What is inflammation and how do you manage it naturally?
Inflammation is a natural process that helps your body heal and defend itself from harm. It is your body’s way of protecting itself from infection, illness or injury. However, if inflammation is chronic, it can become harmful and play a central role in some of the most challenging diseases of our time. These include rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, depression, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, asthma and even Alzheimer’s.
When the inflammatory process begins, your body increases its production of white blood cells, immune cells and substances called cytokines that help fight infection. Inflammation can sometimes be mistaken for infection, but the two are not the same. Infection can cause inflammation because infection is caused by harmful substances like bacteria or fungus. Inflammation is the body’s response to infection, so in this way inflammation is good. But not always.
There are two very different types of inflammation. Acute inflammation starts quickly and generally disappears in a few days. This often occurs because of an injury to the external body or skin. Symptoms of this may include:
Heat (the area may feel warm to the touch)
If there is acute inflammation inside the body, such as an internal organ, only some of these signs may be noticeable.
Chronic inflammation can last for months or years as a result of the failure to eliminate the cause. This type of inflammation can affect any organ. Symptoms of internal chronic inflammation may include:
Some of the most powerful tools to combat inflammation come not from the pharmacy, but from the grocery store. Studies have shown that by choosing the right anti-inflammatory foods, you might be able to reduce your risk of illness. If you choose the wrong foods you can actually accelerate the inflammatory disease process!
Foods that cause inflammation (try to avoid or limit these foods):
Sugar (including fructose, the sugar found in fruit)
Refined Carbohydrates (such as white bread, crackers, cereals and pastries)
Trans Fats (found in fried foods, processed snacks and fast foods)
Vegetable Oils (used in many processed foods)
Aspartame (and other artificial sweeteners)
Alcohol (excessive alcohol is a burden to the liver)
Additionally, an inactive lifestyle that includes a lot of sitting is a major non-dietary factor that can promote inflammation. Exercise can actually help to lower inflammation!
If you want to reduce inflammation, eat an anti-inflammatory diet that provides a balance of protein, carbs and fat at each meal. Eat organic foods whenever possible and include whole, nutrient-dense foods such as:
Protein (organic eggs, grass-fed meats, healthy cheeses, organic poultry, cultured/raw dairy)
Vegetables (such as spinach, kale, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and collards)
Nuts (almonds and walnuts)
Fatty Fish (salmon, mackerel, and sardines)
Fruits (strawberries, blueberries, cherries, oranges, red grapes and pineapple)
Beans and Legumes
Healthy Fats (coconut oil, avocado, flax seeds, hemp seeds)
Tea (green, Oolong, white)
Dark Chocolate (in moderation)
Coffee (in moderation)
Herbs and Spices (basil, chili peppers, cinnamon, garlic, ginger, turmeric, rosemary, thyme, curry powder)
One more thing – Get enough sleep! Researchers have found that a poor night’s sleep increases inflammation.
While there are many over-the-counter medications conventionally recommended for inflammation (Aleve, Motrin, Advil, Tylenol, aspirin), the best medication for treating this condition doesn’t come in a bottle. It is the food you eat every day.
There are also several supplements that you can take to alleviate the pain and inflammation:
Boswellia Complex from MediHerb - Boswellia Complex contains Boswellia, Celery Seed, Ginger and Turmeric. Boswellia Complex is great for joint pain.
Turmeric Forte from MediHerb - Turmeric Forte is a formulation of Turmeric rhizome and Fenugreek seed extracts. This supplement supports a healthy inflammation response, support healthy liver function.
Boswellia-Zyme Complex from Energetix - Helps support normal cartilage and joint function and maintains the body’s natural response to injury.
Reducing inflammation is beneficial not only for reducing the risk of chronic diseases, but also for improving your mood and overall quality of life.
At Nutritional Wellness Center we work to find out the root cause of inflammation through Nutrition Response Testing® and dietary changes. We are here to help you design a program for a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet.
If you are experiencing inflammation problems call us today. We can help!