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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Inflammation and Your Life

By: Joel Luedke

The research continues to expand showing that a lot of the root causes of so many problems we are dealing with is excess inflammation in the body.  Inflammation has had a potentially confusing definition depending on what level of health and wellness you are at.  Here we are going to discuss a couple of the differences between 'good inflammation' as well as 'bad inflammation' and then talk about what are some steps you can take to control excess inflammation in your life.

"Good" Inflammation

Inflammation is the initial part of any recovery process that takes place in the body.  Whether you injure your ankle playing basketball or just have soreness from a hard workout inflammation is right there on the scene.  This is the type of inflammation that is natural and what we want to occur when these things happen.  Along with this inflammation comes the bodies defense system to start cleaning up and repairing the injured area.  This occurs to the same extent with hard workouts as your body is working to repair and adapt as you make muscular adaptations.  All that being said, we don't want too much.

"Bad" Inflammation
When inflammation stay around too long after an injury you can start moving into an area where it might be detrimental to your body.  When this occurs the inflammation can cause congestion in the area and not let the proper blood flow and corresponding nutrients make it into the area to finish up the healing process.  This is when ankles are swollen for far too long and delays in the injury recovery process occurs.

'Bad' Inflammation doesn't just occur with injury.  This can happen to your body over time if you are consistently putting in 'inflammatory' foods that tend to spike blood sugar and your body has to work harder to deal with and store away.  Along with this storage process can also come associated water storage and inflammation.  The foods that appear to be the biggest culprits for this are simple and refined carbohydrates.  Sugar taking most of the blame.  Long term ingestion of these foods leads to chronic build up of inflammation which we will talk about how clear up below.  The good news is to start the process doesn't take a long time.

Controlling Inflammation
Increase Water
These seems overly simple but it makes a huge difference.  Having enough water and fluid in your body to help keep your blood running smooth (think liquid vs. motor oil) makes a huge difference in how your body can handle everything in your body.  For me personally I know when I'm not hydrated as a vein in my lower leg disappears as fluid is sitting in the vessel space outside of it with no transport to leave (simplified, yes).  When I make hydration a focus everything functions better and your body is better able to handle the stress you place on it.

Anti-Inflammatory Diet
This is as much elimination as it is an addition diet.  The more you can limit 'inflammatory foods' such as simple carbs and sugar the better your body will respond.  Often times you can feel these differences in as few as a couple days if you eliminate quite a few things.  Replacing these simple carbs with vegetables or more complex carbs (i.e. sweet potatoes) as well as fruit (some debate on this but the fiber seems to help keep the spike in blood sugar relatively low) can make a huge difference in how your body reacts.

Other items you can add are monounsaturated and versions of polyunsaturated fat to your diet.  This could include things such as nuts, fish, avocados and utilizing more olive oil as a dressing or as an addition to your meal. By adding these you are helping up the anti-inflammatory aspects of your body and letting them work on a higher and more efficient level.

Movement
We have discussed movement when it comes to injury and evacuating swelling before and we want to echo that for control of general inflammation.  The lymphatic system in your body does almost all of the work with 'waste' removal throughout your body.  It processes all the junk and cleans it out but it is a PASSIVE system.  This means it needs something to make it function and how it gets that is through muscle contraction.  Think of the muscles as squeezing the excess fluid and junk out of the area in order to move it back to the core of your body to be processed and gotten rid of.

While this can help clear out a swollen ankle it is also highly beneficial when it comes to inflammation overall.  This doesn't mean going nuts when it comes to exercising and doing hours a day but it does mean getting up and moving throughout the day and also going for some walks to help keep your muscles contracting and that fluid moving.  This can make a huge difference.  Obviously you can add more exercise just be careful not to go overboard and great more inflammation than you are moving out.

These are just some basic areas to start but the basics can work wonders.  If you're looking to take your anti-inflammation to the next level try 'Flame Off' by Paragon Nutrition and use code "CP15" for 15A% off at check out.  This will help load your body with more things to help combat inflammation.  Let us know if you have any questions by reaching out at info@totalathletictherapy.com
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