It’s believed that inflammation is a root cause or contributing factor to many “modern-day” diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, and even cancer.

It’s important to understand that inflammation is a double-edged sword. A certain amount of acute inflammation is good, as it is a tool the body uses to protect and heal itself, while chronic inflammation is the real culprit behind a lot of degenerative and systemic diseases.

If you were to get stung by a bee, or have a puncture to your skin, you will notice the tissue around the area becomes inflamed. This happens by design, so that the body can encompass the foreign agent and protect it from going systemic through the rest of the body.

It’s the same with exercise. If the body puts stress on a certain muscle group, the body will respond the same way, by providing localized inflammation at the point of stress.

Your body responds the same with diet. While consuming foods that the body considers toxic, whether it be junk food, refined sugars, or even a perceived healthy food to which the body might be intolerant or allergic, inflammation is the response.

Whereas our bodies might be able to handle periodic exposure to a stressor as long as it does not stimulate a strong allergic response, it’s the chronic stimulation from the offending agent that leads to chronic inflammation.

If you are dealing with chronic inflammation, you might want to consider removing the common inflammatory foods such as gluten and grains (yes, gluten is not the only challenge within grains), non-fermented dairy, non-fermented soy, refined sugars, vegetable and seed oils, and hydrogenated fats. Also included are any foods to which someone might be intolerant or allergic, even if deemed “healthy,” that might lead to chronic inflammation in the body.

Food allergy/intolerance testing is an option, although a lot can be accomplished by following the above guidelines.

As far as diet is concerned, the root of inflammation usually begins in the gut. I would recommend then starting a high-quality probiotic, such as Probiotic GI from Pure, which can be found at any Martin’s Pharmacy and is always 25% off regular price.

A lot of people are surprised by my recommendations to eliminate vegetable and seed oils, including canola. These oils all can be inflammatory, so we want to consider anti-inflammatory oils, such as fish oil. My favorite is EPA/DHA Essentials from Pure Encapsulations. Also, consider cooking with oils that have a high heat point and do not stoke the flames of inflammation; such as coconut or ghee.

Stay tuned, because in the next blog post we will be talking about how the wrong exercise can continue the cycle of inflammation.