Medical professionals and the public are only just becoming aware of the dangers of inflammation. For a long time, no one even considered the idea that inflammation could be connected with health and well-being. But today, most people know that inflammation is linked to a number of serious diseases and disorders. Unfortunately, most of the time it’s hard to know how much inflammation exists in your body. It is not something you can see or directly experience. This is even more important if you suffer from diseases such as Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome (AFS), which both causes inflammation and can be the result of it. That’s why it’s so important that you do everything you can to reduce inflammation on a regular basis. And according to a recent study, adding yogurt to your diet may help with that in a couple of ways.
The Health Benefits of Eating Yogurt
Researchers recently conducted a study that was designed to test the health benefits of eating yogurt before meals. The study was focused on how inflammation was affected by this dietary change, but other systems and changes were tracked as well. Yogurt is strongly associated with intestinal health and can aid in balancing the bacteria in the gut for better overall health. This is particularly important for the health of people who are overweight or obese, as decreased intestinal health is strongly associated with obesity. The findings also have implications for people with AFS because they often suffer from unhealthy gut bacteria as well as a range of other symptoms that may be addressed by eating yogurt.
The study examined two groups of women. One group had healthy Body Mass Index (BMI) levels and the other had BMI levels that are associated with obesity. The participants were randomly assigned to eat either 339 grams of low-fat yogurt or 324 grams of soy pudding before their meals for the 9 weeks of the study.
The results were impressive. The obese women who ate pudding suffered from hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar levels, after their meals. However, the obese women who ate yogurt did not suffer from the same blood sugar level spikes. In addition, the non-obese women who ate yogurt had fewer episodes of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar levels, after their meals. This is important because both high and low blood sugar levels can be a serious health risk or an early warning sign of diabetes.
The study also found that women who ate yogurt before their meals had lower levels of the chemicals and proteins associated with immune system activation. This is an important finding because immune system activity is a good predictor of inflammation levels. Because the women who had yogurt had lower activation, it means that their inflammation levels automatically decreased as well.
A second study was also performed to test different markers of health and revealed even more benefits of eating yogurt. The second study found that women who ate the yogurt, regardless of weight, had lower levels of TNF-alpha and soluble TNF II. These are proteins that cause inflammation and have been linked with a number of autoimmune diseases. This was combined with an increase in the antibodies that help the body to fight off certain unhealthy bacteria. The study also found that obese women who ate the yogurt had 3-6% reduction in their blood pressure readings after three weeks of the study. This is important for cardiac health as well as overall well-being because high blood pressure is associated with increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and hardening of the arteries.
These are some amazing benefits that come from a very small change. And all of them can improve your health overall and support your AFS recovery.
What is AFS?
AFS is caused and exacerbated by stress. Stress has become one of the most prevalent modern complaints and it’s also a very dangerous one that has been linked to an increased risk of a number of potentially deadly diseases. Because stress can do so much damage, your body has a system set up that’s designed to both protect your body and to prepare it to react to the source of the stress. This is called the NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress Response, and it activates a number of systems in your body whenever you experience stress. A key component of this stress response are your adrenal glands because they excrete cortisol, a hormone that’s essential for a variety of functions in the body. However, this system is meant to turn on and off in response to short-term stressors, and this weakness can result in a number of problems in the high-stress modern world.
The modern world is full of ongoing stressors, which can result in the NEM stress response system becoming overworked. When this occurs, the adrenal glands can become fatigued and struggle to keep up with the demand for cortisol. In the early stages of AFS, they still continue to secrete appropriate amounts of cortisol, which is why medical tests at this stage usually show normal results. But when the adrenal glands are fatigued, they must work much harder to meet this demand, and this can cause the dysregulation of various systems as well as a variety of strange and worsening symptoms. These symptoms most commonly include brain fog, inflammation, fatigue, digestive problems, mental disorders, and palpitations. Unfortunately, these symptoms just add to the body’s overall stress levels, which exacerbates the original problem and increases the fatigue of the adrenal glands.
The Key to AFS Recovery
When you have AFS, you need to address the symptoms as well as the underlying problems associated with the disorder. AFS is caused by an overload of stress, so the first changes you make must be designed to lower your stress levels and give your body the time it needs to heal itself. The best ways to decrease the amount of stress you’re under overall are to improve your diet and to adopt stress relieving practices such as meditation or yoga. This will allow your body to start to heal.
But this isn’t enough. Not only do you need to reduce the stress you experience as a consequence of your busy modern lifestyle, you also need to address the stress that’s caused by the symptoms of AFS. This means looking at your symptoms separately and taking measures to alleviate or reduce them in order to reduce your stress levels. It’s also important that you improve the overall health of the affected organs and circuits in your body.
