One of the most serious – and common – causes of chronic disease is inflammation. Despite it being a very necessary process for defending and repairing tissue, high levels of inflammation in the body cause your cells to deteriorate and lose their ability to function properly. In turn, this leads to the development of diseases such as diabetes, cancer, autoimmune dysfunction, and other disorders.
The level of inflammation in your body is influenced by a number of factors, including diet, lifestyle, and environment. We will discuss gut inflammation and what we can do to eliminate this problem.
- What causes inflammation in the gut?
There are certain kinds of food that are considered to cause inflammation in the gut. These foods are mostly fatty and contain simple sugars. Other than these, inflammation can be as a result of imbalance of microorganisms in the gastrointestinal tract. When harmful microbes or yeast such as Candida grow and spread, they can severely damage the lining of the gut. The resulting immune response can cause further inflammation and damage.
The same foods that cause inflammation are generally considered bad for our health, including sodas and refined carbohydrates, as well as red meat and processed meats. Some of these foods have even been associated with an increased risk for chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Below are foods that can cause inflammation:
- refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and pastries
- French fries and other fried foods
- soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages
- red meat (burgers, steaks) and processed meat (hot dogs, sausage)
- margarine, shortening, and lard
- Sugar and high-fructose corn syrup.
- Artificial sweeteners, except for small quantities of Lakanto.
- High-mercury fish.
You should try to avoid or limit these foods as much as possible.
- What can you do to resolve your inflamed gut?
There are several things you can do to reduce your gut inflammation:
2.1 Get on an anti-inflammatory diet.
What does an anti-inflammatory diet do? Many experimental studies have shown that components of foods or beverages may have anti-inflammatory effects. If you choose the right anti-inflammatory foods, you may be able to reduce your risk of illness. If you consistently pick the wrong ones, you could accelerate the inflammatory disease process.
Some anti-inflammatory foods you can take are:
- Fruits and vegetables such as blueberries, apples, and leafy greens- These are high in natural antioxidants and polyphenols—protective compounds found in plants.
- Nuts – These have reduced markers of inflammation and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
- Coffee – This contains polyphenols and other anti-inflammatory compounds which may protect against inflammation.
- Curcumin –This is the active ingredient inturmeric, a bright orange spice. It’s one of the most powerful, natural, anti-inflammatory remedies on earth, especially for the gut.
- Whole grains
- Healthy oils
In addition to lowering inflammation, a more natural, less processed diet can have noticeable effects on your physical and emotional health. A healthy diet is beneficial not only for reducing the risk of chronic diseases, but also for improving mood and overall quality of life.
2.2 Drink More Water to Get Rid of Toxins
You come into contact with toxins through air pollutants, heavy metals, mold, and airborne pathogens without even noticing. Many of our foods also contain toxins like pesticides, antibiotics, and even added sugars.
These toxins contribute heavily to inflammation. They ‘turn on’ genes that promote inflammation causing cancer, T2DM and heart disease. These toxins can also cause imbalances in your gut flora thus allowing inflammatory chemicals to be released. This inflammation can start a chain reaction in the body that could lead to chronic diseases.
Drinking water helps in flushing out these toxins. It also helps in moving waste efficiently through the gut and out of the bowels and optimal function of the liver and kidneys.
Try and drink 2-3L of water each day, or six to eight glasses. Make sure your water is fresh and filtered, or at least free of contaminants such as chlorine, fluoride and heavy metals. Carry a bottle of water with you throughout the day if possible, so you can keep sipping it instead of drinking a large amount of water at once. You can also have it with a squeeze of lemon juice, which is rich in vitamin C and can boost your immunity.
2.3 Exercise regularly
Physical activity stimulates your body’s major detoxification organs, including your intestines, urinary tract, sweat glands, circulatory system, and lymphatics. When these systems are able to move toxins and waste out of the body, inflammation is kept to a minimum.
As little as 20 minutes of exercise a day could have anti-inflammatory effects on the gut and the entire body. Exercise improves the body’s anti-inflammatory response by activating the sympathetic nervous system. This boosts your heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate. Consequently, your body releases hormones including epinephrine and norepinephrine into the bloodstream, which have the job of activating the adrenal receptors of immune cells.
Exercise also forces fresh blood to your tissues, which reduces inflammation by helping flush away metabolic debris. It provides nutrients to inflamed or damaged tissues, which facilitates repair and restoration.
Just like hydration, exercise also keeps your digestive system moving and promotes good digestive health, further reducing inflammation in your gut.
You should also avoid sitting for extended periods of time. In case you work long hours, set a timer to get yourself up and moving on a regular basis, at least every hour.
- Keeping Gut Inflammation at bay….
When reducing inflammation in your gut, your first priority should be to reduce the amount of pro-inflammatory factors in your diet and lifestyle.
The steps mentioned above are very easy to incorporate into your daily routines, and will help to minimize the inflammatory processes happening inside your body.
By supporting your body’s detoxification functions with adequate exercise and hydration, you’ll be dramatically reducing the amount of harmful toxins that your immune system has to fight every day. Fewer toxins means your body can focus more on healing!
Take these simple steps and start to reduce your inflammation today. Your gut will thank you!
- Healthline (2019): The Microbiome Diet: Can It Restore Your Gut Health? Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/microbiome-diet
- Harvard Health Publishing (2014): Foods that fight inflammation. Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/foods-that-fight-inflammation
- Lifehack (2019): 3 Simple Steps to Reduce Your Gut Inflammation. Retrieved from https://www.lifehack.org/822113/gut-inflammation