6 Effective Ways to Reduce Chronic Inflammation

Before we dive into inflammation, I want to invite you to participate in a wonderful event on Sat, Sept 23rd from 12-2pm: the Park Avenue Fitness 2nd Annual Health Fair! I will be there in person offering health discovery sessions and many amazing, local health practitioners will be there as well including personal trainers, chiropractic care, body workers, physical therapists and more. Such a great opportunity to build your health support team! Also, whether you live locally or not, there is a raffle with great prizes and all proceeds go to Second Harvest Food Bank to help feed people in need in the community. Click here for more info on the fair or to buy raffle tickets. I hope to see you there!

Now back to inflammation. As you may already know, inflammation is your body’s normal response to infection, injury, or damage. When there is infection, trauma, or injury on a certain part of the body, the immune system sends its inflammatory cells to promote healing the injured tissues and/or attacking what it thinks is causing the harm. 

Acute vs. Chronic Inflammation

With acute inflammation, there is often redness, swelling, pain or tenderness, increased heat, and loss of function. With chronic inflammation, it’s a different story.

Signs of chronic inflammation can be the following:

  • Skin rash
  • Mouth sores
  • Joint pain
  • Headaches
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Chest pain
  • Abdominal pain and/or digestive issues
  • Frequent infections
  • Unexplained weight loss or weight gain
  • Insomnia
  • Mood swings

But first, what causes chronic inflammation?

Chronic inflammation is the immune system’s response to some sort of ongoing, continuous damage/harm…when your cells keep getting damaged and the body keeps attempting to repair this damage. Examples of what can contribute to chronic inflammation include a lot of lifestyle factors:

  • Poor diet (eating foods that trigger inflammation such as sugar-rich, processed, and fried foods).
  • Smoking
  • Stress
  • Inadequate sleep
  • Overexercising
  • Overuse of medications such as NSAIDs (non-steroidal antiinflammatory drugs)
  • Heavy drinking or other substance abuse 

Risks of Chronic Inflammation

If you want to be healthy, highly functional, and enjoy living your best life, then it is imperative that you know how to avoid or reduce chronic inflammation. 

Chronic inflammation has been linked to different chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, stroke, heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, chronic kidney disease, autoimmune diseases, and inflammatory bowel diseases.

6 Effective Ways to Stop/Reduce Chronic Inflammation 

  1. Start with the proper diet. Regularly consume anti-inflammatory foods and regularly avoid inflammation-causing foods such as:
  • Sugar-rich foods and drinks including candy, desserts, many baked goods, sodas, syrup sweetened drinks/coffees, sodas, sweetened juices vs. fresh juices
  • Fried foods and vegetable oils – they are rich in trans fats
  • Processed foods – packaged foods that have ingredients a mile long with things you can’t pronounce or have no idea what the heck they are! Common examples are many cereals, freezer meals, chips, crackers, flavor packets, sauce packets, many salad dressings
  • Refined carbohydrates like rice, bread, and white pasta–opt for whole grains, beans/legumes, and gluten-alternative grains (since gluten is such a big protein in wheat/rye/barley and damages the cells of the gut)…the fiber naturally present in many of these carb rich foods will prevent your blood sugar from spiking (blood sugar spikes damage your blood vessels and increase inflammation)
  • Poor quality and processed meats–animals who are fed high omega-6 grains (corn, soy) will produce high omega-6 meat. Too many omega 6’s  increase inflammation so it is really important to eat omega 3 rich foods to balance them out: wild salmon, grass fed beef, pastured poultry. And if you are eating deli meats, read the ingredients and choose high quality options (organic, uncured)

Instead, eat a healthy and diverse diet that includes foods that combat inflammation. These foods contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, polyphenols, and antioxidants. These can be found in green leafy vegetables, colorful veggies, fatty fish, nuts and seeds, olive oil, green and black teas, and curcumin/turmeric.

  1. Stop smoking – create a quit plan and get support.
  2. Limit alcohol intake – Any beverage that contains alcohol is inflammatory.
  3. Keep weight in a healthy range.
  4. Exercise regularly – There are many benefits of regular exercise, and that includes decreasing stress, improving digestion, and maintaining a healthy weight.
  5. Get adequate sleep (7-8 hrs/night) – Wake up and go to bed around the same time every day. It’s a way to train your body’s circadian rhythm and also for you to get enough sleep.

