Inflammation: Stopping the Cycle
By Dr. Kendra Styron
Inflammation controls us. It is not only apparent in obvious ways, such as post-injury, but it harbors inside of us wreaking havoc on our internal organs. It's easy to recognize inflammation from redness, swelling, joint stiffness, etc. But it can also lead to more unexpected symptoms such as decreased energy, headaches, indigestion, and joint pain. Chances are, you all have experienced at least one of these pretty regularly.
Let me direct your attention to your gut for a brief moment. The gut is responsible for more than just digestion, it is the start of your immune system. Here's how it works. The gut is lined by a thin "mesh" so to speak, which acts as a barrier to keep toxins out. What happens when this "mesh" gets weaker, and maybe those holes get wider? This is a condition called leaky gut syndrome (which is exactly what it sounds like). Now these toxins have access to our blood stream. Our immune system has to work overtime to battle these toxins, thus a hyperactive immune system. And what "dis-ease" can occur when our immune system is overworked and underappreciated? Autoimmune disease.
Gluten, alcohol, sugar, pain-killers, antibiotics, and steroids (just to name a few) are the top causes of gut permeability. As we stated previously, gut permeability leads to autoimmune diseases such as chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, diabetes, certain forms of arthritis, etc. But all autoimmune diseases have something in common: inflammation. Inflammation induces the "need" for more pain medication and more antibiotics. And the cycle continues.
Stopping this cycle isn't impossible, but it does take some effort. First, the barrier must be reinforced and strengthened, then good toxin-fighting bacteria must be replenished into the gut. As you might expect, diet plays a huge role in the transformation of gut health. Eliminating trigger foods, such as dairy, sugar, and gluten is key. Foods such as raw sauerkraut, raw green peas, and coconut are rich in probiotics and anti-inflammatory properties. Dairy-free probiotics are crucial when it comes to rehabiting your gut with healthy bacteria and strengthening the barrier between gut and blood stream. The best anti-inflammatory foods include omega-3 fatty acids found in flax seeds, salmon, and walnuts. Season your foods with turmeric and ginger for an extra kick of inflammation fighters.
Diet and lifestyle changes aren't always easy, but they always pay off. What better way to create a healthy body and healthy mind than through healthy habits! Start implementing a few things you learned and experience what it's like living with less inflammation.