Inflammation plays an important role in the body’s immune system. When you catch a bug or twist your ankle, your body mounts an inflammatory response to fight off pathogens and repair damaged tissue.
Sometimes, the body’s inflammatory response goes into overdrive. As Oxford University Hospitals explains, that’s what happens in autoimmune diseases, when a person’s immune system starts attacking their own body. However, even lower levels of chronic inflammation can cause problems. Read on for more information from Spirit Earth Magazine.
Most inflammation is acute, or short-term. When low levels of inflammation persist in the body despite the absence of injury or illness, it’s considered chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is rarely obvious, but under the surface, it’s damaging healthy cells.
Over time, chronic inflammation contributes to a wide range of health issues. It can cause digestive problems, joint pain, and dental health problems, and even increase your risk of developing life-altering diseases like cancer, heart disease, and dementia.
Chronic inflammation is hard to notice, which makes it hard to fight. Luckily, many of the best things you can do to prevent systemic inflammation are already good for your health. These include:
- Abstaining from smoking and excessive drinking.
- Maintaining a healthy weight.
- Managing stress.
- Adopting healthy sleep habits.
- Exercising regularly.
- Eating a healthy diet.
Medical marijuana is touted as a panacea for all kinds of health conditions, sometimes unfounded. However, the Miami Herald points out that marijuana’s anti-inflammatory properties are well-backed by science. For people suffering from chronic pain related to inflammation, such as pain caused by arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, or an old injury, medical marijuana is a viable source of relief.
While cannabis can relieve pain, not all marijuana products have the same therapeutic potential. When buying medical marijuana for chronic pain, look for dispensaries that specialize in medical marijuana rather than recreational. Medical dispensaries carry cannabis products with chemical profiles designed to deliver maximum relief.
Some people swear by anti-inflammatory diets to fight systemic inflammation, but does what you eat really matter? While it’s not clear while anti-inflammatory diets can prevent disease, there is evidence that certain foods reduce inflammation in the body. Anti-inflammatory foods include fruits, vegetables, and other plant-based foods high in phytochemicals, such as whole grains, herbs and spices, and colorful fruits and vegetables. Foods that are high in refined sugars, sodium, and trans fats, on the other hand, worsen inflammation.
There’s another sneaky problem contributing to systemic inflammation: air pollution. While it’s nearly impossible to avoid air pollution outside the home, there is a lot you can do to maintain clean air in your home. Even if you’re not dealing with signs of inflammation, improving your indoor air quality is a good idea. National Air Quality Testing Services ran studies that showed indoor air can be 3.5 times more polluted than outdoor air due to higher concentrations of contaminants.
The products you use around the home are a major source of indoor air pollution. To reduce the concentration of volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, in your home, swap conventional cleaning products and air fresheners for non-toxic alternatives. You can also choose non-toxic paints, replace carpet with hard flooring, avoid indoor pesticide use, and open the windows for at least a few minutes every day. Also consider adding a few house plants, since some studies indicate they can help clean your home’s air.
If you’re considering moving to a new abode because of inflammation issues in your current living space, first find out how much house you can afford. You’ll need some information at the onset of determining this number, such as income, debt, and how much equity from your present place you can put down toward a mortgage. Using an online mortgage calculator makes this process simple.
Researchers are still discovering the full impact of systemic inflammation on the body, but one thing is clear: While acute inflammation is our ally, chronic inflammation can be dangerous. Whether you’re living with symptoms of chronic inflammation or simply want to be proactive with your health, start taking steps to reduce systemic inflammation in your body.
Author: Emma Grace Brown
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