Researchers have found links between chronic inflammation and all major diseases, both physical and mental.
Inflammation is a critical factor for your overall health as it can have an impact on:
- bone health
- gut function
- heart health
- liver function
- brain, memory & cognition
- immune response
- hormonal regulation
- …and even your hair, skin & nails.
One of the most important medical discoveries of the past two decades has been that the immune system and inflammatory processes are involved in not just a few select disorders, but a wide variety of mental and physical health problems that dominate present-day morbidity and mortality worldwide. (Furman et al.2020, Nature Medicine)
Furman et al. also refer to a study in 2017 that states: “Chronic inflammatory diseases have been recognised as the most significant cause of death in the world today, with more than 50% of all deaths being attributable to inflammation-related diseases such as ischemic heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes mellitus, chronic kidney disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and autoimmune and neurodegenerative conditions.”
Two Types of Inflammation
You will find that there are two types of inflammation in your body:
- Acute inflammation is your body’s natural defence against damaged cells, viruses and other harmful invaders, helping the body heal.
- Chronic inflammation is systemic, and what we see a lot of in our Rejuv Wellness Clinics. This kind of inflammation is low-grade and lasts for weeks, months or even years and linked to all major diseases.
Inflammation is part of the body’s innate immune response and beneficial for healing if acute to repair damaged tissue and protect ourselves against pathogens. Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, is harmful and linked to all major diseases.
Chronic inflammation is linked to almost every significant health condition and disease due to the production of free radicals that can cause damage to healthy cells if your antioxidant levels are not adequate. If this ratio is out of balance, you can increase your risk of the following conditions:
- Stroke / Heart attack
- Arthritis, joint and body pain
- Kidney disease
- Premature ageing
- Lung disease
- Poor eyesight
- Depression / Anxiety
- Weakened immune system and slower to heal from viruses
- Obesity and eating disorders
What Causes Chronic Inflammation?
Chronic inflammation is caused by an array of many small things adding up to create a systemic inflammatory response throughout your entire body.
A diet high in inflammatory foods, leaky gut, poor blood sugar regulation, low hydration, poor sleep, high stress, shallow breathing, little exercise, toxic environmental load, poor body balance of your muscular and skeletal systems and a lack of prayer and mindfulness practices, will all affect your inflammation levels.
A Holistic View of Inflammation
At Rejuv Wellness, we look at you holistically from our 7 Pillars of Wellness, and inflammation must also be addressed in this holistic way to help you on your journey to long term wellness and optimum health.
A great place to start is with movement and body balance.
The body needs a form of movement each day to keep your bones healthy and your muscles agile. Breathing techniques and cardio exercise are wonderful to keep you healthy and great for your heart & mood. Your skeleton also must be kept in optimum condition, for this is the scaffolding for your entire body, and you will only be as strong as that vital foundation.
Movement & Body Balance
These two pillars are essential to keep your inflammation at bay. Since your muscles are attached to your bones and move like a pulley system, it is critical to regularly maintain your body balanced by periodically seeing a musculoskeletal therapist. This bone to muscle relationship must be supported to prevent serious issues that limit your mobility and quality of life as you get older.
Physiotherapy is excellent for it works on the body systems and muscles and can adjust your skeleton. The therapist gives you bespoke exercises to remove your inflammation’s root cause, so the pain doesn’t return. Massage, acupuncture, osteopathy, and reflexology are also great to help you keep this body balance pillar to reduce pain and inflammation.
Weight-bearing movement such as walking is also vital to keep your bones and muscles in sync and to slow down ageing and inflammation. Best to choose to move your body most days, and even walking 20 minutes from your home and turning back to complete a 40-minute walk will have significant healing and wellness benefits. It is always essential to choose a movement that you love so you stay with it. Just make sure at least half the week is weight-bearing, so you keep your bones strong.
The next pillar to focus on is the nutrition pillar. Here is a list of the most inflammatory foods to avoid most of the time. A treat on weekends is okay for life, and good health is all about balance.
- Processed meats
- Red meat (any animals with four legs or more, actually)
- Refined carbohydrates (white flour, white rice, white potatoes)
- Deadly nightshade veggies such as aubergine, peppers, tomatoes and potatoes
- Farm-raised fish
- Traditionally raised animals such as chicken & turkey.
- Trans fats (partially hydrogenated oils)
- Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) and other food additives and preservatives
- Highly processed vegetable and seed oils, such as canola, corn, sunflower, peanut and safflower
- Artificial Sweeteners
These foods tend to increase inflammation and create extra acidity in the tissues, increasing pain and disease risk.
A diet to reduce inflammation and promote healing removes foods that cause inflammation and includes organic, non-GMO vegetables, fruits, essential fats from plants and clean, organic, wild protein.
Replacing inflammatory foods with these healing foods can reduce inflammation, stabilise blood sugar, reduce toxic load, provide necessary nutrients, and support healthy blood pH levels.
