Inflammation is a normal and beneficial process which occurs when your body’s white blood cells and chemicals protect you from foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses.
You need a certain level of inflammation in order to stay healthy, natural health expert Joseph Mercola explains. However, inflammation can get out of hand and spell trouble for your body.
When your immune system mistakenly triggers an inflammatory response even when there are no threats present, it can lead to excess, chronic inflammation in your body, which is associated with autoimmune disease, cancer, heart disease, asthma, allergies, and other conditions, depending on which organs the inflammation is affecting.
If you’ve suffered a cut or infection, beneficial acute inflammation will occur, which is characterized by symptoms including loss of movement or function, pain, redness, swelling and warmth.
On the other hand, chronic inflammation often produces no symptoms until a loss of function occurs because it silently damages your tissues. Chronic inflammation can go unnoticed for years until a patient gets the shock of his/her life when a doctor diagnoses cancer, Alzheimer’s disease or rheumatoid arthritis, Dr. Mercola warns.
Smoking, having a sedentary and/or stressful lifestyle, existing heart condition or a family history of heart disease, poor diet, long-term infections, gum disease, obesity, and unaddressed diabetes are factors which can increase your risk of chronic inflammation.
Conventional inflammation treatment involves drugs with adverse and life-threatening side effects like Vioxx, statin drugs, and prednisone, all of which, only try to cover up the symptoms but do not address the underlying causes of chronic inflammation.
Dr. Mercola believes that lifestyle changes will go a long way towards reducing chronic inflammation in your body. Here are 8 simple steps that will help you beat chronic inflammation:
1. Eat healthy – Avoid trans fats, fried foods, sugar and grains, foods cooked at high temperatures and oxidized cholesterol (cholesterol that has gone rancid, such overcooked scrambled eggs).
2. Optimize your omega-3 fat levels by taking a high quality, animal-based supplement like krill oil.
3. Optimize your insulin levels – Limit or eliminate grains and sugars from your diet until you have healthy insulin levels.
4. Exercise – Regular exercise is a great way to lower inflammation.
5. Quit smoking – Smoking hardens your arteries and increases inflammation but studies show that all the damaging effects to your arteries can be reversed within 10 years of quitting.
6. Weight loss – If you’re a woman with a waist size of over 35 inches or a man with a waist of over 40 inches, chances are you have high inflammation and should make efforts to lose weight.
7. Stress management – High levels of stress hormones can trigger the release of excess inflammatory chemicals so find healthy outlets for stress and other negative emotions. Mercola recommends meditation, prayer and his personal favorite, the Meridian Tapping Technique (MTT).
8. Optimize your vitamin D levels through sun exposure, alternatively using a safe tanning bed, or taking vitamin D supplements in the wintertime.