Feeling Down? Inflammation May Be the Culprit
By Sandy Schroeder
We know how much damage inflammation can do to the body when it raises the risk of diseases such as cancer or diabetes, but it may be a surprise to learn inflammation depresses us too. If you know you have inflammation issues, you may find your mood and motivation slowing way down.
What's Really Happening
Researchers have found chronic low-grade inflammation weakens "feel good" dopamine brain chemicals. Emory University researchers tell us we may feel flattened when ongoing low-grade inflammation lowers our dopamine levels.
How It Works
Most of us expect a dopamine lift when we are out there walking or running, but inflammation may throw everything in reverse to bring us down. If you are injured or ill, inflammation sends out inflammatory cytokines that lower motivation levels and slow the body down. Then the less you move the worse you may feel, according to WellAndGood.
This insidious circle has become more common as low-grade inflammation ties in with more junk food, environmental toxins, and nonstop demands at home and at work.
The end result may leave us feeling down much of the time, but there are ways to turn things around. For starters, find out where you stand with inflammation.
Evaluate Your Inflammation
Do an assessment to see where you stand with these symptoms.
- Persistent insomnia and fatigue
- Body pain
- Gastrointestinal discomfort, including acid reflux
- Anxiety, depression or mood swings
- Frequent infections
- Weight gain
You can also check with your doctor to test inflammation levels if the symptoms warrant it. The next step is to reduce inflammation with healthy upgrades.
Eat fresh and healthy - Eliminate sodas, fat-loaded chips, fries, hot dogs, salami and sausage. Avoid fructose corn syrup in sodas and sugar overdoses in pastries, and cookies. Shop farmers markets for your favorite fruits and vegetables, and eat lots of nuts, seeds, fish, poultry, and Greek yogurt.
Put exercise to work - Researchers tell us regular workouts, walking, running and stretching can lower the amount of inflammatory molecules in the body. Make room in your schedule for 30 minutes of daily exercise such as walking and add strength exercises a couple times a week.
Stay trim - Researchers say ongoing extra weight creates higher inflammation levels. With exercise and a healthy diet, you can get a grip on inflammation. If you have trouble losing weight, see your doctor to see if there are any other conditions creating problems.
Reduce antacids, NSAIDs and antibiotics - When these medications are used too often they can weaken the intestinal wall allowing leakage into the bloodstream and causing inflammation throughout the body.
Keep working on inflammation and enjoy the lift in spirits and the spike in energy.
To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Spring, Tex.