I have been talking about the detrimental effects of inflammation a lot, and especially about how certain foods can trigger inflammation in your body, starting a cascade of potentially dangerous health problems. But do you know exactly what it means?
WHAT IS INFLAMMATION?
Inflammation is actually a normal and healthy process in your body. It is a natural reaction to any type of stressor. Its role is to repair and heal the body. White blood cells and other chemicals are generated in order to fight off foreign invaders (bacteria, viruses, microbes…). This process also helps the body heal injuries and other damaged cells.
Keeping a minimum level of inflammation is a natural way to protect the body. It becomes problematic when the inflammation is not controlled anymore, develops and changes from being acute to chronic.
Acute Inflammation happens when you get injured and have an infection starting somewhere in your body. Some symptoms could be:
- Swelling, stiffness
- Loss of functionality
Acute Inflammation is quick and is supposed to last just a couple of days, enough for the body to send healing agents where it is needed. It is a primary reaction of the body to anything going on (pathogens invasion, injuries, lifestyle triggers like poor food quality for example…).
It becomes chronic when this primary reaction lasts longer than just a couple of days. Sometimes it can last months or years, without the person noticing anything. This can be due to a weak Immune system, or an underlying problem that your body can not fight off: the body doesn’t manage to eliminate the cause of the primary inflammation. This situation can last with no symptoms, until a concrete loss of function happens. Chronic Inflammation is silent, systemic, which makes it even more difficult for us to detect. The end road is often chronic diseases like allergies, asthma, autoimmune diseases (arthritis....), hormonal unbalance diabetes...), heart disease, and even cancer and some others.
Your lifestyle can either trigger or prevent chronic Inflammation. Are you eating bad quality food? How is your sleep pattern? Are you moving your body in a good way? How are your daily thoughts and emotions impacting you?
Conventional Medicine proposes some tests to detect some potential inflammation in the body, like for example:
- the C-Reactive Protein test (CRP): this one hasn’t been proven very effective
- an ESR (sed test)
- fasting blood insulin levels: the higher the insulin levels, the higher the inflammation
Usual anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin and NSAIDs are frequently prescribed, but these can be very harmful in the mid or long-term. They have many negative side effects (that trigger chronic inflammation...!) and they won’t resolve the real cause of the problem. They will just diminish the symptoms, but the true problem will still be there.
That’s where your lifestyle choices can help change the situation. When you give your body the tools it needs to function properly, it will function properly. Your body always wants to heal.
Here are some common causes of chronic inflammation. By balancing out your lifestyle in general, you can help your body function better, in a way that will protect your physical and emotional health:
- Being overweight/obese
- Making poor food choices (low-quality foods, nutritional deficiencies…) and more particularly:
o Choosing NON-ORGANIC Foods, high in pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and other harmful chemicals
o Choosing conventional industrial meat rather than organic grass-fed meat or free-range poultry
o Not eating enough healthy fats
o Eating too many bad fats, like trans-fats, vegetable oils, margarine…all mainly in processed foods
o Unbalanced Omega 3 / Omega 6 ratio
o Pasteurized dairy
o Conventional white table salt
o Too much grains and cereals
o Too many refined carbs
o Overcooked food
o Regularly eating foods that you are sensible to, even if you don’t notice it
- Bad sleep pattern, where your body can not recover and repair the way it is supposed to
- Drinking too much alcohol
- Existing unresolved health issues, like:
o Heart condition
o Long-term infection
o Gum disease
- Sedentary lifestyle (sitting for too long, not moving enough)
In another article, I will talk more in detail about some specific foods, herbs and nutrients that you could take in order to help your body decrease potential chronic inflammation. The main point is this: take care of yourself, in everything you are doing. Put your own health as a priority, no matter what. Do it because your love yourself that much, and because you are worth it. If you understand the value of it, you will always find the time and money to change things for the better. Following holistic lifestyle principles is one of the best way to prevent chronic inflammation. Send me a message if you need some specific guidance adapted to you.
In Health and Happiness,