Sakara Glossary is your go-to place to learn the foundation of optimal health and wellness. Here, ee give you the 411 on the minerals, vitamins, and concepts that are integral to a healthier, more conscious, sexier life.
Inflammation, noun, (in-flah-may-shun): condition in which a part of your body becomes red, swollen, and painful
Origin: the latin word “inflammare” meaning “to set on fire with passion.” Sounds romantic, no?
Typically, we use the glossary space to spark insatiable curiosity and awareness for an ancient superfood or trending adaptogen; today, however, we’re demystifying inflammation, a buzzword shouted from the tips of all the wellness-lovin’ rooftops.
But what does it mean for us, in our bodies, and why do we need to take inflammation so seriously?
We all walk a fine line in these intuitive machines that are our bodies. Each system regulates hormones, fluids, physiological responses, enzymatic reactions and more, thousands upon thousands of times a day. Our bodies aren’t cooks, they’re bakers; meaning, they use precision and science to time and measure everything out. Nothing is “thrown together”, in fact, every breath we take has so much intention, we couldn’t possibly fathom. So inside of you and me, it is possible to have not enough of a good thing or too much of a bad one. Inflammation is a prime example of a necessary immune response, only designed to occur intermittently and on rare occasion.
When we feel pain, bump into a desk corner (been there!) or enjoy long bouts of cardio, our body attempts to heal itself by puffing its chest in the form of proteins called cytokines, which go straight to the source of the action. Next, your arteries dilate, blood flow increases and hormones alongside your white blood cells work to heal the damaged tissue. A fever or pain is also accompanied to indicate the healing process. If you’ve got a scrape or bruise, these reactions subside after a few days and your body is on to the next. This is known as acute inflammation, and without it, we would be more delicate than Nori paper.
Habitual wear and tear from environmental pollution (hello, NYC!), poor diet, stress, lack of movement, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and stress (mentioned it twice because IT MATTERS) creates an atmosphere primed for chronic inflammation. This means your white blood cells turn on their sirens to begin the healing process even in the case of a non-emergency, but with nowhere to go and nothing to do, they eventually start to attack the organs, or necessary tissues and cells. If you’re bod’s always on the defensive, you can risk being subject to myriad of health problems including diabetes, autoimmune disorders, arthritis, cancer, allergies, asthma, Crohn’s disease, PCOS, and depression. We need to return back to Mama nature and rediscover the healing powers of food and herbs and healing our minds and spirits in order to combat this health hazard. No worries — we’ve got an abundance of tricks up our sleeve (start here, here or here.)
Each day, declaring your body as a sanctuary and making intentional steps to de-flame your system will not only stave off chronic disease, but will gift you zero bloat, clear skin and enviable amounts of energy.
What are the most inflaming foods to avoid (always)? Anything and everything fried (think: french fries, Chinese take out, potato chips, etc...), gluten, dairy, meat + eggs, refined cooking oils (think: sunflower oil, safflower oil, canola oil, almond oil), boxed goods (aka, bads) with preservatives and additives, and partially-hydrogenated peanut butter (think: Skippy).
What to do for a far less-inflamed day?
Morning: Begin the day with an inflammation-fighting tonic, and give your empty-stomach, inflaming coffee ritual a break. Blend together 1/2 a teaspoon of turmeric with 1 teaspoon of Prash, 2 teaspoons of tocos, 1 teaspoon of ashwagadha, a pinch of black peppercorn (to activate the turmeric), medium-chain-triglyceride-rich organic coconut butter, and 1 cup of just-before-boiling water. Add a squeeze of stevia if desired!
Noon: Pair your lunch with a cup of steeped cinnamon rose tea, or dress a salad with anti-inflammatory foods like cilantro, spinach, strawberries, pomegranates, cucumber and soaked + sprouted walnuts. Also, coconut water!
Night: In the evening, cool your body down with a Sakara night water, paired with a 20 minute session of no technology, and y-o-u time. Whether that means reading a juicy novel, sitting in silence, focusing on your breath, or journaling, take yourself out of the chaos of the day and instill a sense of calm before heading into dreamland.
And all along: Drink lots and lots of water! Bonus points if your water contains trace minerals, joints and tissues-loving silica, and super duper de-flaming rose oil.