Inflammatory Foods to Swap out
- Dairy milk for unsweetened plant milk
- White rice for brown, black or cauliflower rice,
- Non–organic animals for wild line–caught fish
- Hydrogenated oils (canola, margarine, vegetable, sunflower, rapeseed) for coconut, avocado or olive (use extra virgin olive oil for salads & only use regular olive oil if you heat)
- Sugar for monk fruit, coconut sugar or stevia
- Non–organic fruits and veggies for organic
A Lifestyle That Promotes Mind & Body Balance
To have optimum body balance to reduce pain and inflammation, it is best to choose a lifestyle that promotes a balance of mind and body.
Sunlight & Vitamin D3
I love good exposure to sunshine to get the best Vitamin D. 20 minutes 3 x a week on major muscle groups like your legs are all you need. Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines 3x a week is also great, but you will need to supplement if you cannot do the above. If you need to supplement, take a high-quality supplement that provides vitamin D each day, like in our new Rejuv Immune Restore Capsules. Always take with a good fat such as avocado or olive oil for this vitamin is fat-soluble.
Best food sources include fermented foods such as sauerkraut, natto, tempeh & kimchi, okra, kale, parsley or spinach. Also fantastic to feed the good bacteria in your gut and reduce gut inflammation. If you don’t like these foods and find it challenging to eat daily, you can opt for a supplement form with our Rejuv Digestive Complex Powder or Prebiotic Immune Complex Capsules.
Blueberries are high in the antioxidant called quercetin, present in all berries, olive oil and citrus fruits. In addition to quercetin, blueberries are also high in the phytonutrient anthocyanins, as are cherries, so any fruits with this dark red skin and fruit are best included in your diet each week to keep your inflammation in check. The benefits of blueberries and dark berries/cherries, in general, is also due to the high supply of vitamin C to reduce oxidative stress, disease, ageing and to support the body’s immune system to fight off viruses, pathogens and bacteria.
Nuts, Fish Oil, Hemp & Fatty Acids
Omega 3 helps reduce inflammation and provide an excellent foundation for healthy bones and hormones regulating bone tissue formation. I like coconut oil, nuts, flaxseeds (not the oil), pumpkin & chia seeds, hemp/ hemp oil & wild fatty small fish. I also recommend supplementing with 1000-2000mg of high-quality Rejuv Antarctic Krill Omega-3 per day.
Studies show that celery improves blood pressure and cholesterol and reduces heart disease due to the high natural occurring potassium, antioxidants and vitamins. Celery also has bioavailable sodium (not like nasty table salt), which helps bring nutrients into the cell while potassium helps flush toxins.
This fantastic mineral is vital for over 300 enzymes in the body and is critical for all vitamin D regulating pathways. Best food sources include green leafy veggies, beetroot, seeds, nuts (not peanuts), avocados & bananas. Fresh veggie juice is a great way to boost magnesium, or you can use a super greens powder like our Rejuv Super Greens Powder or WelleCo Super Elixir. If you are under a lot of stress, have sleep issues, feel overwhelmed, have poor cognition or experience pain, I suggest you supplement with our Rejuv Anti Ageing Complex Magnesium Capsules. These capsules have four forms of bioavailable magnesium to calm your nervous system. Magnesium is often synthetic, and mist is from a natural source to effective, as all ingredients in our Rejuv line.
Food Sourced Calcium
Calcium is a fundamental building block for bone tissue. Avoid synthetic sources as they won’t absorb into the bone but rather stay in the blood and can settle like limescale around your arteries, joints & intestines.
The best food sources include broccoli, green leafy veg, okra, moringa leaf, oranges, molasses seeds, sardines or organic grass-fed kefir (if you can tolerate lactose). Don’t forget to eat your magnesium foods. The magnesium supports the calcium to stay in the bone and not get released into the blood linked to arteriosclerosis (plaque that hardens your arteries). If you need to supplement, I like coral calcium source like our new Rejuv Immune Restore Capsules.
The active ingredient of turmeric is called curcumin, and when you mix this with the active ingredient of pepper called piperine, this creates a powerful synergistic solution to inflammation. You can add these organic ingredients to your diet each day, but you will need to supplement to shift your internal physiology if you already have inflammation. If you have inflammation and not much pain, take our Organic Turmeric Capsules, 2 with breakfast and dinner. Suppose you have pain for a while, or it comes and goes. In that case, you have chronic inflammation, so you will need to supplement with a complex which includes turmeric, glucosamine, MSM and herbal anti-inflammatory ingredients to get free of pain long term. A complex such as our Bone & Joint Complex.
The Power To Change
The good news is that we all have the power to change our lives to reduce our chronic inflammation and to reduce our risk of disease, therefore. We can choose to eat more plants and less terrestrial animal meats and add whole-food plant-based supplements to fast-track your healing journey.
Stay tuned for my next blog unpacking how inflammation directly impacts obesity, immune disorders and fertility – three ever-growing issues in our society.