OK ladies now let's get inflammation!
Updated: Feb 29, 2020
(Guys, this is for you too, but that Beyoncé-inspired title was just too good to pass up on #sorrynotsorry.)
Welcome to my FIRST blog post, love!
I am SO excited to be talking to you and to share all the juicy deets that will help you take your health to the next level!
Quick little info on what I'm all about: inflammation, inflammation, and gut health.
Pretty simple right? So let's dive in.
There's a liiiitle bit of information in this one, but don't stress: if you're more interested in the 'what can I do about it' part, simply scroll down to that section. As for everyone else (aka you little nerds interested in the nitty gritty of inflammation) keep reading and remember: the precursor to all action is knowledge.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
First of all, not all inflammation is bad; quite the contrary, some is necessary.
When something goes wrong in your body (if you catch a bacteria or a virus, or if you fall and scrape your knee) the body’s immune system immediately tries to fix the damage: lots and lots of chemicals go into your bloodstream and travel to the damaged area and fill it with blood, fluid, and proteins. This creates swelling and generates heat, which help repair damaged tissue. This sets the stage for healing and is a necessary and normal process, provided that once healing is completed the body returns to a neutral state.
Now let's take a step back from that and think about your digestive tract: when you eat, the food goes into your stomach first and then into your small intestine, where most nutrient absorption happens.
The crazy part about the small intestine is that there is only a one-cell layer that separates it from the rest of your body.
Just ONE CELL! Isn't that crazy? So imagine how easy it is for that one-cell layer to be damaged, especially if you eat things that irritate those cells.
Thousands of years of evolution have taught your immune system which foods are safe to eat and which aren't, so when you eat processed foods, pesticides, and other chemicals your immune system doesn't recognize them!
If that one cell layer becomes damaged in any way, some food particles can escape the small intestine and they then run into your immune system -which you can think of as tiny soldiers protecting the castle that is your body (yes, that whole "your body is a temple" saying is true).
What these tiny soldiers then do to the particles of food they don't recognize is they ramp up the body to fight and then bathe the area with blood, fluid, and proteins, which then creates swelling.
If you continue eating those types of food, which then pass through that one-cell layer and escape the small intestine, then the body is in a continuous state of attack and voilà, it is now in a state of chronic inflammation!
WHY SHOULD I WORRY ABOUT IT?
People way smarter than me have shown that chronic inflammation is linked to:
almost all chronic diseases (like cancer, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, obesity, heart disease, hypertension, stroke)
the most common digestive issues (like Irritable Bowel Syndrome, leaky gut, constipation, bloating, etc.)
conditions like eczema, hives, and asthma
CAUSES OF CHRONIC INFLAMMATION
There are 3 common causes of inflammation:
As a chronic inflammation warrior and as your health coach I can only help with the diet part; for the other two causes a licensed physician is the way to go.
There are a few things that can cause inflammation in your diet:
too many omega 6 fatty acids
excess sugar intake
refined carbs (like white rice, pasta, bread, and anything else that is not made with 100% whole grains)
So that pretty much puts the majority of all Americans at risk for chronic inflammation, which is a daunting and terrifying realization.
WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT IT?
There are a few things you can do to help your body return to a neutral state.
First and foremost is healing your gut. Here are 3 steps that can get you started:
a good probiotic with 50-100 billion cultures, taken every night before bed;
eating prebiotic foods -like bananas, leeks, asparagus- every day;
eating fermented foods -like saurkraut, pickles, kimchi, etc -every day.
With healing your gut come some dietary changes. It is important to:
tone down on your sugar intake. The recommended amount of sugar per day is 6 tsp (24g) for women and 9 tsp (36g) for men.
remove refined carbohydrates (like white rice, white flour, so called 'whole wheat' bread, pastries)
build your plate in the following way: 1/3 of the plate has a low fat protein source, the remaining 2/3 is filled with with colorful carbs like fruits and vegetables (if you want to add a complex carbohydrate like brown rice, this is where you would do it), and over it we sprinkle a dash of good fat (like extra virgin olive oil).
And then, to really kickstart the anti-inflammatory process, make sure to also include:
a high dose of omega 3 fatty acids (which are found in salmon and other fatty fish, but which can also be obtained through a high-grade fish oil supplement)
polyphenols (which are the substance that gives fruit and vegetables their color)
spices like turmeric, ginger,and cinnamon.
I know these tips work because they helped me heal my chronic hives and go from 3 anti-histamines a day to zero. But it took me a few years to understand how it all works and what I needed to do, and I don't want that for you. Instead I want you to have all the info you need so that you can change your health in only a few months. So that's why I'm here.
And on that note, I shall graciously wave goodbye to you and wander off into the sunset, like Pocahontas over here...