Breaking the Inflammation Cycle
Content by: Sarah Bigbee, RD
Chronic inflammation may be creating or further provoking physical and mental health problems. And, there is a connection with gut health. Find out how to break the inflammation cycle.
Inflammation is a response from the immune system, as it detects a potential issue that could harm the body. Inflammation, under normal circumstances, is a basic response to survive and thrive.
What happens though, when the body is in a state of chronic low-grade inflammation? In recent years, it has been found that chronic, low-grade inflammation may be creating or further provoking both physical and mental health problems, instead of healing the body, as intended. Low-grade inflammation, diet composition and health are being studied. See current research evidence, and its translation below in PMC, Reference (1).
🧠 The Gut-Brain Inflammation Cycle
The gut and the brain work together to keep our minds and bodies functioning. The gut and brain are in constant “communication” with the other to ensure our health and wellness. Certain foods and lifestyle factors can affect the health of our gut, which in turn creates signals to our brain.
Foods high in saturated fats, salts, and sugars, as well as foods that are highly processed, can trigger an inflammatory response in our gut. Stress and not getting enough exercise are some of the lifestyle factors that play a role in causing chronic inflammation.
Inflammation causes our immune system to ramp up and sends signals to the brain that there is something wrong! Our brain, in turn, becomes inflamed. Continuing to eat foods that trigger inflammation in the gut causes the signal to become a chronic issue in the brain and is often linked to depression and fatigue.
As part of a vicious cycle, read more about the The Role of Inflammation in Depression and Fatigue, PMC Reference (2). Depression and other mental health disorders often lead to poor dietary choices and decreased exercise which keeps this cycle of inflammation going.
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Breaking the Inflammation Cycle! There are ways that we can take charge of our health that will help break this inflammation cycle and promote a healthier life! Eating foods that contain probiotics, pre-biotics, and fiber help create a healthy gut balance and decrease this inflammatory response.
1️⃣ Get at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week to help keep our gut moving.
2️⃣ Finding ways to de-stress! This will lower the inflammatory responses and allow the body to heal. Good options for decreasing stress include listening to music, meditating, practicing gentle yoga, or even taking time to just breathe.
3️⃣ Eat Healthy! Eat a well balanced diet favoring fresh vegetables, fruits and lean meat.