Holiday Rescue: Inflammation Management
“The only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it” Oscar Wilde.
Now that the festive season, namely, our yearly short-term study on the effect of inflammatory foods on your health, is over, what’s next?
You most probably feel bloated, you might be farting hurricanes, experiencing headaches, and joint pain might very well gone up… No big of a deal, it is a healthy reminder why eating clean 50 weeks a year works for you!
Here a few things not to do
Don’t turn it into an occasion to piss and moan.
You did not pack on 10lbs of fat in two weeks, you were fat 6 month ago. Yes, we have pictures. And don’t blame it all on the bloat either…
Don’t overreact and embark into a crash diet combined to an over-training program that will do more harm to good.
Better, use the new year upbeat mood to create better habits to manage inflammation on the daily.
Inflammation Management 101
Habit #1: Take Care Of Your Digestive System
The gut determines your inflammation set-point. It is the meeting point of the outside world with the inner world. Think of your digestive track as a canal that travels through you – it is literally the interface between you and non-you. It makes sense that the immune system would set-up quarters at this high security location.
So, how to calm things down and turn off a couple alarms after the recent onslaught of questionable foods.
Most likely you consumed some gluten containing foods during the last days.
Gluten is notoriously bad for the gut lining. This molecule has the tendency to punch holes into the tight-junctions.
A few tricks can help plug the damage.
- Pack up on glutamine, omega 3s and aloe vera. This is the perfect fix for a leaky gut.
- Feed the beasts (with the right fuel).
Your gut bacteria produce short chain fatty acids such a butyric acid that prove of tremendous help for your struggling enterocytes. The enterocytes use butyric acid as fuel. And will happily rebuild your gut lining once they have all the necessary ingredients.
But what keeps a microbiome happy and generous butyric acid wise? The answer is your veggies.
Habit #2: Eat Your Veggies.
Vegetables are rich in indigestible fibres, your FOS and the motley crew of soluble or insoluble fibers. The ones that the beneficial bugs feast on.
If you feel particular magnanimous, you could supplement with inulin powder, acacia gum or potato, green banana or green plantain starch preparations. Or, opt for a ready to use fiber mix such as the PaleoFiber designed by the highly reliable DFH. Note that mixes prove more effective than isolated products. For one thing over-representation of an isolated fiber can cause intolerance long-term. Second, each strain of bacteria has a preference and, remember, variety is key, we don’t want one species to take over.
Vegetables also pack a healthy punch of healthy polyphenols. These allow plants to protect themselves from the assaults of the exterior world. But they also happen to be powerful weapons against free radicals and ROS. So indulge your metabolism and reap the full benefits from plant-based antioxidants by adding copious amounts of vegetables to your diet. Note that chocolate, wine and teas also deliver the same biological “anti-rust” goodies.
The best wines for that purpose are Spanish wines, Sardinians and Merlot Noir. When it comes to chocolate, it must be black, and pay attention to the origin since most chocolates from Africa contain hazardous heavy metals. Tea can be a healthy addition to your days. One caveat yet, tea bags can be ridden with toxicants. One such being epichlorohydrin. It is a proven carcinogen. Also, some bags contain plastics which we preferably don’t want to drink. All in all, lose tea leaves are a safer pick!
Habit #3: Hydrate
Water, water every where. Nor any drop to drink.
Your cells could very well be uttering such Coleridgean lamentations. And drinking tea or, wine for that matter, is not going to do much in terms of hydration. Alcohol is a splendid dehydration agent, and you may have indulged in a few glasses recently. So taking care of hydration will be welcome.
How to hydrate properly?
You need water, duh! And… a bunch of electrolytes to ensure transport. Salt is your friend as we have already harped on. But, raw fruits and vegetables deliver a surprising dose of electrolytes. Of course, sport enthusiasts will welcome electrolytes formulas that pay back the electrolyte depletion caused by strenuous exercise.
Habit #4: Sleep, Nap and Relax
And… most valuable player in the anti-inflammatory team, drum roll, sleep!
Close-eyed is the privileged repair time for your body. It’s a whole body matter too. Think about it, sleep leaves you paralyzed and unconscious, easy prey for those saber tooth tigers lurking around. Why would such an occurrence of vulnerable state make evolutionary sense at all, if it did not perform some tremendous repair work on your body? Statistics are unequivocal: sleep deprivation correlates with an augmentation of the inflammation villains such as IL-1beta, IL-6, and TNF-alpha. And no need to put an all-nighter to join the ranks of sleep deprived individuals, a couple hours here and there niftily take their toll. Be sure to check my numerous articles on sleep hygiene to add more actionable tools to your arsenal.
So, inflammation, albeit a hot topic, can be easily stopped dead on its track. These few habits will ensure you keep it on the down-low and out of harm’s way.
Yours in health,
Coach Charles R. Poliquin