With an increased focus on health these days, people naturally start to worry if they have ongoing aches and pains or experience new aches. On average, most people say they feel good only one out of every three days.
Have most of us resigned ourselves to the fact that we will not feel our best for more than half of our life? Undoubtedly, we have created, failed, revamped, and accomplished many of our goals for a healthier version of ourselves.
But if you really want to look and feel your best, you need to get to the root of the problem. And it may surprise you to learn that a lot of our health problems are a result of inflammation.
When many of us think about inflammation, we might think of a sprained ankle or other visible types of swelling. But the most common types of inflammation often go undetected, because they are internal rather than external.
If you know how important inflammation is to your health, you might have been searching online for “What is inflammation?” or “What causes inflammation?”
These are valid questions that millions of people struggle with daily. Inflammation is the biggest driver of all diseases that we see in modern society.
We have seen how numerous chronic conditions and illnesses are attributed to inflammation, something that functional medicine has known all along that traditional medicine is slowly realizing. Let’s talk a little more about how inflammation can impact your life and what you can do to control it.
Your Immune System Starts with Your Gut Health
To ensure that your body is safe and healthy, your immune systems are the fighters that take up our daily battles to protect our bodies. Most people know they need to build up their immune system to fight diseases. What exactly is your immune system?
Research suggests that 60-70% of your immune system resides in your gut. That may seem like a lot of pressure for our gut to handle, but that’s what it’s supposed to do. If your gut is not healthy, then you’re not healthy. And if you want to fix disease, you have to start by healing your gut.
The linings in your gut are exposed to foreign materials each day by outside substances. For our bodies to function correctly, our gut needs to identify particles coming in as either friend or foe and act accordingly.
Having a proper healthy microbiome helps our gut regulate our immune systems and the nutrients, protein, amino acids, fatty acids, sugars, and carbohydrates that we need to help keep out all the bad stuff. Your gut is your first line of defense.
Whenever the barrier within our gut becomes leaky, through years of antibiotic use, hormonal birth control, or a severe illness, our body’s first line of defense exposes itself to an influx of damaging toxins that lead to systemic inflammation.
Our microbiome is crucial to understanding how the rest of our body works. Functional medicine researchers have been studying this topic for 30 to 40 years. They are continuously learning how to identify dysfunction within the gut, when it’s out of balance, how to repair a leaky gut, reduce inflammation, and fix the microbiome.
All of this happens inside our bodies as we eat, sleep, and go about our day-to-day lives. There has been extensive research that has claimed that the gut is a source of chronic illness.
Current research confirms that these studies have been onto something for hundreds of years. Problems in the gut have correlations to systemic diseases. Both health and disease start with your gut health.
Healthy Diet Is Key For A Healthy Gut
We can look at our gut all day and try to find the magic solution to healing it, but we need to start by paying closer attention to the things we are putting inside our bodies every day.
The foods that we eat are some of the first steps we can take to reduce the amount of inflammation within our bodies. The amount of starch and sugars that modern-day Americans put in their diets is four times the recommended limit. Almost a pound a day.
Let’s get back to the basics here. How did we get to this point? Several hundred years ago, the only sugar consumed was from fruits and vegetables. Now, we see it in almost everything at the grocery store.
Look at the nutrition labels on the food in your refrigerator or pantry. It likely has some form of added sugars. It is in nearly everything, meaning that it is everywhere within us.
- Gluten: This grain protein is the most common cause of inflammation as a result of diet. In many people, gluten contributes to microscopic gut irritants. Think of this as lots of tiny paper cuts within your gut lining.
- Dairy: Our bodies struggle to break down dairy proteins, leading to inflammation.
- Sugar: Sugar has been proven to increase the production of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) which are molecules that trigger inflammation.
- Soy: Soy contains phytic acid, which can bind to minerals and inhibit food absorption. Those unabsorbed food particles can inflame or infect your gut lining.
- Egg: The consumption of eggs can affect different people’s inflammatory responses in different ways. Eggs contain arachidonic acid that is broken down by the body and can lead to inflammation throughout the body.
- Alcohol: Over time and in large amounts, alcohol can alter the lining of the intestines and the colon, making the body less capable of containing healthy bacteria. Your immune system sees alcohol as a threat and induces inflammation when consumed on a frequent basis.
Cut The Sugars
All of these added sugars have caused us to create insulin resistance within our bodies. We are making ourselves resistant to the effects of insulin, forcing our bodies to make more and more insulin to regulate our blood sugar. We are flooding our bodies with these synthetic forms of starches and sugars that were never supposed to be within us in the first place.
Ever since our ancestors first discovered their sweet tooth, sugar cane has been in high demand. With the intake of sugar that the average person consumes today, the liver has continued to evolve, overworked, and depleted itself from what our bodies were designed to do.
Reduce Your Stress
We have also seen how chronic stress causes inflammation throughout the body. These added burdens can carry extra weight on the body, simply due to pressure which increases the inflammatory response. Social interactions can actually cause changes in our gene reactions.
A negative interaction with someone can turn on the genes of stress. But if you have a loving and connecting relationship with someone, it will turn on genes of anti-inflammation.
Who would have thought that the conversations we have each day would change how our body reacts to itself? Every one of our thoughts is crucial to our overall sustainable health. We must master how our minds respond to daily scenarios and situations. When there is an increase in stress responders, we ultimately hurt ourselves.
Many people that suffer from chronic inflammation do not even realize that it’s the source of their problems and that there is a possible way of feeling better. Many of our patients who come to see us have felt that way. But when they start to see positive changes in their health and enjoy life more, then everything starts to make more sense.
Most of us would admit that when we don’t feel well, we’re more susceptible to taking it out on the people around us. All of this inflammation occurring within us will inevitably also impact how we interact with other people.
You can try your best to tackle these problems on your own and incorporate those ‘healthy foods’ that you know you’re supposed to eat, but you might wonder how much that really helps. With continued research from our providers, we have found some of the best ways to treat chronic inflammation and remove those triggers that cause the build-ups within our bodies. We can help you get to that healthy and happier place where you want to be.
If you’re concerned about chronic inflammation, reach out to Kare Health and Wellness at 417-881-4994. Our goals are to improve your health and to prevent future issues through functional medicine in Springfield Missouri.
Our patient-centered approach and innovative solutions – like personalized inflammation testing and treatment – will make you feel and function better in no time.