How much do you know about treating chronic inflammation with naturopathy?
Here’s what you need to know about inflammation, how it’s connected to chronic diseases and how naturopathy can maximize good health and prevent chronic diseases.
What is Inflammation?
Inflammation is the body’s critical response to an injury, infection or stress (or a combination of all three). It works by signaling our body’s immune system to respond and repair injured and damaged tissues. An inflammatory messenger causes an injured area to have increased blood flow, bringing to this area additional nutrients and white blood cells to kick-start the healing process.
Inflammation is also in charge of blocking foreign invaders by defending the immune system from bacteria and viruses. It’s so important that without it, our wounds would get infected and our bodies would be vulnerable to deadly infections.
However, there are instances when inflammation becomes an issue. If the process of inflammation self perpetuates, this long-term inflammatory response – that could last for many months or years – can cause chronic inflammation-mediated complications.
So What is Chronic Inflammation?
Compared to acute inflammation, which is short-term, chronic inflammation can occur for a long period of time and drastically affect your body. This type of inflammation is also known as persistent low-grade inflammation since, as the name suggests, it affects the whole body with low levels of inflammation. Chronic inflammation can also play a role in the future development of diseases such as heart disease or stroke, and may also lead to autoimmune disorders, including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, chronic pain and low quality of life.
With that, it’s important to watch out for symptoms of chronic inflammation such as the ones listed below to help prevent and reverse chronic diseases:
- High blood glucose levels
- Digestive problems, such as gas, diarrhea, bloating, constipation
- Tired all the time
- Skin problems (eczema, psoriasis, skin appears red and blotchy)
- Puffy face or puffy bags under your eyes
- Depression, anxiety or brain fog
What Triggers Chronic Inflammation?
First, let’s look at an on/off switch: when chronic inflammation forms, it means a switch in your immune system gets stuck to the ‘on’ setting, releasing harmful chemicals that affects the cells. (Think of a fire that never gets extinguished.) That said, some of these inflammation triggers include persistent infections, low gut health, food allergies, air pollution, nutrient deficiencies and an imbalance of omega-3s and omega-6s in your diet.
Using naturopathy to alleviate prolonged inflammation is a great first step in boosting your defense against many major diseases. Through this approach, you’re discovering the root causes of your inflammation and how you can help avoid and/or reduce it naturally.
Preventing Inflammation with Naturopathic Medicine
Naturopathy can be an ideal way to prevent or treat chronic inflammation because it encourages the body to heal itself through natural solutions. Regularly visiting a naturopathic doctor in Toronto can help you address inflammatory triggers in your lifestyle and diet, all while building a plan to support your current and future health.
Through naturopathic medicine, you’ll discover that preventing inflammation can pay off in the long run; you’ll uncover how to restore vitality and reduce any risks for potential diseases. To get you started in your fight against inflammation, try these natural tips to cut down inflammation:
- Reduce your intake of inflammatory foods. An anti-inflammatory diet may prevent or reduce inflammation, as well as any harmful effects associated with inflammation. Avoid refined carbohydrates, fried foods, sugary processed foods, and high-consumption dairy and animal products. Take note: Gut health has a distinct relationship with inflammation. Look at Leaky Gut Syndrome, for instance: undigested food and bacterial toxins leave the digestive system and move into your bloodstream; this triggers the immune system, causing ongoing inflammation. Not to mention, if pathogens get transferred into the blood, certain conditions may be triggered, including inflammatory bowel disease or rheumatoid arthritis.
- Consume anti-inflammatory foods.
Eat antioxidant-rich veggies and fruits, such as blueberries, kale, red cabbage and goji berries, to reduce some of the negative effects of inflammation. Consume foods with omega-3 fatty acids, like cold water fish and walnuts. Olive oil, herbal teas and ginger, rosemary and clove spices are also anti-inflammatory. Consider exploring anti-inflammatory diets such as the Mediterranean Diet. Because it stresses the importance of whole grains, good fats, fish, veggies and fruit, this diet is anti-inflammatory. The Mediterranean Diet also limits unhealthy fats (red meat, butter) and refined carbohydrates and sugars.
- Control your blood sugar levels. Blood sugar spikes can be the cause of inflammation. Studies have revealed that ongoing spikes in insulin levels (due to high blood sugar levels) result in low-grade inflammation, obesity, and a resistance to insulin and higher gut permeability. An anti-inflammatory diet should be built around foods that don’t spike your blood sugar, such as lean proteins, whole foods high in fibre like vegetables, and whole grains like quinoa. And remember, limit or avoid simple carbohydrates and anything high in fructose corn syrup.
- Introduce anti-inflammatory herbs into your daily regime. Studies have shown that turmeric and boswellia herbs are well-known anti-inflammatories. In some studies, turmeric has been found to be just as effective as ibuprofen when easing arthritis pain. And when you look at boswellia, it actually contains four acids that act as anti-inflammatories. Learn more about natural anti-inflammatories and pain medications here.
- Avoid omega-6 fatty acids and trans fats. Did you know that when we eat a Western diet, we consume 20 times the number of omega-6s, in comparison to omega-3s? Cheaper foods, such as frozen foods, processed cakes and cookies, contain a lot of omega-6 and trans fatty acids. Unlike its healthier counterpart, which is omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oils and some nut oils, omega-6 fatty acids promote inflammation in our body. Meanwhile, omega-3 is anti-inflammatory.
- Exercise regularly. Routine workouts are known to help prevent inflammation. Even a simple brisk walk and regular yoga classes can lead to a healthier status. Read more about the benefits of exercising here.
- Manage stress. Much inflammation is caused by chronic stress. There are times we encounter stressful situations. We can’t always control when they happen, but we can learn how to respond to stress differently and manage our stress levels better. With that, explore meditation, yoga, acupuncture, biofeedback or guided imagery to help manage daily stressors.
- Discuss IV therapy with a naturopathic doctor. Glutathione is an endogenous antioxidant and detoxifier that our body naturally makes. However, it’s been shown that stress, toxins and many health conditions are affiliated with depleted glutathione levels. Your body cannot properly absorb glutathione when you consume oral glutathione supplements, but IV therapy can help restore this antioxidant’s levels.
IV glutathione treatments may help your body fight oxidative stress. In fact, your body may be protected from oxidative damage when you maintain normal glutathione levels. In some health conditions, including cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes, there is a link between low glutathione levels and high oxidative stress.
Most of all, glutathione IV therapy may help control inflammation. In a 2009 study published in Autoimmunity Reviews, it was demonstrated that glutathione helps control inflammation by promoting or inhibiting immunological responses.
Customize your health plan now to support your well-being on a long-term basis. Naturopathic doctor in Torontomay help you identify and address potential inflammatory triggers within your diet and lifestyle. You may also inquire about how IV therapy can help reduce your inflammation. Click here to book your appointment at Toronto Functional Medicine Centre.
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