OOD S WINGS, PAN TS that no longer button, pain, embarrassing digestive woes and spaciness are common but
not normal. This is your body’s way of telling you that
something is up. While it may seem like a minor disturbance, a chronic
symptom may indicate more serious trouble to come.
As a local integrative health coach and author, I’ve helped many
clients discover that the problems indicated by these warning signs are
reversible. Though the symptoms are varied, the root cause of issues like
these is often the same: inflammation. And while many of life’s strains
cause inflammation — toxins, environmental pollution, hormone imbalances, viruses, and certain medications such as antibiotics and NSAIDs,
t wo of the biggest offenders are food and mood. What we eat (and drink)
and how we think and feel affects us every day, impacting our well-being. Since the 1980s, when I wrote nutrition articles for Self magazine,
unfortunate food fads have teased us, such as the grapefruit and cookie
diets or the explosion in the popularity of processed low-fat, high-sugar
convenience and fast foods that many of us grew up on.
The latter trend, still going strong, has caused soaring rates of
inflammation-related conditions, from irritable bowel syndrome and
food intolerances to cancer. Meanwhile, as mind-body research has also
Marin’s health trailblazers discuss the mind’s power to prevent disease.
BY NAN FOSTER • ILLUSTRATIONS BY STEPHANIE DALTON COWAN
uncovered triggers of inflammation in our emotions, we now understand several steps that can reverse chronic symptoms and prevent
disease. I’ve asked four nationally recognized health specialists and
authors from Marin to join me in this two-part series as we describe
up-to-date health strategies you can use to feel your best. This month
we tackle mood; next month, food.
WHAT IS INFLAMMATION?
Inflammation is a normal immune-system response to protect the body
against harmful bacteria, viruses and other foreign invaders and repair
damaged tissue. But when we introduce toxins over time — whether
environmental or emotional — the immune system can become overactive, triggering a perilous chronic state of inflammation. Recent studies
have discovered the intimate relationship between the microbiome —
the 100 trillion microbes that live in our gut — and our immune system
cells, 80 percent of which share digestive real estate with the microbiome. Many complications stemming from inflammation, therefore,
begin with imbalances in our microbiome. Further, our lifestyle choices
also influence our inherited genes, determining whether or not our
immune system will be activated and whether diseases will develop.
Nat ural ly
PART 1 OF 2