Our bodies are amazingly complex, there is so much going on underneath the surface of our skin that if we stopped and thought about it we would be in a state of awe and amazement at this body that we inhibit. One of the amazing ways our bodies work to protect and heal us is through the process we know as inflammation. When we cut our finger, are exposed to a pathogen or twist an ankle the cells in our body initiate a process known as inflammatory cascade. The purpose of inflammation is to protect the injured area from further damage, bring the bodies defensive resources to the site of the injury, remove debris from the injured area and encourage healing. Think of a twisted ankle, this injury will give you the traditional signs of inflammation such as swelling, redness, warmth and pain. The best way to support the bodies healing with this type of acute inflammation is by resting and avoiding any strain or over use to the area. But what happens when the body is exposed to chronic or persistent inflammation, either through exposure to allergens, repeated tissue damage or oxidative stress? How do we best support our bodies healing then? The best way to address and reduce inflammation is through addressing the inflammatory triggers we maybe exposed to in our every day lives. This maybe lifestyle habits, stress levels or dietary related. A naturopathic consult can help you to identify these triggers within your life and prescribe medicinal herbs to help, but some simple steps you can start to incorporate today are:
Reducing stress levels; Take time out for yourself to rest and recharge your batteries. Engage in mindful exercise such as yoga or meditative walking. Practice daily meditation and breath work. Even five minutes spent focusing on the breath will help reduce stress levels. Do an activity that brings you joy. Try journalling to relieve your frustrations or list what you are grateful for.
Foods to avoid: Processed foods (ready made snacks, sugar, white flour etc), sugary drinks and too much coffee increase inflammation within the body. By choosing whole foods instead of processed foods, you are helping your body to metabolise food more efficiently, while also getting more essential nutrients. For example: choose black wild rice over white rice.
Foods to increase: Incorporating foods that are highly anti inflammatory is an easy way to help reduce inflammation. Foods and spices such as, fish, olive oil, onion, garlic, ginger, turmeric, black pepper, cumin, coriander, rosemary and cinnamon all help to reduce inflammatory markers within the body and have anti oxidant properties.
Hydrate: Try to drink 6-8 glasses of purified water per day to help your body keep hydrated and flush toxins from the body. You can tell when you are well hydrated by the colour of your urine which would be pale and clear as opposed to a dark yellow that occurs when you are not well hydrated. If you struggle to remember to drink water, invest in a nice water bottle that you can carry with you as you go about your day. Nice additions to add into your water can be; Bach flower remedies, a little fresh herb such as rosemary or lemon balm or a few slices of citrus fruit .