Gut Health Blog

February 18, 2024

Raynaud’s Awareness Month

February is Raynaud’s Awareness Month. Raynaud’s (pronounced Ray-nodes) disease is a painful circulatory problem that affects around 10 million people in the UK. Like many conditions that are linked to autoimmunity and inflammation, it affects more women than men, often appearing before age 30.

Raynaud’s Awareness Month aims to raise the visibility of this condition and help people access support and resources to manage symptoms.

The classic signs of a Raynaud’s attack are:

    • An extreme reaction to cold and changes in temperature that cause small blood vessels in the extremities (fingers, toes, ears, nose, lips, and even nipples), to constrict.
    • The affected areas turn blue, purple, or white, and feel cold and numb.
    • Pain or tingling which can get worse as the circulation returns.

Once an attack subsides and blood flow returns, the affected areas regain normal color and sensation.

Emotional stress is another common trigger for these attacks, while caffeine, alcohol, and certain medications can make symptoms worse.

What causes Raynaud’s?

There are two forms of Raynaud’s:

Primary Raynaud’s (often called Raynaud’s disease) is the less serious form, affecting the majority of sufferers.  Most people with this condition have no other problems associated with the disease and can manage their symptoms themselves.

Scientists are yet to uncover the cause of Primary Raynaud’s. Normally, when the body feels cold, it diverts blood from the extremities toward the heart and vital organs. With Raynaud’s, this response is heightened, making the blood vessels in the extremities contract faster and tighter than normal. The symptoms can also be triggered by emotional stress, which suggests a link with the “fight or flight” sympathetic nervous system response.

Secondary Raynaud’s (also known as Raynaud’s Syndrome or Phenomenon) is caused by another condition. This is usually scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis, or lupus – inflammatory conditions that affect connective tissue in the body. Other causes of Secondary Raynaud’s include smoking, repetitive vibration injury, and arterial diseases.

This secondary form requires regular careful monitoring by a healthcare professional in case there are complications such as skin ulcers or gangrene.

 

Is there a genetic link?

This question remained a mystery until a recent study (Hartmann et al, 2023) identified two genetic variants associated with Raynaud’s disease.

These are:

– The alpha-2A-adrenergic receptor for adrenaline (ADRA2A)

– The IRX1 gene.

Both of these genes influence blood vessel contraction, particularly in small blood vessels.

How these genetic variants become activated is the next part of the mystery to unravel but we already know that diet and lifestyle play a big role in genetic expression.

 

How to manage Raynaud’s Disease

There is no known cure for Raynaud’s and mainstream medical treatment options are limited. Most sufferers learn to cope with their attacks and avoid situations that may make their symptoms worse.

Practical tips include:

  • Wearing layers of warm clothing.
  • Drinking hot or warm drinks instead of cold.
  • Getting regular exercise.
  • Regular relaxation. This is vital for downregulating the “fight or flight” response and promoting inner calm. Deep relaxation places the body into the “rest, digest, heal, and repair” state which can help deal with the impact of any emotional triggers.

 

Can an anti-inflammatory diet help Raynaud’s?

An anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle like the Eat Burn Sleep (EBS) approach is a great option for managing symptoms – especially Secondary Raynaud’s caused by inflammatory conditions. Research consistently highlights the benefits of foods and nutrients in managing inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and autoimmune issues.

The Bupa Global-approved EBS program is safe, natural, and evidence-based. Health professionals all over the world use it with their patients every day.

The EBS lifestyle is a holistic approach to care, covering diet, lifestyle, mindset, movement, relaxation, and sleep support. We firmly believe all of these factors are needed to achieve optimum health.

When managing Raynaud’s for example, our recommended foods include warming herbs and spices like ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, nutmeg, and black pepper. They form a key part of the EBS Anti-Inflammatory Food Lists and recipes. These foods can benefit circulation and tackle the root causes of inflammation.

Our library of movement tutorials is suitable for all levels of ability and can easily fit into your day no matter how busy you are. Our meditation and mental wellness videos will help you relax and build resilience to everyday stresses that may trigger your Raynaud’s.

Find out why anti-inflammatory foods and stress management are so important in the EBS lifestyle with my podcast episodes:

Anti-inflammatory Lifestyle

Unstressable

The Mediterranean Diet

And you can also dive into these articles:

Signs of inflammation that may surprise you

How to reduce inflammation

 

If Raynaud’s is affecting your life, act now! Check out our membership options here and begin your journey to optimum health.

Wishing you well,

Yalda x

Yalda Alaoui

Author

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May 12, 2024

Signs of Inflammation
That May Surprise You

Hello Everyone,

I am often asked about the signs of inflammation and how to tell if it’s a problem. But honestly, chronic inflammation will express itself differently for each of us! This is because we have a unique genetic makeup that influences our health.

However, there are some common signs of inflammation to look out for, some of which will surprise you.

 

What are the signs of chronic inflammation?

Digestive System

 

Cognitive function

 

Joints, muscles, and skin

  • Skin rashes
  • Acne
  • Joint pains
  • Back pain
  • Muscle aches
  • Swollen ankles and fingers
  • Puffy legs
  • Mouth sores
  • Dark circles around your eyes
  • Puffy eyes
  • Dry eyes
  • Melasma

 

General Health

 

This is not an exhaustive list, but I hope it gives you an idea of how many different ways chronic inflammation can appear in your body.

Should I Be Tested For Inflammation?

In some cases, your doctor or healthcare practitioner may run blood or stool tests to check for inflammatory markers. The most commonly tested marker in your blood is CRP – C-Reactive protein. Elevated levels of CRP indicate acute inflammation in your system.

However, CRP levels do not give the whole picture and you can still have chronic inflammation even if your levels are within the normal range.

What Causes Chronic Inflammation?

It’s easy to get attached to the name of a disease and what medicines you can take to deal with it rather than thinking about the underlying cause. So many people get rid of their health issues on the Eat Burn Sleep program because it deals with the underlying cause.

When we talk about chronic inflammation we are looking at two main underlying causes: diet and lifestyle.

Yes, genetics play a role too. But even if you carry a genetic predisposition for an inflammatory condition, it is your diet and lifestyle that switches on those genes.

 

Diet, Lifestyle, and Chronic Inflammation

Diet is a major underlying cause of chronic inflammation because of the number of Ultra Processed Foods and Drinks (UPFDs) available now. These foods and drinks are high in refined sugars, industrially processed oils, artificial sweeteners, additives, and emulsifiers. They lack fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

They aren’t real food; they are the products of a chemistry lab! And we as humans are not designed to thrive on such things.

Lifestyle is the other major underlying cause. We have become reliant on smartphones and screens that disrupt our sleep. Millions of people are dealing with high levels of stress. And we move our bodies far less than we need to.

A sedentary lifestyle is strongly linked with chronic inflammation and is known to increase your risk of developing serious conditions like cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The same goes for stress too. Ongoing stress disturbs gut health, immunity, brain function, and cellular repair, opening the door to weight gain and chronic inflammation.

 

Eat Burn Sleep – The Power of an Anti-Inflammatory Lifestyle

Living a low-inflammation lifestyle protects you from disease and helps you recover from illness and surgery more efficiently.

The Eat Burn Sleep approach is more than just an anti-inflammatory diet. It is a complete 360-degree platform of inflammation-reducing tools.

The program includes:

  • Food plans
  • Recipes
  • Guided meditations
  • Movement videos
  • Health masterclasses, and more.

 

It is a program that works. We have countless testimonials from EBS members who have had an inflammatory condition, followed the program, and then returned to see their doctor who is astounded at the results.

Take Natasa, who saw incredible results after only 3 weeks on the program:

“Since joining the platform 3 weeks ago, I have lost 3kg, and my bloating is gone.

I have bilateral patellofemoral osteoarthritis (severe pain in both knees) and the pain is now much less. I feel like I can finally start doing movement videos that previously I couldn’t do because of my knee pain. Also, all your recipes are so tasty.

Thank you so much.”

I am passionate about helping people live healthier, happier lives, so you can imagine how it feels when testimonials like this come in!

How does the program work?

I always suggest that people start with the 6-week Reset. This is designed to optimize your gut microbiota and liver function. It takes just 42 days to feel incredible before you carry your anti-inflammatory lifestyle forward with all the tools that you need.

The program is all about moderation and enjoying life – not deprivation and restriction. It’s about damage limitation, not perfection! With the health education Eat Burn Sleep provides, people make better choices for themselves and their families – promoting healthier lives for all ages.

Want to find out more? Enjoy a sneak peek into the program and find out more about our membership options now.

You might also like:

How Does Sleep Help With Inflammation?

Heart Health: Do You Have a Heart-healthy Lifestyle?

Recovering From Cancer

With love,

Yalda x

 

Yalda Alaoui is a qualified Naturopathic Nutritionist (with a foundation in Biomedicine) who studied with the College of Naturopathic Medicine in London. She has spent over a decade performing groundbreaking research in chronic inflammation and gut health.

Yalda Alaoui

Author

Eat. Burn. Subscribe.

Join the Eat Burn Sleep email newsletter and be the first to hear about new tips, and recipes!

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