Inflammation is a sneaky, and often unrecognizable, root cause in a multitude of functions that lead to dis-ease. But… what is it?
Inflammation is a way that your body aims to protect itself against harm or damage. Think of it this way, when we’re in the car and believe another car may be coming our way, we swerve to the side a bit to protect ourselves. This is what inflammation does in our bodies. It aims to protect us at any chance of threat.
What is the difference between acute and chronic inflammation?
There are 2 types of inflammation, acute and chronic. Acute inflammation can be beneficial, since it typically keeps our bodies safe at critical times when we really need it.
When we get injured from a scrap or paper cut, our bodies will send white blood cells to that area and communicate the need for healing. Inflammation is essential in these circumstances, since we need our bodies to heal – quickly.
On the other hand, chronic inflammation can begin wreaking havoc in multiple body systems over a longer period of time. It can occur as our bodies recognize more and more things it does not like. If we smoke, drink excess alcohol, sit for long periods of time, have excess adipose tissue (body fat), or have overall bad lifestyle or health habits, chronic inflammation occurs. Our bodies begin signaling to us that it doesn’t like what it sees. This reaction goes on to set the stage as a root cause for illnesses and overall dis-ease, making it difficult to optimize our health.
What conditions can inflammation be a root cause of?
Ongoing stress creates a cyclical inflammatory response. For example, when you are stressed in your job, it increases cortisol. Increased cortisol then interferes with insulin and increases your appetite. An increased appetite leads to higher blood sugar and maybe even weight gain. Weight gain can further lead to insulin resistance which contributes to more inflammation and the cycle continues. This is one example of how inflammation can serve as a root cause.
Ultimately, inflammation can be a root cause in conditions such as anxiety and depression, Alzheimer’s disease, weight gain, insulin resistance, heart disease, altered gastrointestinal function, diabetes, an overall weakened immune system, and much more. It can truly affect every body system and create sub-optimal health.
What are ways to measure inflammation?
At Rachel Scheer Nutrition, we offer extensive functional medicine laboratory testing that can assess if inflammation is your potential root cause.
Laboratory markers that we analyze related to inflammation include homocysteine and high sensitivity C-reactive protein. These are both markers that can tell us if your body has general inflammation circulating.
On the other hand, we also include a comprehensive stool analysis test in our coaching. This test incorporates markers such as calprotectin, zonulin, and fecal lactoferrin which allow us to learn if inflammation is present in your gut.
How can we address inflammation via lifestyle?
Luckily, there are many ways we can focus on addressing inflammation in our daily lives! Fighting inflammation via movement and mindset is key. Exercise, and particularly resistance training, is a great way to get our bodies active. Similarly, research shows that meditation and other mindset strategies can assist in reducing inflammation. Other choices we can make to fight inflammation include adequate sleep and finding community and joy in our lives.
What about food?
Food also has the ability to make or break the inflammation in our bodies! Our recent Instagram post highlighted the difference between pro-inflammatory foods and anti-inflammatory foods.
Pro-inflammatory foods include gluten and gluten-containing foods, dairy and dairy-containing foods, sugar, vegetable and other seed oils, baked goods and classic “junk” foods, and alcohol.
On the other hand, anti-inflammatory foods include high quality protein sources, healthy fats, non-starchy vegetables, and fruits. Consuming more anti-inflammatory foods can make a world of difference in both feeling better and reducing overall inflammation.
How can I work with you further to address inflammation as my root cause of dis-ease?
If you suspect that inflammation is at the core of your dis-ease and you want to begin optimizing your health and wellness, take the first step and apply to work with Rachel Scheer Nutrition. Find our application here where our team will learn about your needs and goals so we can assist you on your health journey!
Rachel Scheer is a Certified Nutritionist who received her degree from Baylor University in Nutrition Science and Dietetics. Rachel has her own private nutrition and counseling practice located in McKinney, Texas. Rachel has helped clients with a wide range of nutritional needs enhance their athletic performance, improve their physical and mental health, and make positive lifelong eating and exercise behavior changes.