Preserving Your Health = Protecting Our Planet
April 20, 2017

Top 5: Are You Inflamed?

Inflammation is your body’s response to stress and is a natural reaction that can be both beneficial or damaging. The acute inflammatory response characterized by fever, pain, redness and swelling is a protective mechanism typically seen during an infection. Chronic low-grade inflammation from food, your lifestyle or your environment is a common link with many debilitating conditions including arthritis, heart disease and dementia.

Ask yourself these simple questions:

  1.  Are you eating and drinking pro-inflammatory foods such as white flour, sugar, soda, fruit juice?
  2. Do you have symptoms of arthritis, indigestion, heartburn gas, bloating, muscle aches nasal/sinus congestion and brain fog? These symptoms may be related to a food sensitivity, a common cause of inflammation.
  3. Do you walk 10,000 steps per day or get 30 minutes of exercise? Extra weight in the mid-line leads to the production of inflammatory cytokines.
  4. Do you feel rested upon waking in the morning? Or do you snore and wake up unexpectedly? Sleep apnea places the body under enormous stress resulting in weight gain, arrhythmia and high blood pressure.
  5. How well do you cope with stress and tension…are you overwhelmed and in survival mode? Stress hormones are directly linked to the inflammatory response

Your diet, sleep patterns, and other lifestyle behaviors can have a significant impact on inflammation. Some responses can be dramatic. My favorite veterinarian began experiencing episodes of atrial fibrillation. He was wise enough to track what he was eating, drinking and doing when his heart began to beat irregularly. He quickly learned that eating sugar or foods high in simple carbohydrates caused his arrhythmia.  He changed to a low-glycemic diet, stopped drinking fruit juice and soda and ate complex carbohydrates like quinoa and brown rice – and eliminated “white” foods such as potatoes, cereal and white bread. I also started him on magnesium, an important mineral supplement known to prevent arrhythmia. His arrhythmia improved dramatically.

Like sugar, food sensitivities are a major cause of inflammation. I highly recommend getting IgG food sensitivity testing or trying an elimination diet of suspect food categories if you have any symptoms suggestive of inflammation. The top culprits are, dairy, gluten, eggs, soy, citrus and tree nuts. Studies demonstrate links between migraine headaches, wine and cheese. This is just the tip of the iceberg. In my clinical practice we have found that headaches may be linked to all of the above culprits. In 2013 a study published in Headache reported a higher prevalence of migraine headaches among individuals with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. Everyone is unique and so are the lists of foods that contain the ingredients you want to eliminate.

increasing your daily exercise and initiating stress-reducing practices like meditation, and practicing gratitude as great ways to start reducing inflammation, feeling better and potentially warding off some common chronic diseases.

For more, view these articles on inflammation:

Low-grade inflammation, diet composition and health: current research evidence and its translation:
 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4579563/

Too much or too little sleep linked to inflammation:
 http://www.worldhealth.net/news/insufficient-sleep-linked-inflammation/

Blood testing for sensitivity, allergy or intolerance of food: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3314037