How to Avoid Chronic Systemic Inflammation, by Matthew Romans
Posted July 24, 2020 by Matthew Romans
One phrase that has gotten a lot of attention in recent years is chronic systemic inflammation. Inflammation is a normal response by the body in an attempt to ward off an invader, whether the invader is a virus, a food you are allergic to, or a mosquito that bites you. These scenarios are examples of short-term or local inflammation (like the bump and redness that you get on your arm from the bug bite), but what is meant by "chronic systemic inflammation"? According to Wikipedia, it "Is the result of release of pro-inflammatory cytokines from immune-related cells and the chronic activation of the innate immune system." Your immune system defends you against infection, and some of its major components include the white blood cells, antibodies, the lymphatic system, spleen, bone marrow, and thymus. In addition, your skin, lungs, and digestive tract function as another layer of defense against foreign invaders. If you experience chronic systemic inflammation, it's as if your body is in a perpetual state of "high alert", which is extremely stressful.
What causes chronic systemic inflammation? There are several contributing factors: genetics, stress, lack of restful sleep, improper diet, and lack of proper exercise are some of them. The danger of chronic systemic inflammation is that it can predispose you to developing the "diseases of modern civilization", which include diabetes, heart disease, certain forms of cancer, autoimmune diseases (when the body's immune system attacks healthy cells), and even some skin conditions like acne and psoriasis. Modern lifestyles and nutritional habits have exponentially increased the prevalence of these diseases in the U.S. over the last 30 years, and that trend doesn't seem to be slowing down anytime soon. On the surface, the news sounds pretty bad.
Fortunately, there are simple things that you can do to reduce your systemic inflammation and ward off the diseases of modern civilization. These are not things that will require a drastic overhaul of your lifestyle or take up a lot of your time, but can be done on a daily or weekly basis to optimize your health.
Get plenty of Vitamin D. Vitamin D is critically important for the production of antibodies and for building and maintaining strong bones. Deficiency of this vitamin can lead to Rickets and Crohn's Disease. Ample amounts should be acquired through direct exposure to the sun. I also recommend taking a supplement if you don't live in the tropics or work outdoors, at least 5,000 IU (international units) per day.
Eat single-ingredient whole foods. Most processed foods contain additives and ingredients that are completely unnecessary and in many cases harmful. Look at the packaging: if it has a bunch of words you can't pronounce, you don't need it. If you stick with whole foods, you know exactly what you're getting. Avoid sugars, breads, and pastas whenever possible.
Get 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. Many Americans are carrying around a significant sleep debt. This leaves you feeling lethargic and less alert, but it also increases systemic inflammation. Try to set consistent times to go to sleep and wake up, and limit your exposure to artificial light in the hours before sleep. If you are able to wake up on your own, without an alarm clock and feeling refreshed, you have gotten ample sleep.
Incorporate meditation and/or mindfulness. Regular meditation, even for as little as ten minutes per day, has been shown to lower blood pressure and improve sleep. It's a good way to refocus your mind and relieve stress that has accumulated throughout the day.
Perform regular Total Results exercise. Our unique exercise protocol will safely strengthen bones, joints, and muscles, improve your cardiovascular and metabolic conditioning, reduce your risk for injury, and even help you maintain insulin sensitivity (and ward off Type II diabetes). It can also reduce your blood pressure, lower resting heart rate, and allow you to perform everyday tasks with far less effort. All of this takes less than one hour per week.
Try intermittent fasting. This involves reducing the time between your first and last meal of the day to around 8 hours (or less), and going without eating for longer periods of time (usually 14 to 16 hours or more). It's not as difficult as it sounds, and is much easier to do if you consume a higher percentage of your calories from saturated fat. Regular fasting helps facilitate cellular repair, increase gene expression, increase levels of human growth hormone (which is beneficial in fat loss), and regulates blood sugar and insulin levels.
Avoiding or reducing chronic systemic inflammation will leave you less susceptible to viruses and bacterial infections; it's hard to get the most out of life if you are frequently sick or injured. Adopting this approach to life will also help you to maintain functional independence, reduce your health insurance costs, and decrease your regular use of medication. The Total Results exercise philosophy is an important and effective way to help you to maximize your health and maintain your vitality for many years to come. Take charge of your life and start today.