What is Inflammation?
The word inflammation comes from the Latin “inflammo”, meaning “I set alight, I ignite”.
Inflammation is an essential part of the body’s attempt to protect and heal itself.
The primary signs of inflammation include: Pain, Heat, Swelling, Redness and Loss of Function.
What can cause Inflammation in the Body?
Stress and persistent chronic stress can contribute to inflammation in the body, whether your body’s response to stress, is from your Diet, Lifestyle or Environment.
Stress is our body’s way of responding to any kind of demand or threat. Unmanaged stress can cause an increased risk of inflammation and Disease.
To read more on how to manage Stress
Inflammation is part of the body’s immune response. *It’s the defense mechanism of body tissue reacting to kick start the healing process*.
Think of what happens when you catch a cold. You may experience inflammation in the form of a fever as your body heats up to eliminate the effects of the invading virus. When we hurt or injure ourselves, the pain and swelling as a result of this injury, keeps us from using the injured part and serves to protect it from further injury.
It is part of the complex biological response of body tissues to harmful stimuli, such as pathogens, damaged cells, or irritants.
*The function of inflammation is to eliminate the initial cause of cell injury, the tissues damaged and to initiate tissue repair*.
There are 2 types of Inflammation:
- Acute inflammation– starts rapidly (rapid onset) and quickly becomes severe. Signs and symptoms are only present for a few days, but in some cases may persist for a few weeks.
Examples: Sore Throat from a Cold or Flu, Skin Blister, Appendicitis, Gastric Ulcer, Injury to body or a Scratch/Cut to the skin.
- Chronic inflammation– this means long-term inflammation, which can last for several months and even years.
Diseases associated with Chronic Inflammation: Arthritis, Heart Disease, Asthma, Allergies, Crohn’s Disease, Diabetes, Cancer, Neurological and Autoimmune Diseases etc.
How the body’s inflammatory response works:
The damaged cells release chemicals including histamine, bradykinin, and prostaglandins. These chemicals cause blood vessels to leak fluid into the tissues, causing swelling. This response consists of changes in blood flow and white blood cells (leukocytes) from the circulation to the site of tissue damage. The hormones called prostaglandins create blood clots to try to heal the damaged tissue and remove them when healing is finished; they also trigger pain and fever as part of the healing process.
The cycle of inflammation is perfect in how it protects your body from these bacterial and viral invaders.
However, if we chronically expose the body to injury by toxins or foods the human body was never designed to process, a condition called chronic inflammation can occur.
*Chronic inflammation is just as harmful as Acute Inflammation is Beneficial*.
Some causes of Chronic Inflammation:
Our lifestyle and environmental factors affect us, such as poor diet, excess weight, lack of exercise, stress, smoking, pollution and excessive alcohol consumption can also lead to chronic inflammation.
Our diet has a huge effect on how healthy we are. A diet that is overloaded with highly processed carbohydrates (sugar, flour and all the products made from them) and the excess consumption of trans fats that are found in many processed foods are contributing to chronic inflammation in the body.
When we consume simple carbohydrates such as sugar, our blood sugar rises rapidly. In response, your pancreas secretes insulin; a hormone that prompts cells to absorb blood sugar for energy or storage. If the cell is full and does not need glucose, the full cells reject the extra glucose, blood sugar rises producing more insulin and the glucose converts to stored fat.
What does all this have to do with inflammation?
Blood sugar is controlled in a very narrow range. If extra sugar molecules attach to a variety of proteins they can in turn injure the blood vessel walls. This repeated injury to the blood vessel walls can set off inflammation.
How our diet can help control and reduce inflammation in the Body:
Our diet is extremely important to the health of our bodies. Try to eliminate sugar and to balance all of your nutrients in a way that supports your health and vitality. Exclude inflammatory foods and introduce anti-inflammatory foods, as this will benefit you overall.
Adding certain foods, herbs and spices like Fish, Ginger and Turmeric etc., has amazing natural anti-inflammatory benefits.
Foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acids are especially helpful for joints, skin, hormones etc.
Some Foods to avoid or have in very small quantities:
- Sugar and Artificial Sweeteners (including sweets, biscuits, cakes, cererals etc.)
- Processed Foods
- Vegetable Oil
- Refined Flour (White Bread, White Rice, White Pasta- have brown instead)
- Fried Foods
- Processed Meats
- Red Meat
- Soda/Fizzy Drinks
Some Foods, Herbs Spices to Eat to help fight Inflammation:
- Fish e.g Salmon, Herring, Tuna and Mackerel as rich in Omega 3’s
- Leafy Green Vegetables e.g. Broccoli, Brussels Sprout, Kale, Spinach, Cauliflower etc.
- Nuts e.g. Walnuts. Almonds, Cashew etc.
- Whole Grains e.g. Brown Rice, Quinoa etc
- Coconut Oil
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Blueberries (and other berries)
- Flaxseeds and Chia Seeds
- Bone Broth
- Apple Cider Vinegar
Herbs & Spices ( you can add to your meals )
- Cayenne Pepper
- Black Pepper
- Cinnamon (Helps balance Blood Sugar Levels)
- Cumin etc.
Tips you can also do daily to help reduce Inflammation:
- Ginger: Adding Ginger to your daily routine can really help, as it is a natural anti-inflammatory. It calms any inflammation and aids digestion.
*Cut up roughly 1 inch of fresh Ginger root and put it in a glass. Add some boiling water. Leave for a few minutes for the Ginger to absorb into the water. Then drink it, making sure the water is still warm! (Warm water has more benefits and helps aid digestion). Have this every morning or before a meal, as works best on a empty stomach*.
*You can also add some fresh lemon to the ginger water, for taste and it also helps to detox the body*
- Kefir: is full of probiotics, which are live bacteria. Consuming Kefir increases the amount of good bacteria in the gut, which not only helps to digest food but also has many therapeutic benefits.
*Learn more about Kefir*
By making some simple changes to your diet, lifestyle and environment you can really help eliminate any inflammation in your body.
Although it’s not always easy to make the right daily choices and we all deserve a treat once in a while, making simple changes and for them then, to become common practice in your daily routine, will certainly help make it easier.
Hope you enjoyed reading this Article.