Inflammation is both good and bad. When the body is invaded by foreign bacteria, viruses, chemicals, plant pollen, etc. or an injury occurs, white blood cells release specialized proteins into our blood and tissues to clean up debris, fight infection and heal damaged tissues. This raises our blood flow, and can cause redness, warmth and swelling.
Acute inflammation is short lived such as when we get a cut or abrasion, broken bone, etc. This type of inflammation is beneficial and necessary. However, when this acute inflammatory response fails to shut off and becomes chronic it wreaks havoc in our bodies.
Chronic inflammation can begin to break down healthy tissue and over time can prematurely age us, damage our DNA and keep us from feeling our best. Issues like allergies, asthma, arthritis, sinusitis, tendonitis, dermatitis, etc. can begin to surface.
Underlying every chronic disease condition is inflammation. It contributes to the onset of cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, asthma, arthritis, cognitive decline, dementia including Alzheimers, auto-immune disorders (when immune system activates inside the body when there are no invaders or injury thereby causing injury) such as celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, etc.
When dealing with chronic inflammation we can experience symptoms such as fatigue, body pain, depression, anxiety, gastro-intestinal complications (diaherrea/constipation), weight gain or loss, or persistent infections.
So what causes inflammation to become chronic? Smoking, obesity, alcohol, chronic stress, poor diet (refined carbohydrates, fried foods, sugary beverages, margarine, shortening, lard, red meat) and lack of exercise (lifestyle).
What can we do to help our body reduce this cycle?
Exercise. Get up and walk, stretch and ‘just move’ your body.
Eat a Mediterranean diet. (For a list of foods to incorporate this type of diet into your lifestyle email email@example.com with Med Diet List in the Subject line.)
Decrease stress. None of us can escape stress but we can learn to recognize and control it. Deep breathing exercises can stop the stress response and calm us down and this can be done anywhere at any time.
Turn off the TV! Listen to your favorite music, sit outside, read a good book, spend time with friends.
Consume a high quality supplement containing anti-inflammatory ingredients in their correct forms and amounts (fish oil, lipoid acid, curcumin, ginger, garlic, cayenne, certain mushrooms, etc.).
Avoid processed foods. If it has an ingredient list it has been processed. When purchasing these foods look for the package with the least ingredients and avoid colorings, harmful preservatives such as BHS and BHT, etc.
Be aware of what you put on your skin. ewg.org is a great resource to look up ingredients and how they are rated (toxicity level).
Here’s to Your Health!