Leading Causes of Inflammation and Digestive Health Issues

Chronic inflammation is a growing health issue in the United States.  Contributing to heart disease, diabetes, obesity, mental decline and a host of other health issues, it is surprising to learn inflammation often starts in the digestive system; specifically a result of an unhealthy diet.

The digestive system works closely with the immune system, in fact, nearly 80% of immune system function begins in the digestive system.  Chronic inflammation is a result of an immune system that is actually working overtime, attacking important cells in the muscle, joints, and even blood.

Foods That Cause Inflammation

We often hear how important omega is to our health, it is important to understand that OMEGA 3 is essential for improving health and reducing inflammation.  Unfortunately, many people do not understand that Omega 6, often found in cooking oils is high in linoleic acid and actually contributes to chronic inflammation and health issues.  The ideal ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3 is 1:1, unfortunately, the average person eats a diet with a ration of 20:1.

Processed foods, simple carbohydrates and sugar also contribute to inflammation in the body, primarily through rapidly increasing blood sugar levels, which increases insulin levels – which increases the inflammatory response throughout the body.

Other Causes of Inflammation

In addition to a poor diet, other environmental factors, like physical and emotional stress and exposure to toxins, pesticides and chemicals in food contribute to chronic inflammation.  Stress, whether physical or emotional, results in an increase in release of the hormone cortisol.  Increased cortisol levels are associated with increased insulin levels, slowed metabolism, increased weight gain, and increased acidity in the blood.

Chemicals, toxins, and pesticides found in the foods we eat, the air we breath, and in the processed materials found in the world around us also contribute to chronic inflammation.  Exposure to chemicals in cleaning products, pesticides on fruits and vegetables, hormones in meats, and heavy metals in water – even in low doses – contribute to chronic inflammation and health issues.

Anti Inflammation Diet Foods

While it may seem that we are fighting a losing battle against the contributors to inflammation, there are many steps you can take to lower the inflammation in your body.  The most important step is to pay close attention to your diet.  The food you eat had a direct and immediate impact on the levels of inflammation in your body.  Of particular importance is the Glycemic Index of the foods you eat; foods with a high glycemic index (think sugary, white, processed foods) immediately increase your blood glucose levels and should be avoided.  Replace these unhealthy foods with whole grains, sweet potatoes, steel cut oats and fresh, organic fruits and vegetables.

In addition, increase the amount of Omega-3 fatty acids in your diet.  This can be done by eating wild, cold water fish, chia seeds, avocados, and cold-press extra-virgin olive oil.  In addition, look to supplement with an anti inflammatory fish oil or krill oil supplement rich in EPA and DHA, essential components of Omega 3. Finally, since so much of the inflammation in the human body stems from food, supplement your digestive health and digestive system with probiotics and ginger.  Probiotics are known as the “good” bacteria, are found in the trillions in the gut,  and are essential for protecting the body from inflammation and illness.  Yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut and kimchi are excellent sources of probiotics.  Ginger has over 500 natural components and is a great, natural health supplement that improves digestion and drastically reduces inflammation in the body.

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