Sustainability is not limited to our interactions with the Earth. Our health is just as important as the health of the Earth. In fact, I don’t think there is much separation between the two. That’s why I’m going to tell you a little something about the human body and the culprit behind an array of common illnesses and diseases. Chronic inflammation, different from a swollen knee or ankle, can cause everything from fatigue and allergies to diabetes, heart disease, migraines, and thyroid issues (the list goes on). Unlike the current model of treatment (pharmaceuticals), the solution is much more interconnected and holistic.
Chronic inflammation stems from the gut. Our gut is made up of a large (and when I say large, I mean it could be stretched to cover two full tennis courts), semi-permeable lining. The lining becomes less or more permeable due to chemically triggered conditions like elevated cortisol. When our gut is in a more permeable state, undigested foods, toxins, yeast, bacteria and viruses can pass into our bloodstream. This, my friends, is called Leaky Gut Syndrome. As the intestinal lining is repetitively damaged, digestion becomes impaired, the immune systems attacks the foreign invaders and responds with inflammation, allergic reactions and other symptoms associated with common diseases. The immune system will also begin to recognize these escaped proteins as similar proteins (thyroid, cerebellum etc.), attacking both. This leads to symptoms far removed from the gut such as; brain fog, fatigue, poor sleep, anxiety, and endocrine dysfunction.
The typical Western approach to reducing inflammation is to suppress the immune response. Unfortunately, this does not address the root of the problem or allow tissues to regenerate and heal. Instead attention must be turned to lifestyle habits (including diet) that are affecting the gut.
Here are the key triggers of chronic inflammation:
Diet– alcohol, gluten, casein, processed foods, sugar, fast food
Medications– corticosteroids, antibodies, antacids, xenobiotics
Infections– yeast/bacterial overgrowth, viral/parasite infection
Stress– increased cortisol
Hormonal– thyroid, progesterone, estradiol, testosterone
Neurological– brain trauma, stroke, neuro degeneration
So what can be done? Because this is a systemic issue, the solution also has to be systemic.
- Remove poor lifestyle habits; stress, over-exercising, poor sleep, poor blood sugar management.
- Restore positive lifestyle habits; create conditions of love and appreciation, positive attitudes, proper exercise (high intensity interval training instead of long, slow cardio that can trigger cortisol production), adequate sleep, blood sugar balance.
- Dietary Support; stabilize blood sugar, remove food autoimmune triggers, add fermented food and possibly supplements.
And to be a little more specific, listed below are top anti-inflammatory foods, herbs, and spices.
- Animal based omega-3 fats. In a perfect world, fish would provide us with enough, but the vast majority of fish supply is tainted with intestinal toxins and pollutants. It is also important to avoid farmed fish. Best choice is wild Alaskan caught salmon or small fish like sardines.
- Dark, leafy greens
- Tea (matcha and tulsi)
- Fermented vegetables and traditionally cultured foods
- Shiitake mushrooms
Herbs and Spices: