If there is one thing we are learning more and more about, it is that everything can be related back to inflammation and what we put inside our bodies. Point blank. The food you consume affects your genetics and your inflammatory response in the body. Headaches, achy joints, and overall fatigue have been directly linked to inflammation.
Inflammation was once thought to just be something that occurs when the body has an infection or we hurt ourselves as the body’s natural response. That fact is still true to this day. However, we now know more. Now, we are able to recognize inflammation occurring inside our organs and down to the cellular level.
Just as you roll your ankle and it becomes inflamed, if you eat the wrong foods your gut becomes inflamed. This can then be traced back to leaky gut and in some cases, autoimmune diseases.
So what can we do about it? What is actually happening in our bodies?
The human body is an amazing machine that we are still finding more about each and every day. Let’s first take a look at where this inflammation is coming from. Inflammation can enter the gut barrier as a toxin, protein, pathogen, LPS, or alcohol.
If our body is continuously exposed to these triggers, it can result in our immune system becoming dysregulated. Now that our body has these triggers, things like allergies, asthma, autoimmunity, and poor immune tolerance and regulation become our bodies new regular.
These triggers then signal something called cytokines. Cytokines are tiny and dance around inside of the cell. These cytokines increase NF-kB activity.
NF-kB is then used to transcribe DNA and express an inflammatory state!
Now, our bodies are promoting inflammation, all because we let the toxins in. What we put into our mouth and our bodies matter. The foods we eat have the ability to provide nutrients to our cells, rather than facilitating in this ongoing inflammatory response chain.
How Do I Regain Control?
Nrf2 is a key protein in the body that has the function of regulating the genome. This helps the body balance gene expressions and the regulation of our genes. Another thing Nrf2 does is upregulate genes that encode antioxidant enzymes and antiinflammatory genes.
Essentially, Nrf2 helps to fight off inflammation and reduce oxidative stress. Nrf2 activity is part of the detoxification system our bodies naturally have. It helps us to not get sick from every single bacteria we come into contact with. However, Nrf2 is a pathway, not a supplement. So now the question becomes, How do we active Nrf2?
From The Kitchen to The Genes
As mentioned earlier, everything can be traced back to the kitchen and what we put into our mouth to nourish our body. A great way to ensure you are feeding your body what it needs is to make a smoothie in the morning. Smoothies can contain so many nutrient-dense foods to aid in Nfr2 activation.
First, start off with flaxseed in the blender. Blend it up so the flax seeds get broken up and open. Next, add in blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, acai berry powder, broccoli sprouts, and almond milk!
By providing your body and your cells with the nourishment they need, they will flourish. In addition to a smoothie, there are supplements that can aid in Nrf2 activation as well. These supplements include curcumin, fish oil, wormwood, and CoQ10.
It’s clear that the “American Diet” has been causing problems for us. The world is so busy and fast-paced that we are not taking the time or giving our bodies the consideration to shop and make nutritious home-cooked meals. We need to increase our vegetables, fruits, fibers, whole grains and decrease the carbs. Everyone has some degree of inflammation in their body, and many of us do not even realize it! I challenge us to give up fast food for an entire month, cut the soda, increase the lemon water and eat at least one salad a day during this month. By increasing our vegetables and creating plates that are more colorful, our bodies will thank us! – Kenna Vaughn, Senior Health Coach
Gordon, Jacob. “Recipes for NRF2 – MyBioHack: Unlock Your Maximum Potential.” MyBioHack, MyBioHack | Unlock Your Maximum Potential, 7 Nov. 2017, mybiohack.com/blog/recipes-for-nrf2.
Gordon, Jacob. “Why NRF2 Activation Can Make You More Sick – MyBioHack: Unlock Your Maximum Potential.” MyBioHack, MyBioHack | Unlock Your Maximum Potential, 2 Feb. 2020, mybiohack.com/blog/nrf2-cirs-sensitivities.
Lawrence, T. “The Nuclear Factor NF- B Pathway in Inflammation.” Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Biology, vol. 1, no. 6, 2009, doi:10.1101/cshperspect.a001651.
Ma, Qiang. “Role of Nrf2 in Oxidative Stress and Toxicity.” Annual Review of Pharmacology and Toxicology, vol. 53, no. 1, 2013, pp. 401–426., doi:10.1146/annurev-pharmtox-011112-140320.
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