WHAT ACTUALLY INFLAMMATION IS?
Inflammation is the body’s natural defence mechanism to protect and heal injured and damaged areas. It is part of the immune system response. It can be triggered by pathogens, damaged cells and toxins.
While acute inflammation is an essential and safe response, chronic inflammation will eventually cause diseases such as arthritis, inflammatory bowel disorders, allergies, asthma, and cardiovascular problems.
The repair happens through the recruitment of leukocytes (a type of white blood cells) to the damaged area.
There are numerous inflammatory pathways involved in the repair process that can be manipulated with foods and supplementation.
Signs to look out for:
- Redness due to the enlarged blood vessels
- Heat due to the increased blood flow
- Swelling due to the immune cells repairing the damaged area
- Pain due to enzyme release and increased tissue pressure
- Loss of function at the affected tissue
You may not experience all five signs! Some may occur silently causing no symptoms at all!
WHAT CAUSES INFLAMMATION?
Some but not all….
- Microbial infections including viruses, bacteria and parasites by way of releasing toxins
- Excessive immune reactions such as food sensitivities and allergies
- Chemicals and irritants
- Estrogen dominance
- Excessive exercising
- Lack of oxygen due to inadequate blood flow
- Sugar promotes free fatty acids production in the liver triggering inflammation. In addition, sugar wraps around protein structures causing irreversible damage so it needs to leave the blood quickly. That is why good insulin sensitivity is so important as without insulin sugar isn’t taken up by the cells. Why is it so important the protein structures in the body remain whole? Because excluding water and fat, the human body is almost entirely made up of protein.
Why is CHRONIC INFLAMMATION dangerous?
The swelling of the damaged areas and the accumulation of immune cells, together, promote the build-up of plague. The formation of plague results in a further alert to the immune system hence more immune cells is arriving at the damaged site. The vicious cycle of these activities result in a body that is chronically on a high alert and so this is how uncontrolled acute inflammation goes on for weeks, months, or years, and in some cases for a lifetime, turning into chronic inflammation. After some time, organ failure may occur while the inflammation becomes systemic.
MY TIPS TO CONTROL INFLAMMATION:
I don’t like to use the word diet so let me just say that the Mediterranean way of living is a great start for combating inflammation.
- High in veggies, fruits, legumes, olive oil, and nuts;
- Moderate intake of fatty fish, red wine, eggs, and poultry;
- Low intake of red meat and processed foods.
My utmost favourite additions are turmeric and ginger. Turmeric can be used in scrambled eggs, soups, stews, curries, roasted veggies, and rice. I personally always juice my ginger but it is also great as a tea or in cooking curries or baking muffins.
Optimising Omega 3/6 ratios is also crucial as the Western diet favours high intake of Omega 6 fatty acids which are pro-inflammatory in nature while Omega 3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory. There are fantastic tests are available to check for this.
Lastly, but not least, Antioxidant Support is a must!
Where there is inflammation there is always oxidative stress and vice versa. For the eager ones, oxidative stress means there is an imbalance between antioxidant availability and reactive oxygen species (a by-product of normal cellular metabolism).
The main antioxidants are Vitamin C and E, selenium, beta-carotene, flavonoids, and green tea. Antioxidants work in synergy, therefore, it is best to consume some from all of them. We call this Eating The Rainbow. The more colours you consume a day is the better as each colour provides a different benefit.
Chronic inflammation always begins in the gut and becomes systemic over time.
It is a driving factor in many diseases so why not control it to live a vibrant and healthy life:) In my view, keeping inflammation at bay is the answer for every disease there is.
Wishing you a Vibrant Health,