So many people do not understand what inflammation this is and certainly do not realizing that it is connected to all the aches and pains that they are experiencing from “just” getting old or from their various disease states.
When you fall and scrape your knee, your immune system comes running to your defense to protect any outside “stuff” from coming into your body. That stuff might be bacteria, dirt, viruses or other things. You know your immune system is there and doing its job because you might bleed which pushes the gook out. Then a layer will form over it as a scab to keep more things from getting in. You will probably see some whitish-yellowish goo form over it. These are your white cells who are the active army in fighting any foreign invaders.
Now, think about your digestive system. At the end of the day, your digestive system is basically a tube extending through the center of your body. It starts at your mouth and ends at your anus. Things enter through your mouth, travel through the whole digestive track and get eliminated at the other end. Of course, this is a VERY simplistic view of what happens. That tube that extends through your body is still technically part of the outside world. Scientists say that what separates some of that tube from the outside world is ONE CELL LAYER thick! WOW!
Obviously, it is not hard to damage your digestive system. Many of us have inadvertently destroyed it by eating processed foods (Think foods that come in a box.), sugar, gluten/wheat and dairy. Antibiotic use also destroys our digestive system by destroying bacteria that help keep our gut healthy. It does not take much to break down that barrier and allowing “stuff” from our outside world to enter into our system even when we do not know it is happening.
When this happens, much like the scrape on your knee, your immune system goes into overdrive. It sends those white cell “warriors” to attack the things that it doesn’t think belong there. These battles that occur can happen anywhere in your body. They can happen in your joints, brain, bones, muscles… anywhere. When they do, this causes pain that we associate with “just getting old” or the inflammation of chronic diseases such as arthritis, sarcoidosis, cancers and Lyme Disease, just to name a few.
When you take away the foods that your immune system is attacking, you can find relief from those aches and pains. Sometimes in as little as a couple of days! Some common culprits that cause inflammation in our bodies are:
Sugar – sugar is everywhere. Any words that end in -ose and -ol are sugars. Also, be aware of natural sugars such as honey, maple syrup, agave.
Gluten/wheat – Gluten releases a protein in our gut called zonulin. Zonulin relaxes the junctions in our gut that help keep it sealed off from the outside world. When those junctions relax, leaky gut results.
Dairy – Two-thirds of the population is lactose intolerant and do not realize it. Two-thirds! Are you? Give up dairy for 3 weeks and reintroduce 2 big glasses of milk or servings of cheese a day and watch how your body responds. For many, the inability to clear their throat, achy joints and headaches are just a few of the symptoms. It also has been linked to many mood issues.
Even foods that many would consider “healthy” such as broccoli and tomatoes can lead to inflammation. The gold standard to figure out what you are reacting to is to do an elimination diet. Another way is to get tested. The testing is very easy to do with a test kit that you can order off of Amazon and send to a lab. Work with a Functional Medicine Practitioner to accurately read and apply the results.