Now that You have a basic understanding of the hormones that are effecting your body and health, let’s focus on how those hormones are causing inflammation. Understanding inflammation is important because it effects your ability to lose weight and your ability to prevent other diseases. More and more research is coming out that shows inflammation being the catalyst for diseases like Type 2 Diabetes, cancer, irritable bowel disease, etc.
Stress and weight gain are unfortunately connected in a cause and effect cycle.
It has been shown that weight gain causes your fat cells to trigger your immune system and cause inflammation. C-reactive protein levels that correlate with increased weight shows that weight gain alone increases inflammation. On the flip side, inflammation can cause weight gain. An example is when insulin levels remain high for an extended period of time which leads to overall inflammation leading to type 2 diabetes and weight gain. So inflammation causes weight gain and weight gain causes inflammation. The big question is how to we stop this cycle?
Start by identifying symptoms of chronic inflammation. If you are experiencing any of these common symptoms, you likely have inflammation. Symptoms include:
- Pain or swelling especially in your joints
- GI distress such as gas, bloating or diarrhea
- Abnormal lab values
- Auto immune disease diagnosis
There are many ways to reduce inflammation in your daily life. Usually health professionals like to break these down into categories: stress, diet, and activity. Inflammation is not just brought on by physical actions but your mental state as well. So to reduce stress you must try to work on reducing stress in all of these categories.
Stress can cause inflammation in many ways. The main way stress can increase inflammation is with a hormone called cortisol. We will have another blog dedicated to cortisol and it’s effects of the body. Stress also effects your immune system and makes you more susceptible to infection. Here are some ways to reduce stress in your daily life.
- Get adequate sleep: Sleep can help your body and mind reset from stressful days. Here are some tips for increasing sleep.
- Turn off all electronics an hour before bed time.
- Use the setting on your phone to reduce blue light at night. If your phone does not have that setting, install an app like easy eye
- Try meditation before bed. You can use some apps like Headspace or Calm to help
- Yoga and meditation: These two techniques can help you relax your mind during stressful times. Most people find that trying to meditate or do yoga multiple days a week can help keep stress levels low.
- Breathing exercises: Some good breathing exercises are the classic count backwards from 10. Or a technique called box breathing.
- Use essential oils or herbs: Lavender, jasmine, chamomile and eucalyptus are known to be very relaxing for the body and mind.
The food you put into you directly effects inflammation and hormones in your body. Chemicals and additives in your food increase the risk of inflammation. Make sure you are staying hydrated with non-calorie beverages and best is water. Make sure you are getting a variety of colors in your diet. Reduce inflammatory foods in your diet.
- Foods to eat: Whole one ingredient plant foods found in nature are the best foods to eat to avoid inflammation
- Foods to Avoid/limit: gluten, refined sugar, dairy, red meat, alcohol, high fructose corn syrup, preservatives.
Reducing sedentary activity can do wonders for reducing inflammation in your body. It can help control your insulin and blood sugar levels. It can help reduce stress and cortisol levels. Getting regular physical activity can also help you sleep more soundly if you body feels like it needs more rest for recovery. Physical activity can help you lose weight which can help regulate inflammatory hormones. As you can see, physical activity can help with all categories of lowering inflammation.
We recommend that you get at least 210 minutes of physical activity per week for weight maintenance and overall health. Please refer to one of our many blogs about exercise to help yourself get started.