Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Inflammation

Inflammation. It is the hallmark of many diseases (perhaps *all* diseases), including lupus.

We have an epidemic of inflammation in this country, and it's killing us. There is a direct link between inflammation and obesity, inflammation and cancer, inflammation and diabetes, inflammation and lupus, and certainly inflammation and pain.

From what I can tell, anything with the suffix "itis" is inflammation.
bronchitis= inflammation of the bronchial tubes
nephritis= inflammation of the kidneys
pancreatitis= inflammation of the pancreas.
Etc., etc. etc.

So what causes inflammation and how can we get rid of it?
Inflammation is like a fire. There is always heat associated with inflammation. It can range from simmering smoldering embers to a full-on 4-alarm blaze. When I've experienced joint swelling and pain from lupus, those joints are always hot, like they are literally burning. The fire, or irritation, is "the bringing of a bodily part or organ to an abnormally excited or sensitive condition." And what would cause this- what would ignite such an internal fire in a human body? The human body is inflamed by stress, toxins, allergens, and food additives.

To reduce inflammation, we can use 2 approaches: 
  1. stop feeding the fire. Remove the offending irritants by reducing stress, identifying and removing allergens and toxins, and avoiding processed foods.
  2. douse the fire with anti-inflammatory substances. This includes either:
  • drugs (anti-inflammatory drugs, which include NSAIDs - nonsteroidal inflammatory drugs such as Advil, Aleve, aspirin, etc. as well as more heavy duty anti-inflammatories, such as corticosteroids and chemotherapy).
  • more natural means. and we have 2 choices here:
  1. eat an anti-inflammatory diet. This would involve no sugar, no dairy, little meat, few grains, lots of vegetables.
  2. take supplements. Specifically fish oil. More specifically, high-grade pharmaceutical, clean fish oil, such as Barlean's, every single day.
Approach #1 (stop feeding the fire) is a great first step for anyone and everyone, and for some people might be enough- especially if they learn of food allergies and sensitivities and take those foods out of their diet. For example, if you learn you have Celiac disease and remove all gluten (and for some people, dairy as well), you will have no more Celiac problems. Do what you can to remove toxins from your environment and allergens and "fake foods" from your diet. For me, removing aspartame and MSG meant no more migraines, and removing gluten meant no more joint pain, and much better digestion.

Other folks, especially those with chronic inflammation, will need to do more. So which of these options is best?

The problem with taking anti-inflammatory drugs long-term is that these drugs, though effective at relieving pain, are hazardous to your health. An anti-inflammatory diet is a wonderful choice, though it can be hard to implement at times (especially when eating out). In general, I believe everyone should try to move their diet towards being less inflammatory. Less sugar, less meat, no artificial sweeteners, lots more veggies.

One thing I believe we can all do every day is to take high-grade fish oil daily. Douse the inflammation. Put out the fire! My current favorite brand is Barlean's. It was recommended to me by an MD. He believes anyone with lupus should take fish oil daily. So do I.




If you or someone you know would like to talk to me about reaching your health goals, send me an email. I am a holistic health coach. E mail me for a free one-hour health consultation, whether it's about implementing an anti-inflammatory diet, losing a few pounds, or finding life balance- anyone who wants to achieve their health goals, big or small- e mail me at carla@thesingingpatient.com .

'til next time, be well, my little fishies!

Carla

Carla Ubrich, The Singing Patient and Health Coach



www.bestpossibleme.com - health coaching- visit this site to get a free e book on nutrition!

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