A conscious effort to improve in these areas of your lifestyle will support you to have healthy, balanced inflammation and improved quality of life. If chronic inflammation is a concern to you, discuss it with your health practitioner or get some targeted support.

It is my passion to work with people like you whose health symptoms are getting in the way of you living life fully and with a sense of freedom in your body. I can help you to regain your health so you can feel great and free to enjoy life fully. 

If you’re ready to discover where your best health has been hiding, I’d love to connect with you!

Apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session. http://bit.ly/schedulinghealth (subject to availability).

Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!

Melatonin Health Benefits (with sleep and beyond)

Melatonin has gained popularity over the years as a natural sleep aid, but did you know that it is also helpful in other ways?

In this newsletter, let’s explore melatonin, its benefits, dosage, and side effects.

What is Melatonin?

Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland, a tiny gland in your brain that is part of your endocrine system. Melatonin plays a major role in your sleep-wake cycle and circadian rhythm. Circadian rhythms are physical, mental, and behavioral changes that follow a 24-hour cycle. These processes basically respond to light and dark. The sleep-wake cycle is an example of a circadian rhythm that responds to light. The pineal gland secretes the highest level of melatonin at night and lesser amounts during the day. It is known as the sleep hormone as it helps you fall asleep and stay asleep.

Melatonin can also be produced synthetically in a laboratory and marketed as a dietary supplement. However, since the US Food and Drug Administration does not regulate food supplements, laboratory-produced melatonin is technically not FDA-approved for any condition (and is recommended to consult with your pharmacist or health provider/practitioner if you want to take melatonin supplements).

Melatonin Health Benefits

Sleep Improvement– Melatonin is known as the sleep hormone as I mentioned. Although you can sleep without melatonin, you can definitely sleep better when you have optimal levels of melatonin. That’s why your pineal gland produces its peak amount of melatonin at night (in response to darkness).

Various studies support that melatonin aids in having better sleep. In one study involving 50 people with insomnia, the subjects who took melatonin 2 hours before sleep reported that they fell asleep faster and improved their sleep quality. In another study, melatonin also improved total sleep time and enhanced the quality of sleep among children and adults with sleeping disorders.

Lessening the Symptoms of Seasonal Depression– About 10% of the population worldwide suffers from seasonal affective disorder or seasonal depression. With symptoms usually appearing from late fall to early winter, seasonal depression is a yearly recurring condition brought about by the changes in the seasons that cause changes in the circadian rhythm caused by the decrease of light.

Taking low doses of melatonin can help in reducing seasonal depression symptoms.

Increasing Human Growth Hormone (HGH)– HGH, also known as somatropin, is essential for growth and cellular regeneration. It is the hormone produced by the pituitary gland that promotes growth in children. Once the growth plates in the bones fuse, HGH no longer increases height but is still needed to maintain normal body temperature and metabolism, which includes keeping blood sugar levels within a healthy range and helping maintain healthy weight levels.

Helping to Treat GERDGERD or gastroesophageal reflux disorder is a condition in which stomach contents leak back to the esophagus and is characterized by symptoms such as heartburn, belching, and nausea.

Melatonin is not only made in the pineal gland: it’s made in the stomach, intestines, esophagus, and mouth. Additionally, studies have shown that people with GERD have lower levels of melatonin when compared to healthy people who do not have GERD.

Supplementing with melatonin likely improves GERD symptoms by helping to protect the lining of the esophagus (by decreasing the production of nitric oxide, a compound that relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter causing the stomach acid to enter the esophagus), regulating stomach acid levels, reducing oxidative stress, and lowering inflammation.

Dosage and Side Effects

According to studies, melatonin is safe and non-addictive both in short-term and long-term use. It can be taken 0.5-10 mg per day. Common side effects reported include drowsiness, nausea, headache, and dizziness. It may also interact with other medications so it’s important to inform your provider if you’re going to take melatonin supplements.

Melatonin supplements come in many different forms including capsules, sublinguals, lozenges, gummies, and sprays.
A great way to natural support your body’s own optimal production of melatonin is to reduce exposure to blue light (from screens) in the evenings (some suggestions here), sleep in a dark room, and get to bed between 10-10:30pm.

I hope this information is helpful to you.It is my passion to work with people like you whose health symptoms are getting in the way of you living life fully and with a sense of freedom in your body. I can help you to regain your health so you can feel great and free to enjoy life fully. 

If you’re ready to discover where your best health has been hiding, I’d love to connect with you!

Apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session. http://bit.ly/schedulinghealth (subject to availability).

Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!