Inflammation - Get the Balance Right
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In recent years there has been an explosion in chronic inflammatory health problems and accompanying reliance on prescription anti-inflammatory drugs. Inflammation often gets a bad press yet is actually an essential response to help the body protect and heal itself.
There’s a big difference however between acute and chronic inflammation - this response is helpful in the short term yet isn’t something you want switched on for prolonged periods. When inflammation is excessive, ongoing or out of control, delayed healing or chronic, painful inflammatory conditions, tissue damage and destruction can occur. In fact, ongoing inflammation is involved in many chronic and / or degenerative health problems, from arthritis, asthma and eczema to depression, some forms of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, dementia and more.
Health Problems Associated with Inflammation
✓ Skin (eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis)
✓ Mental health (depression)
✓ Cognitive function (Alzheimer’s Disease)
✓ Cardiovascular health problems
✓ Diabetes (type 1 and 2)
✓ Autoimmune diseases
✓ Some forms of cancer
✓ Inflammatory bowel disorder (IBD, Crohn’s disease, colitis)
Needless to say, supporting the balance of inflammation in your body is something very proactive you can do for your health overall. Taking steps to bring inflammation back into balance is a bit like reducing the speaker volume when music is blaring too loud. Your diet, lifestyle and supplement choices are a great place to start because they can all have a significant influence on which way the inflammation dial gets turned.
In this Inflammation fact sheet you will find:
✓ What to eat more of, less of and why.
✓ Lifestyle tips for inflammation balance.
✓ Top 10 anti-inflammatory nutrients & ingredients.
6 Lifestyle tips for inflammation balance
1. Sleep– Consistently getting good quality sleep is important for every aspect of health, and not least for supporting your body’s delicate balance of inflammation. Many research studies have now shown that lack of sleep contributes to a more inflammatory state.
2. De-stress– Bringing stress back into balance is often much easier said than done, yet chronic stress simply can’t be ignored in the context of inflammation. We now know that ongoing stress is associated with inflammatory effects throughout the whole body, including in the brain. Exercise is a great way to de-stress, as is mindfulness meditation, yoga, pilates, t’ai chi and spending time outside in nature. In fact, there are many different ways to de-stress; the most important thing to do is find what works for you and do it regularly.
3. Body composition– Achieving and maintaining a healthy body composition (fat: lean tissue ratio) is important for inflammation balance. This is because elevated fat stores are associated with increased inflammation. Body composition may be supported through a combination of diet and lifestyle factors.
4. Detox your life– Toxins are everywhere, in our food, water, home, work and outdoor environments, and many can trigger inflammatory processes. It’s impossible to avoid toxins completely, but there are steps you can take to reduce your overall load. Take a look at our useful guide here.
5. Check for and deal with underlying infections or injury – Chronic viral, bacterial, parasitic or fungal infections or unresolved injury may be factors underlying ongoing inflammation. It is important to check in with your GP or health care practitioner who can help to identify if this is the case for you and provide appropriate support where needed.
6. Check for and deal with underlying infections or injury – Spend time outdoors in daylight every day. Morning sunlight helps to strengthen your circadian rhythms, and bare skin exposure to midday sun helps with the skin’s production of vitamin D; an essential nutrient for inflammation balance. Spending time outdoors in nature also supports feelings of calm and relaxation, is an effective way to de-stress and can help to improve your sleep. A real win-win.
Top 10 Anti-Inflammatory Nutrients and Ingredients
1. Curcumin – The main active component of turmeric, curcumin has widespread anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity. It is notoriously difficult to absorb however, and in supplement form may be best delivered with fenugreek galactomannans for slow release delivery and improved bioavailability.
2. Ginger – Evidence suggests that ginger has significant anti-inflammatory and painrelieving properties.
3. Boswellia – A traditional Ayurvedic remedy that has long been used to support a wide range of chronic inflammatory conditions and is now evidence-backed by scientific studies.
4. Rosemary – This popular herb has a long history of traditional use, with significant reported antioxidant, anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties. Studies show that rosemary helps to balance key inflammatory pathways in the body.
5. Vitamin C and Citrus bioflavonoids – More than 50 years of research supports vitamin C’s role in the immune system and as a powerful antioxidant. Citrus bioflavonoids have significant antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
6. Green tea – A powerful antioxidant and helps to modulate several inflammatory pathways.
7. Glutathione – During inflammation, oxidative stress is higher, which increases the need for antioxidants. Often referred to as the body’s , master antioxidant glutathione is a powerful compound produced naturally by the body in response to oxidative stress. Glutathione can also be taken in supplement form but has low bioavailability when taken orally, so is best delivered in the Setria form. Setria glutathione is a reduced form of glutathione that has been shown to increase blood glutathione levels when taken orally.
8. Alpha Lipoic Acid – Often referred to as the universal antioxidant because it is water and fat soluble; alpha lipoic acid can go anywhere in the body, even across the blood brain barrier. Alpha lipoic acid can also regenerate other antioxidant nutrients such as vitamins C, E, glutathione and Co-Q-10.
9. Vitamin D, Magnesium & B Vitamins – Many people are low in vitamin D and a large body of research has demonstrated anti-inflammatory effects of vitamin D. Magnesium is another key nutrient for inflammation balance; this important mineral is often low in Western diets and yet is needed (along with B vitamins) as a key co-factor for pathways that help to keep inflammation in balance.
10. Omega 3's - Typical Western diets, high in omega-6 and low in omega-3 fats contribute to a wide range of illnesses characterised by pain and inflammation. A daily supplement of high quality omega-3 rich fish oil may help to support a more beneficial ratio of omega 6: 3 dietary fats, which in turn supports inflammation balance.
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