When something harmful or irritating affects a part of our body, there is a biological response to try to remove it, the signs and symptoms of inflammation show that the body is trying to heal itself. By removing the irritants, harmful stimuli, damaged cells or pathogens, we can avoid or prevent inflammation.
There are certain triggers in the environment, as well as daily habits and dietary choices that sabotage our wellbeing, creating or worsening inflammation within the body. Often, these bad habits are reflected in the skin. Our skin is our largest organ, and serves as a useful indicator of internal imbalance. Indications of imbalance could show up in the skin as dark spots, acne, discolouration, sores, excessive dryness or excessive oil production, unusually bad odours, red blotchy areas, puffiness, swelling or dark, prominent circles under the eyes.
Depending on each individual person, these issues could mean one thing, a combination of things or simply an unfortunate genetic trait. In any case, one should never self-diagnose or research online to gain a diagnosis. If you, or someone you know is suffering with a persistent skin condition, you should visit your GP or dermatologist for a full check-up and assessment. From experience, I’ve found that mentioning any abnormality whether you think it’s related to your more obvious symptoms or not, should be disclosed. Being transparent and detailed, could mean the difference between an accurate diagnosis or failed attempt at treatment.
Where the mainstream professionals do fall short, is the after care and lifestyle advice. That’s where I find the holistic community really proves it’s worth. The pharmaceutical pills and creams, ointments and syrups are just as vital to curing a sickness, as a healthy lifestyle is to preventing the sickness in the first place. Here’s the basics:
Reducing Inflammation Nº1
The usual suspects: alcohol, smoking and stress
We all know that it’s bad to drink, smoke, and get stressed out. Our doctors have been telling us, our health gurus have been telling us, every health article on the planet manages to slip it in, and the governments make PSA’s every chance they get. These are the textbook 101 triggers that cause inflammation within the body. That’s not saying you can’t enjoy a glass of wine, a sneaky cocktail or a couple of beers on occasion, just know that cutting back can only do good. If you are suffering from any type of illness or disease, consuming alcohol is only going to aggravate the problem. Don’t even get me started on smoking.
The same goes for stress, it amplifies any pre-existing conditions you may have, or may be prone to. The symptoms related with stress are often overlooked as a direct link, making treatment that much trickier. Studies tell us that between 80-90% of disease in adults in the western world is caused, or worsened, primarily due to stress.
Reducing Inflammation Nº2
Another popular enemy of the health sector, and for good reason. Particularly due to the high artificial chemical content, but also because of the high calorie content in relation to the nutritious profile, along with low fibre, high sugar, high fat and salt – and of course, the refined carbohydrates.
Here’s the thing, if the majority of your diet is made up of plant-based foods, then you don’t need to be worried. Enjoying processed foods on occasion really won’t do you any harm if 80-90% of the time you’re eating healthy, wholesome meals. Here at The School of Natural Health Sciences we’re really into plant-based protein and sharing our favourite nutrient-dense recipes. Check out some of our recently discovered recipe’s in our dedicated blog: “Plant protein recipes with 0% meat and 100% goodness”
Reducing Inflammation Nº3
Trans fats are formed when oil goes through a process called hydrogenation, which makes the oil more solid. This type of fat, known as hydrogenated fat, can be used for frying or as an ingredient in processed foods. Basically, we’re back to avoiding processed food, but also a lot of fried foods. Neither is gut-friendly, heart-friendly or skin-friendly. Look out for “partially hydrogenated vegetable oils/fats” on the ingredients list and opt for grilled or oven-baked instead of deep fried or pan fried.
Reducing Inflammation Nº4
Lack of sleep
Living with a sleep debt is the reality for most people in modern society unfortunately. Late nights coupled with early mornings and caffeine-induced workflows basically keep us trapped in a vicious cycle. Quality sleep is just as vital as healthy eating, regular exercise and proper hygiene. It’s one of the major pillars of wellbeing, without which the whole structure starts to crumble. When we don’t get enough quality sleep, the immune system becomes compromised and the inflammatory response increases.
Reducing Inflammation Nº5
If you live, study, or work in a polluted area, there’s not much you can do if moving isn’t an option. Don’t stress out about it though, just make smart decisions like a) not exercising alongside a busy road, b) taking regular breaks from the hustle and bustle to enjoy nature and inhale deeply, c) make sure your pillars of health are strong, and d) make a long-term plan that allows you to spend most of your time away from highly polluted areas.
More on healthy skin:
If you clicked on this blog because you’re dealing with troublesome skin, you might be interested in our other skin-dedicated health posts such as:
And if you’re living with cold weather, see how you can improve your skincare routine with our “3 keys to winterizing your facial skincare routine“
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