AFS and Your Digestion
AFS often causes severe, painful, and embarrassing digestive symptoms. This is often the result of the dysregulation of the metabolic circuit, which causes digestion, elimination, and detoxification to slow down and become irregular. As a result, people who have AFS often complain of alternative bouts of diarrhea and constipation as well as indigestion and gas. Because of these types of problems, AFS is strongly linked to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) as well as to food sensitivities that cause or exacerbate digestive troubles.
If you suffer from these types of problems, eating yogurt before your meals may help. According to the recent study, yogurt can help to balance bacteria in your gut. This may improve your digestive health and help to eliminate or reduce constipation and diarrhea. This will improve your overall health and support you on your journey to AFS recovery in a variety of ways.
Improving your Mental Health by Improving Gut Health
People with AFS often experience a change in their mental health as their condition progresses. This can sometimes manifest as anxiety. On the surface of it, this may seem like a very natural response to being ill with no real idea of what’s happening or how to start healing. But recent research indicates that this type of anxiety may have a deeper cause. There is some evidence that the health of your gut microbiome, the balance of bacteria that live in your gut, may be directly linked to your mental health. Although the specifics of this link are not yet understood, there is evidence to suggest that improving gut health can alleviate anxiety.
So if you suffer from anxiety as a result of your AFS, eating yogurt before each meal may help to reduce this symptom by addressing any gut imbalances that may be contributing to your condition. And this will lower your body’s overall stress levels, which is one of the keys to AFS recovery as it will lower the level of chronic inflammation throughout your system.
What is Inflammation?
Inflammation is actually the result of natural processes in the body. When your body comes under stress, whether it’s because of a physical injury or emotional stress, it produces inflammation in an effort to rid itself of the stressor. This results in the physical symptoms of inflammation such as pain, swelling, and heat. When the inflammation is caused by a physical stressor or injury, it lingers until the irritant is gone and then subsides. This is a natural form of inflammation that aids the body without causing damage. However, there are other forms of inflammation that are far more threatening.
Inflammation caused by ongoing emotional or mental stress is different to inflammation that’s caused by temporary stressors. Because the causes of these stressors are typically ongoing and impossible to eliminate, the inflammation becomes chronic and ongoing. This is a highly damaging state that causes the inflammation circuit to become overworked and unbalanced. When this occurs, further physical, emotional, and mental symptoms start to appear that add to the original stress and worsen the overall situation. Some symptoms of chronic inflammation include
- Digestive upsets such as bloating, constipation, or diarrhea
- Food sensitivities
- Mental disorders such as anxiety
- Brain fog
Apart from causing these debilitating and often worsening symptoms, chronic inflammation can also cause or contribute to a range of disorders and diseases including AFS.
Using Yogurt to Reduce Inflammation
Eating yogurt before every meal may help to reduce inflammation in a number of ways. If you have AFS, this will reduce the amount of damage the inflammation can do to your body and lower your overall stress levels. When you have AFS, there are a range of symptoms and problems that will cause inflammation. Stress on its own can cause inflammation, as can digestive problems, mental stress and disorders, and general ill health. Because yogurt can soothe and help to rebalance the immune system, it can reduce the amount of inflammation in the body overall. It also addresses several direct causes of inflammation such as digestive problems and anxiety, which will help to rebalance the organs and circuits associated with them. This will encourage these circuits to function more effectively and decrease the amount of inflammation that occurs as a result of dysregulation.
Thai Peanut Chicken Salad with Yogurt
- ½ cup plain yogurt
- 2 tbsp. salt reduced peanut butter
- 2 tbsp. lime juice
- 2 tbsp. miso paste
- 2 tsp. Sriracha
- 3 cups shredded, organic chicken, cooked
- 1 cup carrots, shredded
- 2 tbsp. chopped cilantro
- 2 tbsp. chopped peanuts
- 2 tbsp. scallions, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
Combine ingredients A in a bowl and mix well.
- Toss ingredients B in a bowl and pour ingredients A over the top.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
NOTE: For those that are sensitive to peanuts or peanut butter, you may substitute with other nuts and nut butter.
Inflammation is the body’s natural response to and defence against stress and damage, but that doesn’t mean that it should be allowed to run rampant through your body. Unfortunately, studies have shown that inflammation can be just as damaging as the original problem, if not more so. That’s why taking measures to reduce the amount of inflammation in your body is a good strategy for increasing your overall health no matter how healthy you are originally. And adding yogurt to your daily eating regime is an easy and quick way to do that. Adopting strategies that reduce inflammation is even more important when you suffer from disorders such as AFS, which is strongly linked to inflammation and can cause a variety of troubling and debilitating physical, mental, and emotional symptoms. This is the best way to start on the path to recovery from this dangerous and frightening disorder so you can reclaim your good health again.
© Copyright 2019 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.
Dr. Lam’s Key Question
Can eating yogurt decrease inflammation?
Yogurt is extremely good for the body. It promotes intestinal health and soothes the immune system, reducing inflammation and other symptoms associated with a hypersensitive immune response. It may also help to increase cardiac health by lowering blood pressure and reducing the chances of developing diabetes.