Beach Metro Community News
Most people are aware that conditions such as arthritis and muscle pain are caused by inflammation. However, many people do not realize that inflammation can also be a cause of other common conditions, such as: allergies, asthma, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, heart disease, skin diseases (such as eczema and psoriasis), cancer, obesity, and even accelerated aging.
What is inflamation?
Inflammation is the body’s natural defense mechanism against infection, foreign substances, or injury. The inflammatory process is required in order to heal wounds and infections and prevent tissue destruction. However, when inflammation is prolonged or becomes uncontrolled, this can lead to serious and chronic problems. Furthermore, sometimes the body’s immune system inappropriately produces an inflammatory response when there is no need to and this can cause damage to the body’s own tissues (autoimmunity).
What causes inflammation in the body?
Inflammation can be caused by many things, including: consuming foods that one is allergic or intolerant to, chronic infection, an imbalance in the body’s normal microbial flora, stress/lack of sleep, toxins (both in the environment, as well as those produced within the body), poor diet (lacking in nutrients and high in food preservatives and other additives), smoking, and lack of exercise (sedentary lifestyle).
Decreasing inflammation with diet
One of the main ways that inflammation can be reduced is through the diet. The first step is to avoid foods and food ingredients which directly cause inflammation. These foods include: alcohol, sugar (soft drinks, cereals, candy, pastries, etc.), artificial sweeteners, fried foods, processed/fast foods, trans/hydrogenated fats, highly processed and refined oils, dairy products, processed meats (such as cold cuts, hot dogs, and sausages) and red meat. If you have arthritis, foods in the nightshade family, such as eggplant, potatoes, tomatoes, and peppers may also be problematic. Avoiding foods that you know you are sensitive to will also be beneficial, as consuming these foods will trigger inflammation in the digestive tract, as well as other parts of the body. Having a blood test done to determine your food allergies/sensitivities can also help to determine hidden or unknown food triggers. Increasing anti-inflammatory foods, such as: omega-3 fatty acids (found in coldwater fish, ground flax seeds, nuts, and seeds) and fresh whole fruits (such as berries and apples) and vegetables (especially green, leafy vegetables and other colourful vegetables) will also be beneficial to quell the inflammatory process. Cold-pressed, healthy oils, such as fish oil, flaxseed oil, extra virgin olive oil, and grapeseed oil also help to decrease inflammation. (Consult a healthcare practitioner before consuming large amounts of fish or flaxseed oil, as therapeutic doses may not be appropriate for everyone). There are also many great herbs and nutritional supplements that can help to regulate the inflammatory process and the immune system; however, these must be prescribed individually, depending on a person’s other existing health concerns, allergic tendencies or medications that they may be taking.
Ensure adequate water intake every day, as dehydration can also cause inflammation in the body. Water also helps to eliminate toxins from the system.
Additional ways to decrease inflammation
Needless to say, learning to cope with stress (both physical and emotional) through relaxation exercises, yoga, meditation, massage, etc., is also very critical. Obtaining an appropriate amount of sleep, adequate exercise, minimizing exposure to toxins, maintaining a healthy weight, improving digestion and elimination, as well as ensuring your lymphatic system is working optimally, will all contribute to decreasing inflammation in the body. Some people also find that doing a cleanse or detoxification program in the spring or fall can also help them to eliminate accumulated toxins which can be a major source of inflammation.
By decreasing overall inflammation in the body, many chronic, degenerative conditions as well as premature aging, can be prevented
Note: This article is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace proper diagnosis and treatment by a qualified healthcare professional.