“Suddenly, inflammation has become one of the hottest areas of medical research,” says health journalist Christine Gorman in Time magazine’s article, “Health: The Fires Within.” “Hardly a week goes by without another study revealing a new way chronic inflammation does harm to the body. It destabilizes cholesterol deposits in the coronary arteries, leading to heart attacks and potentially even strokes. It chews up nerve cells in the brains of Alzheimer’s victims. It may even foster the proliferation of abnormal cells and facilitate their transformation into cancer. In other words, chronic inflammation may be the engine that drives many of the most feared illnesses of middle and old age.”
Inflammation is a topic of great concern in the health community, so I asked certified nutritionist Kim Schuette from Biodynamic Wellness to discuss the causes and symptoms, and share tips on how we can take simple steps to reduce inflammation.
What is inflammation?
Inflammation begins as the body attempts to eliminate various immune complexes (antigen-antibody complexes) and heal damaged tissue, which has resulted from chronic infection. Chronic infection stems from an imbalance in the microbiome residing within the gut.
Why is it important?
Acute inflammation assists the body in destroying foreign antigens and immune complexes, as well as healing and restoring damaged tissue. The concern comes when inflammation becomes chronic and dominant.
What are the signs of inflammation?
Stiffness or swelling of joints, redness of skin, pain any where in the body, water retention, redness of the eyes, asthma, allergies, abnormal levels of C-reactive protein in the serum and low levels of intracellular magnesium.
Which foods cause inflammation?
Sugar, all processed foods, refined grains, pasteurized dairy products, meats from factory farm animals and farm-raised fish. Grains that are not properly soaked as well as pasteurized dairy products create a lot of inflammation in the body. The meat from animals raised in confined animal feeding operations is very high in omega-6 fatty acids and quite low in omega-3 fatty acids. The typical ratio of fatty acids (3:6) found in factory raised, commercial meats is between 19:1-50:1. Meats from pasture-raised animals have a fatty acid ratio of 1:1-1:2. Refined polyunsaturated vegetable oils are also extremely inflammatory. Omega-6 fatty acids (found in vegetables oils like canola and corn) create inflammation, whereas omega-3 fatty acids (fish oils) are anti-inflammatory.
What diseases are caused by inflammation?
Allergies, arthritis (inflammation in the joints), atherosclerosis and all forms of heart disease (inflammation in the arteries or veins), autoimmunity (inflammation in any associated tissue, organ or gland being attacked by WBC), bursitis, cancer, diabetes and neurological disorders (ADD/ADHD, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease; all indications of inflammation in the brain), and tendonitis (inflammation in the tendons).
How can we begin to reduce inflammation with the foods we eat?
The best place to start is to eliminate ALL processed foods. Yes, ALL. A true Paleo diet or the GAPS Diet is a good place to begin for eliminating sources of inflammation. Eat traditionally prepared real food. Foods free of pesticides, herbicides and all chemicals are ideal. Animal foods derived from animals raised 100% on pasture or wild are anti-inflammatory.
Are there other ways to reduce inflammation? Such as supplements, saunas, juicing, or other treatments?
Yes, there are many ways to reduce inflammation in the body. Any therapy that encourages movement of the gut associated lymphatic tissue (GALT) and supports liver and kidney detoxification reduces inflammation. Among my favorite modalities are rebounding (on a trampoline), exercise (running on the beach or soft surface, Pilates, yoga, Zumba and other forms of dance), castor oil packs, coffee enemas, dry saunas, dry brushing, fresh lemon juice in water, pancreatic enzymes and remedies such as Gemmotherapies Pinus Montana and Sorbus Domestica as well as Chelidonium Plex or Lymphoyosot.
Are there supplements that can aid in reducing inflammation?
Those containing omega-3 fatty acids such as true cod or skate (ratfish) liver oil, pancreatic enzymes, turmeric (curcumin), shark cartilage, milk thistle, ginger, the Whole C Complex, cat’s claw and serrapeptase. Homeopathic remedies such as Arnica Montana are very useful as anti-inflammatories and are completely safe.
What are some simple things one can do to begin reducing inflammation today?
1. Eliminate sugar, refined carbohydrates and vegetable oils.
2. Dry brush.
3. Drink half your body weight converted to ounces in water daily, away from meals.
4. Move daily.
5. Drink a cup or two of meat stock or bone broth daily.
6. Resolve anger and resentments.
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