I was so frustrated with not knowing the answers. What causes depression? What causes anxiety? What is a contributor to ADHD, Autism and a host of other issues? Why did I often feel like I was mentally underwater? There is a major thief in the darkness stealing the happiness from so many lives. Its name is Inflammation. This is not the only contributor though. Inflammation goes hand in hand with leaky gut syndrome (also known as intestinal hyperpermeability). These two together cause an unending ripple effect when it comes to our health.
Leaky gut syndrome is a major cause of inflammation because it lets xenobiotics (let’s just call them “alien particles”) through your intestinal wall into your bloodstream alongside with the nutrients your body needs. Now, when these alien particles from your diet and lifestyle are able to enter the blood steam, the body is then having to fight to remove them. This causes all sorts of issues through the inflammation that occurs.
Leaky gut is like having enemies break into your castle. Now you are having to find and fight them on the inside, instead of just concentrating on keeping them at bay beyond the walls. So, what opens the gates to these alien particles? To put it simply, the SAD (Standard American) Diet. Our food is full of trans fats, corn and soybean oils, sugar, sugar substitutes, gluten, over processed foods (like flour and pasteurized milk), dangerous food colors, conventional meat, fake flavors, an overabundance of preservatives, and that is just the short list. Our food intake portions is drastically out of whack with what our body actually needs. (I could get into politics here, but let’s stick to improving our brains, not casting blame.)
So, what are the other things that cause inflammation besides the food that we eat? There are many things, but some are more toxic than others. These things permeate our bodies through the skin/organs and the respiratory system. I hope to do a more thorough overview of each of these in the future, and give more healthy alternatives, but here are just a few. Chemicals in: laundry detergent, makeup, soaps, hair coloring, deoderant, nail polish, lotions, sunscreen, toothpaste, chlorine, mercury in tooth fillings, the chemicals released in the air by conventional candles and air fresheners.
Toxins surround us. Our modern lifestyle is convenient, but has more chemicals and additives than ever before. What are some first steps that you can implement to start the journey on healing your gut and your brain?
- Eat more organic vegetables
- Choose gluten free bread products to substitute for the traditional wheat ones
- Use good oils and fats (olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, Irish grass-fed butter)
- Look at ingredients! If you can make it (like using oil with salt and pepper for salad dressing) do it!
- Look for products without parabens (which permeate the body and buildup to cause cancer)
- The less ingredients the better. If you can’t pronounce it, it probably isn’t good for you
- Research your body and skin care products.
- Investigate natural beauty options like henna for hair dyeing (I hope to have an article up soon of all the ins and outs of it)
What are some easy ways to reduce inflammation? Eat foods that are high in antioxidants and omega-3 such as
- Wild blueberries and raspberries
- Herbs such as Tumeric, Rosemary, Ginger, Basil and Garlic
- Acai fruit
- Take a cold shower
- Smell frankincense essential oil (which also crosses the brain-barrier)
- Dark leafy greens (such as kale spinach)
- Dark chocolate
- Take supplements like fish oil, selenium, and vitamins C and E
- Get some sun (the most effective way for the body to absorb vitamin D)
- Drink Water!
As I said before, I hope to break down a lot of these soon, as well as have a easy-to-go-to list of some of my favorite natural products. Ready to eliminate these invaders? Let’s go!
(Some of you may be wondering why do I not recommend taking medications like Ibuprofen to help with the inflammation? As a very brief overview, Ibuprofen belongs to a class of drugs called NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) which are very available as over-the counter remedies. However, They have many nasty dangers and side-effects.
Research in England has shown that they increase your risk of heart failure, damage to the gastrointestinal tract including ulcers and internal bleeding, higher risk of kidney failure, and children taking aspirin during the chickenpox of flu have been more likely to develop Reye’s syndrome. Not to mention there are some people who are severely allergic to them.
Other side effects include constipation, decreased appetite, diarrhea, dizziness, drowsiness, headache, heartburn, high blood pressure, leg swelling, liver problems, nausea, rash, ringing in the ears, stomach pain and vomiting.
For all of the above reasons I do not recommend taking these drugs unless absolutely necessary, and to try to deal with inflammation on a more consistent basis with organic, natural methods.)