SFH #47: Inflammation

Why we struggle with it in our culture 🔥

Inflammation is your body's process of fighting against harm, like toxins, infections, and trauma. When our cells are damaged, our body protects itself by triggering a response from our immune system. I've been up close and personal with the inflammatory response from my trauma-related injury with my ankle to close friends and family with a mix of autoimmune diseases.

Today, I want to make more people aware of how inflammation works and how we can help ourselves and future generations with our lifestyle choices. Let's start with how we are so susceptible to something that our body has a natural process to repair?1

The answer is food and stress quite often.

Highly palatable and processed foods like high fructose corn syrup and seed oils are essentially toxins in our bodies.2 We can eat a minimal amount of these items, and our body can help us reject or repair damaged cells, but it becomes a slippery slope. I think it's better to minimize exposure than take the approach of 'moderation.' I'm cueing myself here to make a note to write about the idea of moderation in our culture loaded with all kinds of stimulus traps. 😳

Besides our food choices, stress — emotionally or psychologically — triggers our "fight-or-flight response," as it prepares us for the battle or the escape. When the response is on, our bodies move resources away from functions that are not crucial in life-threatening situations. We release cortisol and adrenaline, which suppress our digestive process and immune response. 

We are setting ourselves up for chronic inflammation and disease with the combination of highly processed diets and relentless stress. On top of this, we see prone immune system responses from a lack of germ and pathogen exposure from the abundant use of antiseptics and vaccines, and it's a wonder how we navigate healthy lifestyles in our underinformed culture.3 It's eye-opening that I've seen the rise of nut allergies, dairy intolerance, and gluten sensitivity in my lifetime. ðŸ¥œðŸ¥›ðŸž

Rather than preach. Let's get a look at combating inflammation from the food and stress slant.

  1. Avoid inflammatory foods focusing on eliminating highly processed foods with sugar, seed oils, and trans fats. ⛔️

  2. Focus on vegetables, fruits, and whole foods containing omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, tofu, walnuts, flax seeds, and chia seeds. These foods are great resources in fighting inflammation. 👍🏼

  3. Look at your response and your negative stimuli. We may not be able to change many of the stressors in our life overnight. Still, we can change our response and perception by learning to manage with tools like meditation, reflection, exercise, consistent quality sleep, and decreasing our exposure to harmful elements of our lifestyle. 🧘🏽‍♂️

Learn more about the stress response in our body with this great animated video 📺

1

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4956485/

2

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15447916/

3

https://www.dovepress.com/the-hygiene-hypothesis-current-perspectives-and-future-therapies-peer-reviewed-fulltext-article-ITT