By Claire Bacon, ACN, CNC
We hope you are enjoying our October blog series on holistic cancer prevention. If you missed the last few weeks, we have covered avoiding toxicity, promoting detoxification, and building the immune system. All of these things are equally important in keeping your body healthy. Now we will cover another important strategy: reducing inflammation!
Is It Acute or Chronic Inflammation?
What does reducing inflammation mean? Isn’t inflammation just a natural, involuntary bodily response? Isn’t it a normal process caused by too much overuse, like a tough workout? Or doesn’t it just happen as a result of hereditary diseases? Well yes, these examples are true. Acute inflammation, like after a workout or injury, is actually a good thing! The swelling helps to stabilize the joints and brings healing forces to the injury.
However, there is a lot of chronic inflammation that is derailing the health of millions of Americans. One could say it is an epidemic. In chronic inflammation, the inflammatory process may begin even if there is no injury, and it does not end when it should. Fortunately, there are many things within our control that can help with reducing inflammation.
How does inflammation link to cancer?
Research shows us there are two main pathways linking inflammation to cancer. There’s an intrinsic pathway that is caused by genetic factors. And there’s an extrinsic pathway caused by inflammatory triggers, such as infections and chemical irritants. By far, the environmental exposures cause the most inflammation and the vast majority of cancer cases.
New research demonstrates that chronic inflammation promotes genetic instability. Meaning, the chronic daily triggers we are exposed to can have a cumulative effect, damaging our health. Therefore, we want to do what we can to keep inflammation to a minimum.
5 ways of reducing inflammation in your daily life:
Now that we’ve covered why it’s important to keep inflammation at a minimum, what changes are necessary in your daily life? Here are five easy ways of reducing inflammation and your cancer risk:
Include healthy fats in your diet
The American diet is full of fat – but unfortunately, it’s the wrong kind of fat! We tend to eat too much Omega 6 fatty acids and not enough Omega 3s, which are necessary for anti-inflammatory balance. Omega 6s are commonly found in grain-fed, factory beef and poultry, French fries, margarine, corn oil, soybean oil, and safflower oil. Whereas, you can find Omega 3s in wild salmon, crab, venison, flaxseeds, and walnuts. The high Omega 6 oils are cheap to produce, and are therefore included in most processed foods. These oils often go rancid before they even leave the store; when consumed, they impair cellular functioning and contribute to early aging. The man-made trans fats found in margarine are the worst! The effects in the body are similar to putting sand into a Swiss watch – no good!
Cut your sugar intake
Sugar is arguably the worst food for causing chronic inflammation and health problems. Indeed, when glucose management is in the pits, you could say the body literally is on fire! Joint pains, headaches, hormone issues, and sleep are all worsened when the body is overloaded with sugar. There is well-documented evidence that sugar feeds cancer cells. It makes zero sense to feed someone with cancer concerns a diet of high-carbohydrate Ensure, soda, pasta, or even yogurt. However, this is exactly what the “conventional wisdom” is promoting. It’s best to start now and watch your daily sugar intake. Remember this when Halloween comes next week!
Commit to an anti-inflammatory diet
If you’re serious about getting healthy, make the commitment to an anti-inflammatory diet. It’s key to eliminate the top triggers of gut and immune dysregulation – wheat, dairy, corn and soy. Many people find it easy to follow a Paleo or Whole 30-style diet. If your inflammatory symptoms are more severe, you may need a more restrictive, healing diet such as the AutoImmune Protocol (AIP) or Gut And Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) diet. Furthermore, you want to cook with anti-inflammatory herbs and spices as much as possible. These include:
- Raw Cacao
- Cayenne Pepper
Strengthen your digestion & Elimination
When there is an uncomfortable symptom in the body, take it as a sign that something is wrong – and you better do something about it! However, too many people just reach for something over-the-counter to mask the symptom. Doing so is only a band-aid. There is no medication that actually improves your digestion, so you might as well work directly on the problem. The better you can improve your digestion (with bitter herbs, enzymes, or hydrochloric acid), the better your nutrient absorption will be. In turn, you’ll find your elimination will become more regular, predictable, and complete. The importance of regular elimination is so that your bowels are not absorbing toxic preservatives and other byproducts over a long transit time. The idea is to fully break down your food, absorb what you need, and get the remainder out of the body before it can cause problems!
Try intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting is super trendy these days. After decades of being told that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” current research shows that extending our nighttime fast to 16 hours relieves the energy resources of the body. In this way, energy resources can be spent on growth and repair, cellular turnover, and immune system activity. The idea is to confine eating between 12 pm to 8 pm. Intermittent fasting has been shown to support grehlin production, which suppresses inflammation. Most people discover they can adapt just fine to skipping breakfast and finishing dinner early, without snacking at night. It’s a simple option that costs nothing extra, yet can have powerful health benefits.
Supplements to Minimize Inflammation:
Supplements can help reduce your inflammation and keep it at a minimum. Our favorite supplements to reduce inflammation are:
- Turmeric Forte contains a bioavailable form of turmeric rhizome and fenugreek seed, which keeps the turmeric circulating in the body longer.
- Tuna Omega-3 supports the body’s natural inflammatory response from periodic changes such as consumption of a high-fat meal or strenuous activity.
Remember, the small daily choices you make can have a profound effect on improving your health and reducing inflammation. We hope this series empowers you to live a healthier life!