In the last few decades, more and more health professionals are realizing that chronic inflammation is at the root of most chronic health problems. From gastrointestinal issues to depression and anxiety, to skin conditions, to neurodegeneration - we find inflammation involved in some way or another. And that makes adopting an anti-inflammatory diet a very important step towards better health.
Inflammation is essentially your body trying to keep you safe; it's a key player in the biological response to potential threats like bacteria, pathogens, toxins, and damaged cells. Without inflammation, your body cannot heal. It’s also one of your body's most potent weapons against stress. It's one of the six circuits of your NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress Response, along with the Hormone, Bioenergetics, Cardionomic, Neuroaffect, and Detoxification Circuits.
Your NEM's Inflammation Circuit involves your immune cells, your microbiome, and your gut. Indeed, chronic inflammation almost always begins in the gut and then spreads elsewhere in the body. It works closely with your NEM's Detoxification Circuit to clear out dead and damaged cells, as well as eliminating the original offenders while promoting tissue repair.
So the problem isn't inflammation in and of itself. The problem is when inflammation goes from being an acute and necessary response to such threats to a chronic state that your body is constantly in. It's basically when inflammation is out of control, leading to a slew of chronic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and adrenal fatigue– along with possible links to maladies like obesity, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer.
And, the most dangerous part of this is that it's a silent epidemic– you can be feeling just fine and not know that your inflammation levels are soaring. And failure to regulate excessive inflammation can have devastating effects on your body. That's why we believe everyone should be leading an anti-inflammatory lifestyle, whether they know they have inflammation or not. And there four key ways to reduce inflammation are the following:
The number one way to keep inflammation at bay is to maintain healthy body weight. The weight loss alone is “anti-inflammatory”.
The prevalence and severity of osteoarthritis, for example, is higher amongst people who are overweight or obese, according to Patience White, MD, the chief public health officer for the Arthritis Foundation. The good thing is, if you follow the suggested anti-inflammatory diet presented in this article, you may very well find yourself losing weight in the process.
But we should mention that extreme dieting or over-exercising to reduce your body weight is not something we recommend. It's always better to naturally shed the weight after adopting a sustainable healthy lifestyle that you can keep up even after you've lost weight. Otherwise, you may not only find yourself putting all the weight back on, but you might add a lot of stress on your body and your adrenals. This can trigger or worsen adrenal fatigue.
Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS) is what happens when you're facing chronic stress, making your adrenals overwork to produce cortisol, your body's most important stress fighter. In the beginning stages of AFS, your cortisol levels rise beyond the healthy range, but after a while, they drop significantly below that range. Each stage will have varying intensities of AFS symptoms.
Getting regular exercise is not only a key component in decreasing inflammation, but it is also essential in having good overall health. But the kind of exercise you do matters, especially if you're recovering from adrenal fatigue or if you have another chronic condition that may be putting your body under a lot of stress. Click here for more information about AFS exercises.
Walking is a gentle form of exercise that is suitable for many people, but if your body is in somewhat good shape, you can do more. In that case, for optimal fitness, try to incorporate a mix of aerobic, anaerobic, and flexibility exercises. Besides helping to lower inflammation, another great benefit of exercising is that it is one of the best ways to manage stress.
In today’s busy world, stress has become a part of daily life. Most of us don't even realize that we're stressed. All the while the stress takes its toll on our health. And no matter how much this becomes the norm, it's not something the human body was built to handle. Your NEM is perfectly capable of dealing with acute bouts of stress here and there and then helping your body to return to normal as quickly as possible. But it is not made to be constantly battling chronic stress.
You need to take action to help lower your stress levels and take some burden off your NEM. And, thankfully, there are many ways to do that:
It's also imperative that you allow yourself to get enough rest and sleep. No matter how much you meditate or go to therapy, if you're not letting yourself rest and sleep, you will not recover properly and your body will always be under pressure.
Another important factor to take into account is that stress is not just psychological. Eating an unhealthy diet is a huge form of stress on the body. That's why the last and possibly most important key to reducing inflammation is eating an anti-inflammatory diet.
You've probably heard that the Mediterranean-style diet – which is full of low-fat proteins, monounsaturated fats like olive oil, and unrefined carbs– is linked to better heart health. The anti-inflammatory diet is quite similar in this regard.
One of the problems of the Standard American Diet is that it contains too many omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-6 fatty acids are associated with higher levels of cytokines. Cytokines are proteins that trigger inflammation, and your cells release them. On the other hand, omega-3 fatty acids can help to significantly decrease inflammation. And those are found in oily fish and walnuts, among other things. The trick is to try to decrease your intake of the former while increasing your intake of the latter.
Some experts suggest that eating more vegetables, which contain phytochemicals – natural chemicals found in plants that are thought to reduce inflammation - can help reduce chronic pain.
The anti-inflammatory diet generally includes eating: lots of fruits and vegetables; lots of whole grains; lots of spices such as ginger and turmeric; fewer saturated and trans fats; fewer refined carbohydrates like pasta and white rice; more lean meats like chicken; less red meat; and no processed or refined foods– avoid these at all costs.
Below is a list of food and beverages that can help reduce inflammation as well as having other important health benefits.
Although coffee may have anti-inflammatory effects, we usually don't recommend it as part of a healthy diet. This is especially the case with our adrenal fatigue patients. Although those with AFS feel they need coffee to function, we try to help them reduce and even eliminate coffee, at least for a while. Most stimulants tend to aggravate adrenal fatigue.
Although it may seem like a tall order at first, think of the above steps as a lifestyle rather than a quick change. You can take it one step at a time, changing one thing at a time. The aim is to live this way, not just use it as a quick fix then go back to your usual.
Unlike anti-inflammatory drugs, eating an anti-inflammatory diet can take time and consistency to produce any sort of result. The advantage of drugs is that they are fast-acting. However, they often come with side effects and skim over the root of the problem. Eating healthier will make you healthier, so commit - especially if you are recovering from adrenal fatigue.
But the wonderful thing about taking these steps, including eating an anti-inflammatory diet, is that they will improve your health and wellbeing in every way. Your mental health will improve. Your job performance will improve. You will recover from infections and illnesses more quickly and easily. And, if you have adrenal fatigue, you will regain your strength and energy again.
We recommend that you go on this journey with the help of an experienced health professional. Especially at first. That way you can avoid the pitfalls and wrong turns that many people run into in the beginning. Once you've learned how to do it by yourself, you can then take matters into your own hands and lead a healthy, balanced life.
If you have questions about the anti-inflammatory diet or adrenal fatigue recovery, you can contact the Dr. Lam Coaching team. We can offer you a free** no-obligation phone consultation at +1-626-571-1234 where we will privately discuss your symptoms and what your options are. You can also send us a question through our Ask The Doctor system by clicking here.
An anti-inflammatory diet is a diet that is free of processed food, simple carbs, and sugar and is full of fruits and vegetables. It also contains a combination of different herbs, spices, and specific foods that are known to fight inflammation. Find out what those are.