Inflammation is one of our body’s natural defence mechanisms. It helps your body to heal and is a vital tool for a healthy immune system. However, unfortunately where there is inflammation often there is pain!
When you stub your toe or cut yourself, your immune system jumps right into action. Extra white blood cells are sent to the injured area to surround and protect it. A similar thing happens when you have a cold or virus. Your white blood cells protect and repair your body, so you can bounce back to better health.
This is called acute inflammation. It’s a rapid response from your body that lasts a relatively short amount of time and is an important part of restoring health.
Then there is chronic inflammation, this type of inflammation can lead to several health problems. Chronic inflammation is your body’s response to exposure to unwanted substances like cigarette smoke, stress/worry or even certain foods particularly those high in sugar, salt and fat.
Chronic inflammation is a constant, low level inflammation that can increase with age, and if you are carrying extra weight. It has been linked to the development of heart disease, diabetes, depression, Alzheimer’s disease and even cancer.
In some situations, the immune system can go haywire and produces chronic inflammation without any obvious trigger. This is the case with auto immune diseases like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or Hashimotos, for example.
So, what can you do to reduce chronic inflammation in your body?
While certain things in our environment can increase inflammation, others can work as natural anti-inflammatories for the body.
Here are 7 natural ways to reduce inflammation (pain) in your body.
- Feed your gut good bacteria and fibre:
Giving your gut the perfect fuel is essential to maintaining diversity and balance in your gut bacteria, and a healthy gut has a huge impact on our overall health. The gut’s main fuel source – fibre – is broken down by the gut microbes into short chain fatty acids (SCFA) that keep the lining of the gut healthy. These SCFA reduce inflammation, which improves the absorption of nutrients, boosts our immunity, regulates our mood and protects us against bowel cancer.
Kombucha or yoghurt are great however, won’t do the work that is needed in this instance. Yet, finding the right probiotic specific to you will make a considerable difference. We carry a range of probiotics to suit your specific needs. Subtle dietary changes to include the right high fibre foods is also a good start. Targeted Supplements may also be utilised.
- Eat more plants:
Pack your plate with a wide range of different coloured fruits and vegetables, swap out meat a couple of times a week to Include plant proteins like legumes, nuts and seeds. Choose organic meats and avoid processed meats where possible.
- Reduce carbohydrates and refined sugars:
Try to cut out as many refined carbohydrates as possible, like white bread, white rice and highly processed baked goods. Whenever possible switch to wholegrain instead. Avoid sticky buns, cakes, biscuits and sweets. Replace with higher Protein snacks (super easy to make your own or look for them in the supermarket shelves) or fruit.
- Embrace good fats:
Healthy omega 3 fats have been linked with lower inflammatory markers – the signs of inflammation. Not to be confused with Omega 6 fats – which is plentiful in our western diets and too much Omega 6 just adds to the inflammatory process.
Try to regularly include plant sources of omega 3 like walnuts, chia and flax seeds into your diet. These are ideal breakfast cereal toppers or tasty additions to DIY trail mixes for easy snacks on-the-go. Alternatively, consider a top shelf fish oil which has therapeutic quantities of DHA/EPA to down regulate inflammation. This can also balance out your Omega 6 and Omega 3 ratio.
Consider adding in Coconut oil (great for cooking), cold pressed olive oils (great for salad dressings) avocado and good quality organic butter/cheeses. Ghee is another fabulous alternative for cooking and great for your large intestine.
- Spice it up:
Flavour your food with plenty of herbs and spices. As well as being tasty, many herbs and spices have anti-inflammatory properties. This includes turmeric, garlic, cinnamon, cloves, sage, rosemary, pepper and ginger.
- Move it:
A tough workout can trigger acute inflammation as your muscles heal and recover. If just starting out, aim for a walk or some yoga/pilates. You can slowly build yourself up! Studies have shown that in the longer term, regular exercise has been shown to lower levels of chronic inflammation in the body. If you are already well on track with your fitness, aim for at least 30mins a day of moderate intensity exercise.
- Get balanced:
When you get stressed, your body tries to fight it like an infection. OR, it can keep your fight/flight mechanism constantly active, leading to anxiety, panic and fatigue. If stress or your nervous system is in overdrive and a constant part of your life, chances are that inflammation could be constant too. It’s important to find time to relax, get some balance back and discover what stress management tactics work best for you.
In a perfect world we can manage all this, right? Ahhh unfortunately no! My personal challenges have been/is always the exercise and managing stress/worry/business. There are times we may need extra help! Time with friends (or your practitioner) to talk things out, learning some dietary shortcuts whilst still maintaining a nutritional balance and well selected targeted supplement are all smart choices. You don’t need to do it alone!
So, for support regarding natural pain/inflammation management, book in for an appointment and take control of your health choices. Book now!
Keep an eye out for our next blog post on natural supplements that may benefit pain and inflammation.
Veronica, your favorite Brisbane homeopath
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to treat or diagnose symptoms. Homoeopathy is a traditional medicine. Homeopathy may be used in conjunction with other medicines. For any ongoing chronic condition, it is important to be assessed or examined by your healthcare professional or specialist. Always seek medical advice in emergencies.
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