I’m sure we’re all guilty of the a little sugary snack every now and then, which is alright. The processed sugars we get from an odd treat are fine and can be mitigated with some exercise. But did you know there are plenty of processed sugars in our other food choices, ie Cereals, Dairy, Processed Foods, Premade Sauces, Alcohol … the list is nearly endless. The reason we bring it up is because sugars and our processed foods we consume in our diets are a leading cause of inflammation build up in the body.
Now you may be asking yourself what’s inflammation, is that not what happens when I’m injured ?
Which is correct. Inflammation is our natural response to foreign bodies within ourselves, it fights off the bad guys and helps us heal. However, like with everything in life, if it’s overactive or been triggered too much it can have a negative effect on us… SIGHHHHHH.
But not to worry, we’ve been doing some research again and we’ve dug a little deeper to find out the problem and some solutions to it.
So what we’ll cover today.
Firstly lets ask the Questions
- A Simple Synopsis
- Inflammations Effects On Our Temple
- The Tangible Triggers
- How To Combat It
A Simple Synopsis
As we already briefly mentioned, inflammation is our body’s response to protect us! It’s a natural response from the body’s immune system. It removes damaged cells, and blood vessels, and fights of foreign invaders: germs. This is a vital function of our body or else we’d always be sick, however although it’s good for us in some cases, there are plenty of ways which it can go against us.
If we trigger our bodies inflammatory response too much, we get an overreaction or build up of inflammation which can lead on to more serious illnesses/conditions. So while it’s good, we must be wise to watch the levels of it in our body. Just like putting oil in a car. You can’t have too much, just the right amount will make it run perfect otherwise you’ll flood the engine
Inflammation’s Effects On Our Temple
Well first and foremost it has a positive effect on our body, by cleaning out bad, or unknown bacteria/foreign bodies, keeping us relatively healthy. Chronic-Inflammation, however, can be very harmful and can cause a lot issues in the short and long term. It can affect an array of things from our mind to all parts of our body and functions.
“In a healthy situation, inflammation serves as a good friend to our body, But if immune cells start to overreact, that inflammation can be totally directed against us.”
Mansour Mohamadzadeh, PhD
Director For The Center for Inflammation – University of Florida.
These negative effects are almost endless. They can result in a variety of illnesses like autoimmune diseases such as hay fever, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, gum disease, rheumatoid arthritis and in worse cases have been linked to cancer. But most commonly it can affect our bodies in small ways which one might not notice, but if left over time can lead on to more serious things. Some common things it effects are listed below.
- Skin: causing outbreaks of dry skin conditions and spots
- Body: muscle or joint pain and stiffness, as well as bone density loss and affecting bone growth,
- Mind, it can lead on to depression or anxious behaviour
- Lungs, Heart & Gut: It can lead to a variety of issues with our most vital organs
- Body’s Functions: Sleep and weight loss can be seriously affected by inflammation too
The Tangible Triggers
Well basically it can be triggered by a lot of different factors. The one most common amongst us all, is for sure our diet. As we mentioned in the opening processed foods and sugars wreak havoc with our internal system. And when we’re constantly putting bad foods in our bodies we have the inflammation trigger always switched on, never giving our bodies a chance to rectify it.
Another trigger would be overtraining. If we go and smash weights or whichever training everyday in a week without a break period we will constantly put our bodies under physical stress. This triggers the inflammatory response. If we don’t rest or change up our method of training we will eventually run into plenty of injuries.
It’s very prevalent in relatively young people who constantly get injured. It’s as a result of years doing the same movements and the same training, stressing the exact same areas over and over again.
“Why did one straw break the camel’s back? Here’s the secret: The million other straws underneath it.”
Beyond this our mind plays a vital role in the build up of inflammation, and pretty much in all of our bodily functions. If we’re stressed or anxious it over indulges the inflammatory response which then builds up c-reactive proteins in our system. These proteins are released in times of stress to enable our flight or fight function, but keeping ourselves constantly under stress without addressing it will lead on to more dangerous things in the future.
At last, but by no means least important, is your sleep. If we don’t get the required amount of sleep needed it can not only lead to chronic inflammation but a whole host of issues. Not grabbing 6-8 hours of good sleep per night will age your body and seriously affect your mood/mind.
How To Combat It
We can make small changes to our diets to give our bodies the best chance of minimising our inflammatory response. Simple things like more greens, grabbing the fresh fish or chicken options instead of the processed or breaded ones, having our sugar intake from fruits as opposed to processed sweats, cutting down on carbonated drinks (coke, lucozade etc..), grabbing some probiotics.
One other thing I’d suggest here is check the label of the foods you’re buying and find the sugar content of the items. Try gauge how much you’re consuming each day and see if there’s places where you can cut down.
Vary your training. This isn’t just good for inflammation but for the longevity of your physical ability. If you practice varied styles of training you’ll give the overused parts of your body a rest while building up strength in the neglected parts. Don’t break the camel’s back by constantly doing the same thing. What doesn’t count is bench press changed to incline bench press, that’s still the same lateral movement. Look for variety like, two days gym, one day swim, one day sport, one day yoga. Variety will be fun and exciting and you’ll benefit in the long run.
And more important than variety is rest. Don’t push your body past it’s breaking point. If you feel something coming on take measures to relax that area and focus on healing it rather than saying you can push through.
Look after your mind, we’ve touched on the importance of it in other blogs, but really it’s our most powerful tool we have. Way more powerful than the body, so cherish and care for it. If you feel stress that’s fine, work through your stress in a healthy manner don’t binge eat ice-cream or binge drink to get over it. Address your mind’s state and as to why it’s feeling that way, this will help you to no end with stress and inflammation.
Not that we should need an excuse to sleep, but get those hours your body needs. If you’ve an active life 6 hours sleep isn’t going to cut it. Be selfish with sleep and it will reward you, it can help with many things beyond inflammation like our mindset and recovery, so it’s a worthwhile investment. Checkout the JRE podcast with sleep specialist Matthew Walker, it highlights the power and importance of shuteye.
Natural Foods & Supplements
You can also checkout lots of natural foods and supplements which help fight inflammation, but while these are great at fighting it, you should also look to adopt some of the above advice too. Our best chance of success comes from from fighting on all fronts not just one. Checkout the items below.
If you would have any feedback or any more questions on this blog please let me know firstname.lastname@example.org as i would be happy to help.