Anti-Inflammatory Lifestyle is My Fountain of Youth–
Since I was diagnosed with Graves’ Disease in January 2017, I’ve been on a journey to not only get my disease under control, but hopefully to get it in remission. There is no cure for Graves’ Disease, but fortunately my symptoms can be managed with medication. I continue to improve but the only way to get it in remission is to manage the underlying problem: chronic inflammation. Since remission is my goal, I’ve started following an Anti-Inflammatory Lifestyle. Here’s what I’ve learned that is important to understand, whether you have a chronic inflammation or autoimmune condition problem or not. If you are over 50, following an anti-inflammatory lifestyle can be like the “Fountain of Youth”. It’s the right choice for long term health.
Chronic Inflammation is Poison
Our bodies are constantly bombarded by toxins, poison and dangerous triggers in the environment. These include by bacteria, viruses, chemicals, toxins, and a variety of other harmful catalysts. The body protects itself from these harmful substances through our immune response. Our immune system acts like the security system and triggers a healthy inflammation. Anytime there is a potential threat, our inflammatory response is triggered which involves a variety of biochemical reactions that help fight off infections and remove toxins, and increase blood flow to wounds or tissues that need healing, and also generate pain to signal that something is wrong in the body.
Types of Inflammatory Responses
There are two types of inflammatory responses to protect the body:
Acute inflammation- is an immediate response to some type of physical trauma, be it an injury, infection or disease. Acute inflammation aids in the body’s healing and recovery.
Chronic inflammation- occurs when the body is continuously protecting itself by secreting pro-inflammatory chemicals. With too much of the pro-inflammatory chemicals circulating in the blood, chronic inflammation becomes a poison. Rather than protect the body, chronic inflammation can turn into a disease that attacks and destroys the healthy cells in arteries, joints, organs, or many other areas of the body.
Chronic Inflammation Symptoms
Chronic inflammation can generate a variety of symptoms that may not immediately be obvious but can worsen over time. Common symptoms of chronic inflammation include:
- Chronic stiffness
- Recurrent body aches and pains
- Persistent swelling
- Loss of joint function
- Recurrent diarrhea
- Persistent indigestion
- Persistent upper respiratory congestion
- Sporadic infections
- Major skin outbreaks
Chronic Inflammation Associated with Chronic Disease
Chronic inflammation can become a slow and potentially fatal toxin in the body if not properly managed. It has been studied extensively and is associated with a wide range of autoimmune diseases (including autoimmune diseases) such as:
- Chronic obstructive lung diseases
- Congestive heart failure and other heart diseases
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Diabetes mellitus
- Crohn’s disease and other inflammatory bowel diseases
- Chronic kidney disease and kidney failure
- Systemic Lupus Erythematosis
- Chronic pain syndromes
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Thyroid disease (Hashimoto’s and Graves’).
Associated Risk Factors
Age, diet, lifestyle, and disturbed sleep are the primary drivers associated with the disorder. Age correlates directly with elevated levels of the inflammatory molecules. The older we get, the more pro-inflammatory substances increase in the body. Diets rich in fats and refined sugars increase the risk of inflammation. Similarly, those who are obese have a higher risk of chronic inflammation. Smoking and stress lower our anti-inflammatory molecule production, thus increasing the chances of chronic inflammation.
There are several types of treatments available including:
- Prescription medication
For many years, physicians prescribed corticosteroids which suppress the immune response, thus suppressing inflammation. While this is still an effective option, these medications come with serious side effects. It is important to carefully consult with your doctor before using any prescription medication to treat inflammation.
- Non-Prescription medication
There are over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications that alleviate pain. These include Aspirin, Ibuprofen, and Naproxen. However, it is not advisable to take these medications long-term, and in high doses, due to the associated side-effects (particularly kidney damage and GI bleeding).
Turmeric and herbs found in the ginger family hold strong anti-inflammatory properties.
Lead an Anti-Inflammatory Lifestyle to Manage Chronic Inflammation
If you lead an anti-inflammatory lifestyle to manage chronic inflammation , it can help control autoimmune disease or promote its remission. However, it is essential to keep inflammatory triggers under control over the long term to ensure optimal health and chronic disease management.
Using the ancient Ayurvedic medicine approach, which focuses on a healthy mind, body, heart, and spirit, you can quickly and easily start leading an anti-inflammatory lifestyle. The following is a list of the most effective anti-inflammatory lifestyle choices I’ve started following:
Implement an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Start by increasing the intake of the following anti-inflammatory foods:
- Brightly colored and fibrous vegetables and fruits
- Dark green vegetables
- Fatty fish and foods high in omega-3 fatty acids
- Natural, non-processed foods
- Whole grains and fibrous vegetables
Start by decreasing the intake of the following pro-inflammatory foods and ingredients:
- Simple sugars
- Refined carbohydrates
- High glycemic foods
- Foods with transfers and hydrogenated oils
- Foods with artificial colors and flavors
- Artificial sweeteners
In addition to the other benefits of regular exercise, it will help you maintain an optimal weight and reduce adipose tissue which in excess is a risk factor for inflammation in the body.
Although it is easier said than done, focus on lowering psychological and physiological stress to decrease inflammation. Stress is one of the primary triggers of inflammation in the body and is critical to manage.
Don’t Touch Cigarettes
Smoking cigarettes induces inflammation in the body and can cause so very many serious life-threatening health problems.
Anti-Inflammatory Lifestyle Frees You from Debilitating Inflammation
Maintaining a normal level of inflammation response in your body comes down to common sense: eat healthily, exercise regularly, get enough sleep, and try to keep your stress levels to a minimum. Always make anti-inflammatory lifestyle choices to prevent a small inflammation fire from getting out of control! An active lifestyle fueled by fresh, anti-inflammatory foods can set you up for freedom from debilitating inflammation. And what is most important is that you feel happy and empowered and motivated to keep it up so you can stay healthy and live well with zest!
Try some or many of these anti-inflammatory lifestyle tips and see what works best for you! You may feel like you’ve discovered “The Fountain of Youth”!
Cheers and Live Well with Zest!
Written by Bev Hope
Reviewed by Board Certified MD