Inflammation – Should we worry?
Health advocates are always referring to inflammation, but in actual fact what are they really talking about?
Inflammation is basically a natural process of the body, the body’s chemical messengers encourage a process or an immune response.
But the kind we hear about in the new-age health context is not merely like a broken ankle or a cut; it is the chronic, pervasive low-level of inflammation.
Studies indicate that inflammation affects almost everything from from hip fractures, acid reflux and neuro-degenerative diseases. Many diseases that plague society like arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, inflammatory bowel disease and asthma are tied to one common denominator: Inflammation
Prominent wellness community voices believe inflammation is the root of many diseases. Our current age of environmental pollutants, obesity and high stress levels is a calling for us to do away with some inflammation myths.
Fast Facts on Inflammation
- Inflammation is a self-protection mechanism, an immune response of the body to alleviate harmful stimuli and begin the healing process. Our wounds, infections and tissue damages heal with inflammation. But when this process gets out of control, for instance in a case of rheumatoid arthritis, it damages the body. It plays a role in disorders like obesity, cancer and heart disease.
- The initial stage of inflammation is termed irritation, it then turns into inflammation.
- The discharge of pus follows the inflammation granulation stage, the wound formation and round tissue masses.
- Note that inflammation is an element of the healing process. Reducing inflammation is necessary is some cases, but not always.
Types of Inflammation
Acute inflammation: Starts with a rapid onset and becomes severe quickly.
Chronic inflammation: Long-term cases of inflammation that can last for months or years. Chronic inflammation can cause several conditions and diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, some cancer types, atherosclerosis,
hay fever and others.
Lifestyle choices that compose of food that we eat each day can either balance anti-inflammatory body compounds or tip one end of the scale.
10 Foods to Avoid in a Anti-Inflammation Diet
Incorporating natural foods that are anti-inflammatory foods in diets is as important as avoiding or reducing foods that promote inflammation.
An excess of sugar intake is known to cause tooth decay. Moreover it is linked to obesity, chronic diseases like metabolic syndrome, and diabetes. Recent studies prove that sugar and dairy causes acne.
Approximately sixty percent of the population in the world are unable to digest milk. Milk is an allergen that triggers inflammatory responses. These are inclusive of stomach distress like constipation and diarrhea as well as skin conditions like skin rashes, hives, acne and also breathing difficulties.
3. Cooking Oil
Common cooking oils that are used in restaurants and homes have high omega-6 fatty acids and low omega-3 fats. This imbalance promotes inflammatory diseases like cancer and heart disease.
4. Trans fats
Trans fats increase ‘bad’ cholesterol and lower ‘good’ cholesterol levels. They promote inflammation, insulin resistance, obesity and lead to degenerative illnesses. They are found in deep fried foods, commercially baked items, fast foods, and foods prepared with margarine, hydrogenated oil and vegetable shortening.
5. Meat produced commercially
Meat produced commercially results in animals that are fed with high inflammatory diets like high omega 6 fats and low omega 3 fats. They gain fat as they are kept in compressed environments and given antibiotics and hormones to grow faster. This meat should be avoided.
Regular alcohol consumption causes inflammation of the larynx, esophagus and liver. This chronic inflammation promotes the growth of tumors leading to cancer.
7. Processed and Red Meat
Medical Studies have located a molecule that is not naturally produced by humans (Neu5Gc). After this compound is ingested, the body begins to develop anti-Neu5Gc antibodies that trigger chronic inflammation. This inflammation is linked to heart disease and cancer.
8. Refined Grain
Many grains that we eat are refined. They are devoid of vitamin B and fiber in contrast to unrefined grains. Refined grains are equal to empty calories. The high glycemic causes degenerative diseases like coronary disease, cancer and diabetes. These are found in many products, the most common are: white rice, white bread, white flour, noodles, pastries, pasta and biscuits.
9. Artificial Additives
Artificial food additives like monosodium glutamate (MSG) and aspartame triggers of inflammatory responses, affecting people that already suffer from conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. Packaged foods usually artificial food additives. Read the labels carefully to weigh the risks.
10. Frozen Yogurt
The mixture of dairy and sugar is not a good combination and will have harmful effects even though it may sound healthy. Foods that are high in sugar levels and saturated fat spur inflammation as they cause over-activity in immune systems, lead to fatigue, joint pain, fatigue and blood vessels damage.
When we address inflammation with foods that are anti-inflammatory we alleviate symptoms and even cure many of them.
20 Foods that Fight Inflammation
1. Dark Leafy Greens
Vitamin E is key to protect the body against molecules that are pro-inflammatory (cytokines). A good source of this vitamin is dark green vegetables like swiss chard, spinach, broccoli and kale. Cruciferous and dark green vegetables have a higher concentrations of nutrients inclusive of iron and calcium, as well as disease fighting elements.
2. Fatty Fish
Oily fish, like mackerel, salmon, sardines and tuna have high omega-3 fatty acids that reduce inflammation. Add fish to menus, boiled or steamed rather than fried, salted or dried.
Nuts like almonds are rich in vitamin E, calcium and fiber. With high levels of an omega 3 fat type, alpha-linolenic acid, they fight inflammation. Nuts are full of antioxidants that help repair the damage by inflammation.
4. Soy Foods
Studies have shown that soy products are effective for anti-inflammation. At a cellular level they are a defense against cancer and cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis as well as menopausal symptoms.
Research about celery has identified it for anti-inflammatory health benefits, including protection against the digestive inflammation tract itself.
Peppers are high in antioxidants and vitamin C and therefore possess powerful effects of anti-inflammation.
Red, juicy tomatoes are lycopene rich, which is known to reduce inflammation in the body and lungs. Cooked tomatoes have more lycopene than raw tomatoes. The consumption of tomato juice is also beneficial.
This bright red color veggie is equally brilliant in its antioxidant properties. It reduces inflammation and protects against heart disease and cancer as it has good fiber and folate.
11. Garlic and Onions
These pungent vegetables are anti-inflamm atory superstars. The compounds of garlic lower inflammation boosting substance. Onions help to inhibit agents that cause inflammation in arthritis. Eating raw garlic is best.
12. Olive Oil
Olive oil is the best additions to healthy heart diets and lung functioning.
Research has shown that tart cherry juice helps athletes to recover faster from workouts that are intense, and decrease muscle pain.
All fruits help to fight inflammation as they have a high fiber content. Berries are stronger in anti inflammatory properties as a result of rich antioxidants.
Turmeric, the bright colored relative to ginger is a disease-preventive agent due to anti inflammatory components and is a beneficial addition to dishes.
Ginger has amazing benefits and ingesting ginger, either by drinking ginger tea or sprinkling ginger on foods, is said to even reduce arthritis pain, muscle pain and improves movement agility.
17. Dark Chocolate
Recent research revealed that gut bacteria ferments and breaks down dark chocolate components turning them into anti-inflammatory healthy compounds.
The health benefits of broccoli, a cruciferous vegetable, are numerous. If you eat broccoli on a regular basis, the health benefits that are provided are amazing.
19. Black Beans
High in fiber and protein, black beans are a great healthy food choice that reduce inflammation.
Pineapple contains enzymes that reduce inflammation and swelling in the body. Pineapple is great in vitamin C, for a healthy immune system and is best when eaten raw and ripe.
A Superfood Anti-inflammatory Recipe
This superfood combination of turmeric, carrots and ginger contains flavor compounds making them favorites in the culinary world. To top it of, the curative power of these ingredients has been East Indian and Chinese Ayurvedic medicine cures for many millennia.
Featured photo credit: http://drbrocchini.com via drbrocchini.com