What Causes Inflammation In Your Body And How Can You Avoid It?
Inflammation can cause a wide variety of symptoms, from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and joint pain to autoimmune conditions. Recently it has even been linked with depression. How and why does this happen, and what can you do to avoid or prevent inflammation?
What is inflammation?
While inflammation is the body’s natural response to heal damaged tissues, chronic inflammation persists when it is no longer required, preventing normal cellular activity. This can lead to long-term, unresolved pain.
For example, if you have a tendency to postural collapse of the joints and your nerves are being slightly pinched, adding in systemic chronic inflammation can tip the scales over into pain.
What causes inflammation in the body?
One theory increasingly gaining traction is inflammation in our gut lining, which can cause pathogens, toxins and tiny particles of undigested food to be absorbed by the body. This can be due to IBS, leaky gut, poor microbiome, disease, genetics, and so on. The immune responses triggered by these foreign bodies produces antigens in the normal way. Just like when we get colds.
If these antigens are of a similar chemical construction to our hormones, it can also lead to autoimmune conditions: the body is effectively attacking itself. This can explain various hormonal conditions including underactive thyroid.
This is why I often look at people’s diets when they come to me with long-term, unresolved back pain.
How can diet prevent inflammation causing back pain?
Our gut lining has a layer of mucus which is protective if we eat a balanced diet of 60-80% plant-based foods with a low sugar content. If we also maximise foods with gut-lining healing qualities such as fermented products this helps maintain the healthy, protective mucus layer.
We should minimise foods that can irritate our gut lining such as gluten, processed foods, preservatives, and toxins. A diet low in plant-based foods, with a high sugar content, highly processed foods, and no naturally fermented ones can erode the mucus layer, leading to inflammation.
How do I balance my gut and avoid inflammation?
The exact balance depends on where you are now and where you want to be. The difficulty is in switching: from these unhelpful foods as they are so addictive, convenient, and socially acceptable.
A lot of advice says cut things out or do an intense detox. This can be too extreme. Our brains and body may go into a shock state and want to revert to how it was before.
The approach I offer is quite different. It uses a three-step system:
This process can be far more effective in helping people change their eating habits. It breaks it down into smaller steps, helping you to continue observing the pain/pleasure link in your brain.
What is the pain/pleasure link in our brains?
Whenever we make a choice, we are moving towards pleasure or away from pain. Identifying the foods that cause us pain helps us make easier decisions to avoid them. And likewise, we can discover new foods that give us far more pleasure. For example, we may sleep better, go for a walk without pain, and enjoy exercise again while avoiding more weight gain.
My latest book Relief from Pain Through Rebalancing Your Diet explains this in more detail. Available in printable PDF format, it gives you a practical, step-by-step guide to implement the programme. It has been over fifteen years in the writing and is based on my work with clients.
The programme has helped many people feel better by changing their eating habits. As well as back pain it has helped with skin disorders and menopausal symptoms.
And along the way most people find their ideal weight.
Read their success stories here https://www.integratinghealth.com/success-stories
Please get in touch if you would like to know more about how to avoid inflammation and reduce pain.