If you’ve ever strained a muscle like I have, you’ve experienced inflammation. What you might not know is that we can’t see or feel it, but inflammation may slowly be damaging our bodies.
A natural response to anything that’s trying to harm our bodies, inflammation occurs as the white blood cells are sent to attack the pathogen, also known as germs, like bacteria, viruses, or toxins, in an attempt to heal.
There are ways to control and even reverse inflammation, and in this blog post, you’re going to learn different ways to do so, through the importance of consuming the correct food, exercising properly, and living a healthier lifestyle.
“When you don’t eat healthy, don’t get enough exercise, or have too much stress, the body responds by triggering inflammation,” says Varinthrej Pitis, MD, an internal medicine physician at Scripps Clinic Carmel Valley. “Chronic inflammation can have damaging consequences over the long term. So the food you eat, the quality of sleep you get and how much you exercise, they all really matter when it comes to reducing inflammation.”
Read on to learn more about inflammation, including common causes and foods that may be able to help fight it.
Stiffness and inflammation arise in old internal injuries, which may have been through trauma, such as a broken bone or an operation whereby blood vessels, bones, nerves, or muscles may have been torn or crushed. This injury site will become inflamed, and the nerve endings will be sensitive. When your body detects cell damage it creates inflammation. This is a normal response. It's chronic inflammation that creates all sorts of problems. Our bodies ask the white blood cells to attend to the old injury when it's inflamed, but this becomes chronic when the white blood cells remain at the injury site. Unfortunately, white blood cells are known to attack our healthy cells and rouse the pain of the injury.
Air, food, and water carry environmental toxins. Pesticides, cleaning products, mold, air pollution, and dirty water, are just some instances in a very long list. Chemicals are in everything we eat and use, and are known to trigger diseases. They have serious negative effects by causing inflammation in our bodies' systems from sensory overload.
Carbohydrates and sugar raise glucose levels in our bloodstreams, activating one layer of cells in our arteries to become damaged, causing inflammation. Our bodies try to heal by clotting or producing plaque. This leads to vascular blood supply loss. If the blood supply through the capillaries is affected, this will be felt through the nervous system, with tingling and paralysis. Following a high-carb diet will keep our bodies in an inflamed state. So does constant snacking.
Too Much Iron
Our bodies' get iron from our food and drink intake, and it's the intestines that reduce the absorption. Our bodies cannot excrete iron and if we have excess levels the iron will get stored in our liver, heart, and pancreas, causing inflammation. When we have an infection in our bodies, the pathogens compete for iron, thus depleting our iron levels. It's important to have regular blood tests for all minerals and vitamins.
Lack of Cortisol
Cortisol is a potent anti-inflammatory hormone that ensures correct balance in our bodies. If our bodies don't produce enough cortisol to suppress inflammation this can cause that morning arthritic joint pain and stiffness. Exercise, stress or just waking up makes the pituitary gland respond by sending a signal to the adrenal glands to release cortisol. Stress modifies genes in the bone marrow, which then generates inflammatory immune cells in our blood. If the stress never abates, this leads to chronic inflammation.
High Omega 6
Omega 6 and Omega 3 are essential fatty acids that our bodies cannot make. Avoid oils that are high in Omega 6 such as cottonseed, canola, corn, or soy. A diet high in Omega 6 promotes inflammation and auto-immune diseases. Consuming Omega 3 has suppressive effects on Omega 6. If you're low in Omega 3, you need to eat food like eggs, avocado, or salmon. Salad dressings should be made from olive oil or avocado oil.
Lots of factors can impede our gut from working correctly. Food allergies, constipation, or antibiotics that wipe out friendly bacteria. 70% of our immune system is in our digestive system. Organic Turmeric Powder could be just the thing you need. Why? Because the curcumin found in turmeric is known for swelling and is often used to treat pain and inflammation.
How is chronic inflammation treated?
Inflammation is a natural part of the healing process, but when it becomes chronic, it’s important to try to get it under control to reduce your risk of long-term damage. Some of the options that I’ve been exploring for managing inflammation include:
Lifestyle changes: Losing weight (if your doctor recommends it), increasing physical activity, and healthy dietary changes, have all been shown to help lower inflammation.
Make time for 30 to 45 minutes of aerobic exercise and 10 to 25 minutes of weight or resistance training at least four to five times per week.
Manage stress: Chronic stress contributes to inflammation. Use meditation, yoga, guided imagery, or some other method to manage stress throughout the day.
“We may not be able to change many of the stressful situations we encounter in life, but we can change our response and perception by learning to manage stress better,” Dr. Gray says.
Superfoods: Certain superfoods may help to reduce inflammation, such as our OMG Turmeric Powder which is known for treating inflammation. Read on to find out why...
How does diet impact chronic inflammation?
What you eat can play both a positive and negative role in managing inflammation.
Foods to eat
A variety of foods are known to have anti-inflammatory properties. These include foods that are high in antioxidants and polyphenols, like:
- olive oil
- leafy greens, like kale and spinach
- fatty fish, like salmon, sardines, and mackerel
- fruits, especially cherries, blueberries, and oranges
- Turmeric powder
If your doctor or dietician has recommended you change your eating habits, consider talking with them about the Mediterranean diet. A 2018 study found that participants following this diet had lower markers of inflammation.
We mentioned Turmeric!
The Turmeric plant is known for having a long root with an intense yellow color that is grinded into powder and is used as a condiment in several countries, as a food coloring, especially in India, and as a supplement to benefit from its amazing properties.
In addition to being used very often in the kitchen, turmeric is known to be used for medicinal purposes to help with swelling and is often used to treat pain and inflammation.
Foods to avoid
The following foods have been known to increase inflammation in some people:
- refined carbohydrates, like white bread and pastries
- fried foods, like French fries
- processed meat, like hot dogs and sausage
If you’re trying to reduce inflammation, your doctor may recommend you reduce your intake of these foods. You don’t have to completely eliminate them, but try to eat them only occasionally.
“An anti-inflammatory diet also limits foods that promote inflammation,” Dr. Gray adds.
It's important to keep in mind that chronic inflammation can increase your risk of several diseases, and this is why it’s fundamental you keep all these solutions mentioned at bay.
Superfoods, a healthier diet, keeping stress levels low (when possible), exercise, and following a lower-inflammation diet may all help you reduce your risk of living with chronic inflammation, but before making any lifestyle changes, it’s always best to speak with your doctor.
In the meantime, if you have yet to add turmeric to your daily routine to fight off inflammation and pain, here’s your chance to try it!
Remember you can always get in touch with us if you have any questions!
Hope you have a great day!