Understanding Inflammation 0
Posted on 12, March 2018
in Category Tips
Sore throat. Swollen glands. Painful joints. These are two hallmark signs of inflammation, which is the body’s protective response to foreign substances, viruses, diseases and injury. Some inflammation is clear to see, such as swelling at the site of a bruise or physical injury. Some inflammation is not easily detected outwardly such as damaged lining of blood vessels from heart disease. When the body experiences inflammation for an extended period of time, there can be serious health repercussions.
Inflammation can be experienced in the body in a variety of ways. Some diseases, classified as autoimmune, are those in which the body’s immune system has an abnormal response to a perceived threat and can damage normal tissues. Examples of this are rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, type 1 diabetes, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), inflammatory bowel disease and others. Obesity is also associated with inflammation. Stress and a diet containing high-sugar and high-fat foods can contribute to an inflammatory state in the body.
Though it sounds detrimental, inflammation is a healthy and important part of our body’s response to threats. Once a virus or injury is healed, the symptoms of inflammation should disappear. Being in a chronic inflammatory state has specific effect on the body. This includes elevated blood sugar levels, elevated white blood cells and elevated c-reactive proteins, which are responsible for the “flight-or-flight” response. Inflammation can have negative effects on the gut health as well. Plaque build up in the arteries trigger inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation is also associated with higher risk for certain types of cancer.
You can make healthful choices to dramatically reduce inflammation, starting with these five methods.
The recommended eight hours of sleep is elusive for most Americans. Sleep loss or poor sleep is tied with insulin resistance, which is a marker for inflammation. Improving the duration (7 to 8 hours) and quality of sleep can help the body to manage hormones linked to inflammation.
The body doesn’t differentiate from a stress associated from a looming work deadline or a near-miss accident. The fight-or-flight response is triggered in both scenarios, which raises stress hormones and blood sugars needed to help us feel more alert and prepare for battle. Under most circumstances, once the threat is removed, the body returns to a natural state in which blood pressure drops, heart rate drops, stress hormones decrease. When “threats” occur more frequently, this can create a chronic inflammatory state in the body, which is linked with many health problems.
There are countless ways that a person can manage stress. There is no one solution for everyone. Find an outlet for your stress that works for you, preferably healthful options. These include exercise, yoga, dancing, knitting, creating art, creating music, spending time with a pet, walking, breathing exercises, journaling, cooking or meditation. What is important is finding a healthful outlet that works for you.
Fresh produce is the bedrock of anti-inflammatory eating. Vegetables and fruits have nutritive (carbohydrates, protein, fat) and non-nutritive (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients) properties that are perfectly designed to assist the body in protecting itself against the damage of inflammation.
Spices and Seasonings
Turmeric is gaining a lot of attention lately for its role in inflammation. Turmeric contains a potent chemical, curcumin, which has been associated with decreasing inflammation. Turmeric has been used for centuries in curries and can be incorporated in many recipes. Cinnamon is known for its role in regulating blood sugar and helping decrease inflammation.
Recent evidence suggests that individuals that go at least 12 hours overnight without eating or drinking have reduced markers for inflammation. This is effect is more pronounced when the eating window is compressed to 8 or 10 hours, which is a 14 or 16 hour overnight fast.