Our body’s natural built in healing mechanism steps in when we are injured, get infected with foreign bacteria and viruses; the same mechanism when constantly activated can result in many diseases that we see today.
Our body’s inflammatory response when subjected to our poor lifestyle choices and diet causes chronic inflammation ranging from severe to mild and is found to be one of the main contributory factors in many illnesses.
Having said that, those with predominance in the heat element in their physiology and psychology (pitta constitution) are more prone to inflammation than others. When Pitta type go out of balance, it’s the heat element in their make up that goes out of balance.
Over and over again, I have seen many of my clients respond really well when they change their diet and lifestyle. I alwasy believe that if we know we have created a symptom, we can uncreate it. The success, however, is dependent upon the chronicity of the condition.
Symptoms of Inflammation
Here are some of the most common symptoms and diseases that may be caused by inflammation. These symptoms can be localized or are experienced all over the body and they vary from person to person. Tuning in to your symptoms and then linking it back to your diet and lifestyle can help you connect the dots and in making changes.
- A feeling of achiness – your body just hurts. No matter what you do, there is this low grade pain always present, can be worse in the morning. You body feels like it is clamping up. Movement eases this pain.
- Lethargy – a sense of malaise, heaviness, even the small tasks seem daunting and undoable.
- Over perspiring – even a little bit of body movement such as walking around the block makes you sweat and run out of breath.
- Weight gain – is the byproduct of not feeling well which in turn leads to reduced physical activity and eating for comfort
- Illnesses such as colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension, skin rashes, psoriasis, migraine headaches, acid reflux
- Anxiety and certain type of depression is linked to inflammation
- Burning feet and just feeling hot all the time
- Bouts of anger and intensity
Symptoms many time are not clear cut and can get confusing.
Remember heat is needed in our digestive system to turn our food into fuel. Poor eating and lifestyle choices weaken our digestion misplacing the heat in other parts of the body. We are not able to properly digest what we eat, increasing toxicity in our gastrointestinal track and this turns the inflammatory response on as it is trying to burn the toxins. Now imagine this is going on all thetime for a long time in your body. This creates chronic inflammation that gets deeply embedded in our tissues.
The symptoms can vary from person to person and in the level of intensity.
Anti-Inflammatory Diet and Habits
The good news is we can help ourselves by just beginning to implement some of the dietary and lifestyle changes as outlined below
- Reduce the intake of sugar
Sugar increases the insulin levels creating oxidative stress in the body and sets the inflammatory response in action. Sugar that we consume is often hidden in processed and pre-prepared meals. Read the labels. Cane sugar, corn syrup, fructose, dextrose are some of the names to be aware of.
Sugar found in other sweet tastes such as fruit or other natural sugars can also contribute to inflammation. It’s the sweet taste that we should be consciouns of. Sweet taste is also highly addictive; more we consume this taste, more we feel we need and sets us off in a vicious cycle. Sweet taste by far is over consumed in our culture.
2. Increase the bitter taste
An easy way is to include bitter greens and other green vegetables in our meals. Kale, dadelion greens, collard greens, cabbage, brussel sprouts, asparagus, green beans, brocolli, cucumber, celery, parsely, cilantro are easy to find and make a part of your meals.
Some common herbs that you can immediately begin to use are ginger, cinnamon and turmeric.
Bitter taste is cooling and is catabolic; it helps in reducing the fat tissue. Bitter taste improves digestion and can help to detoxity the body.
If eating greens is not your thing, you can find some good quality green powders that you can simply mix in water and consume. I add spirulina is my smotties occassionally, drink celery and/or cucumber juice.
3. Decreasing acidic foods
You guessed it! Caffering is acidic – it’s about reducing the quantity. If you enjoy your morning coffee or tea which many of us do, don’t get stressed out about it. Add more greens as I mentioned above.
Our most loved vegetables such as peppers, eggplant, tomato, potato, garlic. These are night shades that contribute to inflammation. Try reducing and notice the effect on your body. We don’t have to give up what we love altogether, the poison is in the dosage. If we simply cut down on the foods that cause inflammation and increase the foods that are anti-inflammatory, we are off to a good start.
4. Reducing animal products
Meat is difficult to digest and can really challenge our already weakened digestive system. Meat also takes twice as long to process, which means it stays in the GI track extra time – which kicks off the inflammatory response in the body. Overconsumpion of dairy products such as cheese, yogurt, milk and combining these foods incorrectly are also contributors of inflammation.
5. Stop and smell the roses.
As I mentioned above, those with Pitta constitution are more prone to inflammation than others. This is the mantra for them: stop and smell the roses; literally and figuratively. The resulting calming effect slows down our heart beat, promotes the mind to relax and the body responsds accordingly.
6. Soak up the moonlight
Moonlight is cooling. Be aware, however, that full moons can stir up our pent up emotions – this actually is a cleansing process that will reduce the internal subconscous intensity.
7. Reducing alcohol consumption
Alcohol is inflammatory and is a depressant. This may be easier said than done. Reach out for help if you need support in kicking this habit. Smoking is in the same category as drinking alcohol.
Every single one of my clients has learned the Heart Based Meditation that I teach. It makes a huge difference in their experiences and in helping them making changes to their diet and lifestyle habits. Meditation is a necessity for us living during these times where we are over stimulated and over busy. Meditation provides an outlet and a way to digest our day to day experiences and helps us drop into our heart, soften and calm down deeply.
I wish you much success in implementing the above recommendations and suggestions. If you need support and guidance, please reach out and schedule an Initial Consultation with me.
If you would like to learn the Heart Based Meditation, you can Download the FREE Instruction Audios Here
For further guidance on making dietary changes, get a copy of my book, Healing Your Relationship With Food: The Ayurveda Answer
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