Did you know that inflammation is THE major root cause of nearly every type of chronic disease – including autoimmunity, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and even cancer?
Or that reducing your inflammation is one of the most powerful steps you can take in preventing and reversing illness?
So what is inflammation, how do you know if you’re dealing with chronic inflammation, and what can you do to fight it?
The important thing to know is that there are 2 types of inflammation.
The first is acute inflammation and it’s your body’s natural defense mechanism to fight infection and keep you safe. For example, you cut your finger and you experience pain, redness, or swelling. These are all signs of your immune system doing its job and it’s a limited-time response to prevent the cut from becoming infected. Once the cut heals, the inflammation disappears.
The second type of inflammation is chronic inflammation, and this is the kind to worry about because it’s what leads to disease and illness. In our modern environment, we are exposed to a MASSIVE amount of inflammatory substances on a daily basis. From processed and junk foods to plastics to chemicals in our air, water, and personal products we are bombarded with things that keep our inflammation levels high.
And when you’re chronically inflamed your immune system becomes stressed, which can lead to autoimmune reactions. Chronic inflammation also sets up a chain reaction that triggers endothelial dysfunction and oxidative stress, two major contributors to cardiovascular disease.
And the list goes on and on. So whether you already have a chronic health condition and you’re looking to reverse it, or you want to prevent one from developing, it’s essential to look at your inflammation levels.
Here are 9 signs you’re dealing with chronic inflammation
- Frequent headaches or migraines
- Joint or muscle pain
- Digestive issues, including gas, bloating, diarrhea, constipation, or acid reflux
- Brain fog, poor memory, or difficulty concentrating
- Mood issues, including anxiety or depression
- High blood sugar
- Weight gain, especially around your waist
- Skin issues such as eczema or psoriasis
- Seasonal allergies
Now if you’re dealing with some of these issues, or you’ve even developed a full-blown chronic disease like an autoimmune condition, cardiovascular disease, or diabetes, I have good news! Because you can start reducing your inflammation and working your way back down the chronic disease spectrum with a few simple lifestyle changes.
In my clinic I partner with patients to develop a comprehensive approach to reducing inflammation based on your personal health history, functional lab tests, and environmental factors.
However, for most people in America, our diets are our #1 source of inflammation, so I’m going to share 4 simple strategies for fighting inflammation through diet to get you started!
1. CUT OUT ALL PROCESSED AND JUNK FOODS
If it’s not a real, whole food, don’t eat it! Processed and junk foods are packed with inflammatory ingredients and completely lacking in nutrients such as antioxidants that help prevent and repair the damage from inflammation.
As a general rule, avoid anything in a box, can, bag, or bottle that contains more than 5 ingredients or any ingredients that you don’t recognize as a real food.
2. DITCH ADDED SUGARS
Did you know that the average American eats about 3 pounds of sugar a week? Thanks to misguided dietary guidelines that demonized fat and cholesterol for years, Americans’ consumption of sugar and carbohydrates skyrocketed over the last few decades.
This is a big problem because sugar is not only highly inflammatory, it also causes insulin resistance and increased blood sugar, which can lead to diabetes, heart disease, and strokes.
In my clinic, we work with you 1-on-1 to formulate a personalized dietary plan that addresses all sources of sugar, including complex carbohydrates, fruits, and starchy vegetables.
However a great place to begin is by cutting out all added sugar. So ditch the sodas, baked goods, desserts, candy, and sugary cereals and you’ll be well on your way to reducing chronic inflammation!
3. ENJOY DELICIOUS, ANTI-INFLAMMATORY FOODS
Fighting inflammation isn’t just about cutting things out, you also want to focus on what you’re adding in! And the great news is that there are tons of delicious anti-inflammatory foods to enjoy that will help combat the inflammation you are exposed to and help repair any damage it has caused.
Cherries and berries, including blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are some of the most popular anti-inflammatory foods and are easy to add into your morning smoothie.
Salmon, avocados, olive oil, and coconut oil are great sources of healthy fats that are packed with anti-inflammatory properties.
And of course there’s bone broth, which not only fights inflammation, but also helps repair a leaky gut, support your immune function, reduce joint pain, and more.
4. ADD IN AN OMEGA 3 SUPPLEMENT
In addition to eating anti-inflammatory foods, one of the best and easiest things you can do to combat chronic inflammation is to add in a daily Omega 3 supplement, also known as fish oil.
Omega 3 fatty acids are essential acids, meaning your body can’t produce them on its own and you have to get them through your diet or supplements.
And you want to make sure you’re getting plenty of them because they pack in powerful anti-inflammatory benefits. They have been shown to decrease disease symptoms and flare ups in many inflammatory conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, and more.
They are especially helpful for cardiovascular health because Omega 3s help to lower high triglycerides, regulate cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and prevent plaque buildup.
The fish oil I recommend to my patients and carry in my store is called RootFix OmegaMax and is 3X more absorbable than any other fish oil available. Unlike most fish oils out there that require 2 to 3 or even up to 6 capsules a day, you actually only need 1 capsule a day, so it’s really easy to take and you’re getting the best bang for your buck.
I’ve worked with thousands of patients from around the world to help them overcome complex health conditions and take back their lives, and now I want to help you too.
If you’re ready to live your solution, book a free 10-minute consult with me. We’ll review your history, discuss your goals, and determine if you’re the right fit for our Adaptation program!
About the Author: Dr. Seth Osgood is a Doctor of Nursing Practice, Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner and Institute of Functional Medicine (IFM) Certified Practitioner. Dr. Osgood received his post-graduate training in Functional Medicine through the IFM and from working with Dr. Amy Myers. He has helped people from around the world improve their health utilizing a Functional Medicine approach.
Want to work with Dr. Osgood and the GrassRoots team? Become a patient in our West Lebanon, New Hampshire Functional Medicine clinic, our Burlington, Vermont Functional Medicine clinic, or our Austin, Texas Functional Medicine clinic!