in gut flora and intestinal permeability, as well as environmental exposures- smoke, toxins, endocrine disrupting chemicals. Inflammation can be acute or chronic, and when it becomes chronic it contributes to conditions such as; gum disease, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, type II diabetes, autoimmune disorders, cancer and many more. I took a class recently with Dr. Tieraona Low Dog who was a wealth of knowledgeable about how inflammation is causing so many of these chronic illnesses.
How can you decrease your risk of developing these chronic illnesses or even reduce current inflammation to get healthy, and no longer need your current medications that are treating these conditions? Let’s start simple and discuss diet. When meal planning it’s important to be aware of what foods can increase or decrease inflammation within the body. It’s also important to know what additional vitamins or supplements would benefit you, as each individual’s needs vary.
Foods that increase inflammation – Animal fats, Red meat, Salt, Refined carbohydrates, Soda, and Fried foods.
Anti-Inflammatory Foods- Tomatoes, Fruits, Nuts, High Quality Olive Oil, Fatty Fish (Omega-3), Leafy greens, and Fiber.
Important Vitamins/ Supplements- Vitamin C, Vitamin D3 (1,500-2,000 IU daily), Vitamin B12, Fish oil- Omega- 3 (2-3x wk) * Omega-3 index test is a recommend test to find out if you’re getting enough Omega- 3 in your diet – desirable level is 7 or 8. * Recommended to use https://requestatest.com/(host site that uses your local lab)
Additional daily suggestions on ways to decrease inflammation:
Turmeric ½ TSP (add to smoothies, tomato soup, use as a rub)
Probiotic – Helps regulate immune functions and reduce risk of intestinal infection, improve intestinal barrier function to keep bacteria from leaking into the bloodstream causing Endotoxemia. It also helps improve glucose control, and reduce inflammatory cytokines which help decrease the risk factors of the chronic conditions I listed at the beginning. Not all Probiotics work the same way so make sure you take the look at some of the research behind them at USprobioticguide.comto see which one is best for you. *Probiotics are recommended for children as well.
Prebiotics- un-digestible plant fiber that acts as food for microbiota. Examples include: Bananas, onions, garlic, leeks, apple skin, chicory root, dandelion greens, beans, wheat flour, and Jerusalem artichokes.
Watch the sugars! We all know that too much sugar is not good for us. Sugar is in so many different things that we don’t even realize. Its important to know there are two types of sugars; Sucrose and Fructose. Table sugar is made up of one-part glucose and one-part fructose but High Fructose Corn syrup is made up of 55% fructose and 42% glucose and 3% other sugars. I share this with you because its important to know the difference and what your body can naturally handle and break down. Your body breaks down and uses glucose for energy. The liver cells are the only type of cell that breaks down fructose, so if you have to much fructose it taxes the liver and you become at risk for fatty liver, which is becoming more common. Fatty Liver is a condition where excess fat builds up in the liver, although it is usually asymptomatic it can present itself with pain in the lower right abdomen and tiredness. Diets that are high in high fructose increase intestinal permeability and as mentioned before intestinal permeability increases the risk of bacterial endotoxins entering the blood stream, which activates inflammation by changing insulin signaling and triggering inflammatory mediators, and lead to what many people know as Leaky Gut Syndrome.
The Dietary Inflammatory Index (DII) is based on measuring inflammation in the body in response to specific foods. How can you find out where you fall on the inflammation index? Get your inflammation score today at https://imaginehealthy.org/Product/DIIOnDemand to see if changes needed to be made in your life to decrease your inflammation, and long-term risk of these chronic diseases. I highly recommend everyone doing this especially if you have, or are at risk of periodontal disease, depression, dementia, cancer, cardiovascular disease, or diabetic.
In addition to making changes to your daily eating habits to decrease inflammation it’s important to take a look at your life style. Are you exercising? This does not mean you have to spend hours at the gym, start simple and walk 15-20 minutes 3x day and work your way up to 1 hour a day. Take 30 minutes a day and focus on your breathing- you can do this on your ride to work if you have limited time available, shut the radio off and just have quiet time for 30 minutes, if your home and not driving meditate during this time. Getting enough sleep and spend more time outdoors and less inside. Put your phone away during dinner and shut off that TV. Do you have good Oral Hygiene Habits? Seeing your dental hygienist regularly, flossing or using a waterPik to remove all the bacteria that lives in your mouth below the gumline, as well as brushing and rinsing. This is important because bacteria in the blood stream is a trigger for inflammation. Finally, stop worrying about stuff you can’t control, easier said than done I agree but try and see where life takes you. Trying to make positive life style changes to be healthy and feel good can only be done by one person and that person is YOU!
To learn more check out Dr. Low Dog's website https://drlowdog.com/
Additional information can be found through many Podcasts - Dr. Mark Hyman, Ben Greenfield, and Love is Medicine are just a few I have enjoyed that focus on how a healthy life style and clean eating effects your overall health as well as your children's.