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Treating Inflammation

When we hear the term inflammation, we usually think of joint inflammation, arthritis, “old” people (not to be offensive), BenGay (or your favorite analgesic)…this only happens as you get older right?

Well that couldn’t be more further from the truth than the East is from the West. And for the record, just because you are getting older doesn’t mean you have to live with inflammation anywhere in your body.

Inflammation is defined as swelling, redness, heat, or pain produced in an area of the body due to a localized reaction of tissue to irritation, injury, or infection.

Symptoms of inflammation include pain, irritation, internal or external swelling, and sometimes loss of movement or function. Inflammation is a component of chronic diseases such as heart disease and strokes and is linked to many, if not most, of the diseases of civilization.



But here’s the news flash, inflammation not only attacks the joints, but also the nerves, muscles, brain, immune system, and…come to think of it…it can attack ANY system in your body, including your internal organs. Hope you’re not thinking inflammation is limited to “old” people anymore!

Inflammation is known as the “silent destroyer” because:

1) it’s linked to virtually all chronic diseases (diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, thyroid issues, etc.), but not treated as such, and…

2) it doesn’t necessarily cause pain when it attacks your brain, heart, or immune system. If you are inflamed, you may not know it, and your body is well on it’s way to a chronic disease.

The disease doesn’t even have to be related to inflammation, since inflammation weakens your immune system, you are now susceptible to…well just about anything.

Common Diseases Linked to Inflammation

• Inflammation of the heart (Myocarditis)
• Inflammation of the kidneys (Nephritis)
• Inflammation of the intestines (Colitis, Celiac, Gluten Intolerance)
• Inflammation of joints: Arthritis, Tendinitis, and Bursitis
• Asthma, Cancer, Autoimmune Disease, IBS, Alzheimer’s
• Obesity, Diabetes, Heart Disease
• Inflammation of muscles: Systemic sclerosis
• Fibromyalgia, Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, Parkinson’s disease

Chronic silent inflammation usually goes undetected since there is no pain or visible swelling. This leads to many misdiagnosis and lots of frustration. The trick is to find out what is causing the inflammation and then eliminate it completely.

The Main Culprits Of Inflammation

• Fungi, bacteria, and mold
• Viruses: hepatitis, herpes, HIV, Epstein Barr
• Heavy metal toxicity
• food allergens: peanuts, soy, milk, gluten, corn, legumes/beans, just to name a few

NOTE: You probably have NEVER heard of groups of people being allergic to lean meat, veggies, fruits, or raw nuts (the peanut is a legume, not a nut).

So if you’re wondering, can inflammation be caused or eliminated by what I feed my body? The answer is a resounding YES! Now while I understand that getting the “food thing” right can be a challenge for most of us, we usually advocate having a cheat meal up to three (3) times per week.

If you’re gonna cheat, then we prefer that you do the damage with dairy, sugar, or gluten-free alcohol (e.g. Vodka). We strongly advise against cheating with gluten laden foods: Grains, Pastas, or Bread.

The effects of a gluten binge can last from several painful hours to several painful days. What kind of pain? Glad you asked:

• abdominal bloating & cramping
• sweats
• diarrhea
• muscular pain, joint pain, nerve pain
• fatigue and mental fog
• skin rashes and breakouts
• and I am sure there are plenty more…

A good friend of mine recently shared what happened to her… One day she decided that she wanted some cookies and pastries. She decided that a little stomach irritation would be worth it..you know how we rationalize and justify it right.

Well, she ate some cupcakes, had some beer, and some jalepeno pepper poppers at a little social gathering. To her surprise, she experienced no immediate abdominal issues like she had many times in the past. She thought it was too good to be true.

And it was. The next morning she woke up with severe lower back pain. It was not due to any extreme training, it was due to the nerves in her spine/lower back becoming inflamed. She told me she couldn’t get her hands on enough Ibuprofen and ended up suffering with mildly debilitating back pain for 3-4 days. Does that sound familiar?

And as if this wasn’t enough, the next month she about the prior experience had cookies and pastries again, but this time it was the dessert for her cheat meal. Again, no cramping or abdominal pain.

But the next day, she woke up with severe pain in her right leg, it felt a lot like sciatica, which she didn’t have. But it seemed that the inflamed nerve ran from her hip down to her knee. She had trouble walking and again needed Ibuprofen just to move around.

After that she vowed…no more gluten (reminded me of the Chik Fil-A cows mantra…”Eat Mor Chikin”). She said “Gluten is the biggest inflammatory food group there is. I’m done with it. It’s not good for anyone. I will stick to dairy and some sugar for my cheat meals from now on…and the occasional margarita (gluten-free one that is).”

Once by gluten intolerance/sensitivity (did you know that 1 in 10 people have a negative reaction to gluten?), there are steps to take to speed your recovery. First, you need to drink lots of water to help your body flush out toxins (you should be aiming for half your bodyweight in ounces on a regular basis).

Next, while your digestive system is in the healing phase, stay away from all foods that can cause inflammation. And consume more anti-inflammatory foods. Finally, consume fish oil daily (the amount will depend on your weight, but 10g is not a bad plac to start).

Many of you know that we promote a Paleo type nutritional strategy here. The Paleo Diet has been scientifically proven and field tested to be effective in TREATING the diseases of our modern civilization.

Why not give it a try 100% and see how far you can go with it and what results you’ll see. If you want to feel better and have a more enjoyable daily experience and healthier lifestyle void of the nagging effects of inflammation and aging, you have nothing else to lose and plenty to gain.

Again, we don’t ask you to give up anything forever, just make better, more informed choices for the health and benefit of you and your family. Do some research on sites like www.nervepainguide.org who have dedicated members sharing pertinent information.  Weigh the options, look at the practical and realistic implications, and then decide, what’s more important to you?

Inflammation Cheat Sheet: CAUSES

• Refined Carbs: that is any carb that is not a veggie or fruit
• Fructose (high fructose corn syrup; do not confuse with fruit)
• Polyunsaturated vegetable oils: corn, safflower, canola
• Trans-fats: margarine, Crisco
• Sugar, in general
• Junk food, fast food, fried food
• Nitrites: used in deli meats, sausages & bacon (unless you get the nitrite free from Rosas Farms)
• Saturated fats in commercial meats & dairy products (non-grass fed)
• Nightshades: potato, tomato, eggplant, peppers (doesn’t affect everyone)
• Smoking
• Obesity; and including merely overweight

Inflammation Cheat Sheet: CURES

• PALEO diet of meat, veggies, nuts & seeds, and some fruit !!!!
• Sardines (I highly recommend the Season Brand: skinless & boneless in pure olive oil; sold in Costco)
• Any cold water oily fish (salmon)
• Fish oil caps (Kirkland brand, sold in Costco; take 5-10g daily)
• Olive oil and walnut oil
• Berries
• Aspirin, Ibuprofen, & Naproxen (since these are drugs, I recommend that you use them sparingly; extended use of these drugs have been shown to cause stomach ulcers)
• Herbs: tumeric, ginger; just sprinkle some on your food.

Robert Selders Jr., MS, CSCS is a certified Garland personal trainer, fitness expert and founder of 3QFitness. He provides personal training and fitness consulting in the Garland, TX and surrounding area. Learn more how you can receive a FREE no obligations trial of his personal fitness programs.

Guest posts compliments of Shaping Concepts. Your trusted source for expert advice and recommendations on health, fitness, and weight loss topics. We offer a FREE no obligations trial with a certified Charleston personal trainer to experience the Shaping Concepts difference for yourself if you live in the Charleston, SC and surrounding areas.

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Category: Hormones & Health.