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What is Inflammation?

nutrition tips Sep 19, 2017

Is inflammation good? Or is it bad? Do we want inflammation? Would you believe me if I told you inflammation is supposed to be a good thing? Inflammation is actually the body’s response to stress, injury, or illness.

It helps the body heal and defend itself against harm.  Think about a cut/scrape, sprained ankle, or bee sting.  Often there may be redness and swelling associated with the injury. This extra blood the body sends there contains many helpful cells that work to fight infections and heal. After injury is healed, the body goes back to normal.  This would be an example of acute or short-term inflammation.

Inflammation becomes dangerous when it is chronic, or long-term inflammation, which can often be somewhat silent. Chronic inflammation is associated with or can lead to heart disease, leaky gut, diabetes, arthritis, cancer and a number of other diseases and conditions.

Lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise play a HUGE role in inflammation.

When it comes to diet, research has proven certain foods to either pro-inflammatory (promote inflammation) or are anti-inflammatory (decrease inflammation). 

Some foods that tend to promote inflammation in most people include:

  • Most vegetables oils such as canola oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil, soy bean oil, sunflower oil, etc.
  • Fried foods
  • Processed foods
  • Sugar & artificial sweeteners
  • Processed meats
  • Trans fat
  • Alcohol
  • Dairy
  • Gluten
  • Artificial color and dyes.

Some common anti-inflammatory foods include:

  • Non-starchy vegetables
  • Avocados
  • Olive oil
  • Bone broth
  • Berries
  • Dark chocolate
  • Turmeric
  • Omega 3s fatty acids (found in wild caught fatty fish, some nuts & seeds)

The kicker is that pro-inflammatory foods are not one size fits all.  One food may cause inflammation for one person, but it may have no effect on someone else.  How do you know if a particular food may be causing inflammation? There are many signs and symptoms that can occur in the body, especially the gut, that can result from particular foods in your diet. These symptoms may include sore joints, headaches, skin breakouts, rashes, migraines, weight gain, bloating, stomach discomfort, leaky gut, runny nose, itchy eyes, allergies, tiredness, etc.

 Hippocrates said it best, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

If we include anti-inflammatory foods in our diets on a consistent & regular basis, we can begin to heal the body from the inside out, and it’s likely many symptoms will subside without the help of standard medication. Of course, there are many medications, creams, and injections that can be appropriate in certain instances. Medicine definitely has its place, but it’s best to control what we can control by nourishing our body with nutrient dense, whole, unprocessed foods that reduce chronic inflammation and nourish the body.

 

 

 

Authority, N. (n.d.). Anti-Inflammatory Diet 101 - Fight Inflammation Naturally. Retrieved September 11, 2107, from http://www.healthline.com/nutrition/anti-inflammatory-diet-101#section2

Reference, W. (2016, February). What Is Inflammation. Retrieved September 10, 2016, from http://www.webmd.com/arthritis/about-inflammation#1

 

 

 

 

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