One of the fundamental elements of the body’s immune system is inflammation. When the outer defenses (skin, mucous membranes) are breached by a substance that the body perceives as a threat, the white blood cells attack that invader and attempt to kill it and sequester it for removal. A good example of this would be a wood splinter in your finger. If you can’t get it out, the skin around the sliver will become quite red and painful. Eventually a small pocket of fluid and dead white blood cells (pus) will gather around the foreign object as it becomes walled off and neutralized. When the pustule breaks, the fluid escapes the cavity carrying the invader with it. Afterward, the residual inflammation brings healing blood flow to the site.
There are many ways in which acute inflammation acts to protect your health and, though there are times when acute inflammation can pose a serious health threat, the greater problem lies in another form of inflammation – chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation affects every organ and system of the human body (including the brain) and destroys the normal internal balance of the human organism. It leads to all manner of degenerative and even life-threatening diseases and conditions.
There are many causes of chronic inflammation. Among them are: poor diet; low physical activity; excessive, poorly managed stress; environmental toxins; dehydration and sleep deprivation. Being an apt description of the lifestyle of the average American, this multitude of potential triggers makes chronic inflammation a common occurrence in the population of this country. It is no wonder that the United States has the highest rate of degenerative disease in the world.
Effects of Chronic Inflammation
The following partial list of diseases caused directly or indirectly by chronic inflammation is a sobering reminder of the effect that poor lifestyle choices play in one’s life:
- Carpal Tunnel
- Congestive Heart Failure
- Heart Attack
- Kidney Failure
- Multiple Sclerosis
How to Avoid and Manage Chronic Inflammation
Scary stuff indeed; but there is a silver lining to this cloud – chronic inflammation can be avoided, managed and even reversed with some basic lifestyle changes. As usual there is no great mystery to how this is done: good dietary habits, regular exercise, stress management and scientific nutrition:
- Diet – Fresh, whole foods, cooked at home. Reduced intake of sugars, trans fats, fast foods and processed foods.
- Exercise – 3-5 hours per week of vigorous exercise including cardiovascular and strength training.
- Stress Management – Prayer, meditation, exercise, relaxing hobbies.
- Scientific Nutrition – A regimen of well-designed nutritional supplements including:
- Essential Fatty Acids – A good balance of omega-3 and 6 fatty acids have a significant anti-inflammatory effect.
- Antioxidants – These nutrients protect the cells from the effect of toxins and oxidative stressors, which can lead to damage and inflammation.
- Probiotic Support – One of the most common underlying causes of chronic inflammation is gut dysbiosis. Probiotic supplements help repopulate the digestive tract with healthy organisms that restore balance and gut health. Natural Wellness offers Super Probiotics and Ultra Probiotic Formula.
The western medicine approach to managing inflammation is to suppress it with drugs. There are many of these such medications available and, while they control inflammation in the short run, the list of negative side effects and associated health hazards make them a poor long-term choice. Clearly the simplest and best approach to managing inflammation is through positive lifestyle choices. The reward is vital living now and a much lower risk for all diseases throughout your life.