Feeling the Heat?
Here’s what you need to know about inflammation and your gut
As far as buzzwords go, inflammation is pretty hot – literally. When you cut yourself in the kitchen, that redness, warmth and swelling is evidence of inflammation at work. It’s the first line of defence your immune system uses to protect you from infection and repair the damage that weakened your defences in the first place.
So why would inflammation be a problem? Because, in our crazy world, the balance your immune system has between tolerance and action can be lost. This happens for a whole bunch of reasons:
- The chronic stress of the daily grind: deadlines, bills and family life
- Sitting too much and skipping the gym
- Choosing mac and cheese and burgers over kale salads and oatmeal
The battle zone where the inflammation war occurs most often? Your gut. Your gut is a crucial barrier between you and the outside world. It absorbs all of your nutrients while it tries to keep out harmful germs and toxic substances. For that reason, roughly 80% of your immunity is centred there…meaning that when things go awry, the immune system may call inflammation to the front lines.
The challenge with inflammation is that most people don’t know that they have it. You don’t look or feel inflamed – it flies under the radar until the evidence begins to mount: food intolerances, skin or blood sugar issues. And all of those tummy troubles that send people to their doc? Inflammation plays a role in irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease and leaky gut.
Often, practitioners will look at your lifestyle to suspect that inflammation is at play; however, when chronic inflammation reaches a fever pitch, there is a blood test that will detect it. The C-reactive protein, or CRP, test will often be part of a cholesterol screening from your family doc.
The nutrition prescription is deceptively simple: eat more plants. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and beans are high in fibre that feed beneficial bacteria in the gut. They also help keep blood sugars stable and provide anti-inflammatory compounds that help to douse the flames of inflammation.
A potent probiotic can really help too. The reason for this is that inflammation fosters the growth of bacterial strains that love to live in the heat…but your friendly strains have a hard time managing the tropical weather. A quality probiotic such as Bio-K+ can help fight off the strains that keep the fires of inflammation burning so that the thermostat reaches a more comfortable level.
Staying healthy and feeling energized means living an anti-inflammatory lifestyle. Eat well, move your body and take your beneficial bacteria!