I didn’t know about the effect inflammation had on my body until I was in my twenties. Before that, I just thought when I didn’t feel well, I was sick. But inflammation causes so many different illnesses and maladies that determining the cause of inflammation and fighting it has become one of the front lines of managing our health.
Inflammation has been with us for a long time. We become inflamed when we burn ourselves in the fire, or twist our ankle, or spend too much time in the sun. Inflammation is a signal to our body that we need healing. We count on our bodies knowing when to turn off the inflammation response.
More and more people are experiencing a condition of chronic inflammation and it is largely due to our diet that is very heavy in processed foods, our stress-filled lives, and environmental pollution. Chronic inflammation shows up as eczema, asthma, cardiac disease, even cancer.
The first step in fighting inflammation is to clean up our diet. I’ve eliminated a lot of processed foods, but once in a while I enjoy going out to eat. Yesterday I ate some nachos and a burger with an artichoke dip on it. Within a few moments my body responded by creating a lot of mucous and I developed a slight cough. This lasted until the effects of the food I had just eaten passed. But I continued to feel slightly unwell for the next 36 hours.
Once I started eating clean, I knew immediately which meal was causing me trouble. There is no true health unless your gut is healthy. Not only did I work on cleaning up my diet, but I also learned to add certain foods to help support my GI health. Eating things like kefir and fermented foods has made a huge change in my health.
Certain grains can cause inflammation, but I’ve also noticed that how certain grains are treated can change how they affect me. I now make my own bread from ground wheat and I rely on a lengthy process of rising to change the way my body responds to the gluten in the wheat. Fast rising yeast always makes my body produce mucous. Long rising techniques don’t affect my body at all.
Pay attention to your body and the way it responds. Not everyone’s body is the same as someone else’s. Eat what suits your body and not the latest fad. When you find what works, stick with it.
For the most part, eliminate added sugar from your diet. Naturally occurring sugar is fine in a limited amount. Adding sugar to anything adds to the inflammatory response of the body.
Learn to relax. There are many modalities of relaxing. Find one that suits you and use it. Learning to relax is critical to managing the inflammatory response of your body.