What is inflammation? In the most simplistic terms, it is your body’s response to threats such as toxins, infections, irritants, and injuries. But did you know inflammation, specifically chronic low-grade inflammation, can do lots of damage to your health? Here are 5 things you may not know about inflammation:
There is plenty of data out there around the causes of inflammation and its effects on your body. I’m only going to scratch the surface here in this post, but we’ll go over 5 things you should know about inflammation.
- Inflammation can be useful for your body
Inflammation is your body’s natural defense against injury or illness. It’s a fundamental function of your immune system, which continually monitors for anything that appears as a foreign intruder in your body. For short-term conditions, the “acute inflammatory response” is triggered. And this is a good thing.
Examples of this are when you catch a cold or develop a fever or when you break a bone. In these cases, your body sends inflammatory cells to the rescue. With a fever resulting from an illness, signs of this response can include pain and heat, and with a broken bone, you may see swelling and redness.
- Chronic Inflammation can be damaging
When your body recovers, the inflammation should go away. But when your immune system is disrupted, and inflammatory cells still linger, your body puts itself in an unnecessary state of constant defense leading to persistent inflammation. You could have “chronic inflammation” which is a crucial risk factor in a whole host of health problems and major diseases.
You might suffer from chronic inflammation if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- skin problems
- inability to lose weight
- joint pain
- aches and pains
- digestive problems
- sensitivity to foods
Examples of conditions where your body sustains low levels of inflammation include food allergies, obesity and autoimmune diseases such as diabetes, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and celiac disease. Chronic inflammation is also involved in the development of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, cancer, and heart disease. These conditions can be a significant health risk and can even lead to heart attacks or strokes.
- There are simple fixes for acute inflammation
For example, if you have a fever, you can take a pain reliever for the pain. You can also apply a cold compress and take a fever-reducing medication to bring down your temperature. For an injury such as a broken bone, you can reduce inflammation and the resulting swelling and pain with RICE therapy (rest, ice, compression, and elevation).
- Treating chronic inflammation isn’t as easy
It’s not so simple with chronic inflammation, especially autoimmune disorders. However, you may find some relief making lifestyle choices that reduce inflammation and avoiding factors that turn on your body’s inflammatory response.
You’ve probably heard about anti-inflammatory diets which focus on avoiding:
- processed foods
- fast foods
- fried foods
- trans fat
- red meat
- white bread and pastries
- soda pop
These diets also recommend eating:
- foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids
- fatty fish
- nuts and seeds
- whole foods
- green leafy vegetables
- spices and herbs
- olive oil
- A healthy lifestyle can help fight inflammation
Other actions you can take to reduce the risk factor of developing chronic inflammation include:
- stay active and exercise
- maintain a healthy body weight
- maintain proper hormone levels
- get 6-8 hours of good sleep a night
- build a healthy gut
- address nutrient deficiencies
- avoid alcohol
- stop smoking
If you’re concerned about long-standing inflammation and its consequences, it’s always a good idea to check with your physician to determine your risk level and discuss appropriate steps for you.
Do you suffer from signs of inflammation? Frequent headaches, or arthritis? Or something more chronic?
Want the help of a health coach? Just click here: Contact me
Did you know that there is a direct link to stress, hormones and weight gain? It would be so much easier if we craved a large veggie-filled salad when we're stressed. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be the case -- instead, we tend to look for comfort in food when...
Coming into contact with chemicals is hard to avoid, and I bet you don't even realize just how many chemicals are lurking in your everyday items, products, and within your home. Chemicals are common, and although there are many things we can do to reduce chemical use...
It's summertime, the July 4th holiday is looming ever closer, and everyone in your neighborhood will probably be hosting a cookout, and you know what? You should, too. But what can you make if you'regluten-free and trying to eat healthier? I'll share ideas for healthy...
During the summer months, I love grilling as many of my meals as possible. Chicken, seafood, veggies, even fruit are fantastic on the grill. If you enjoy outdoor grilling and barbeques as much as I do, then you'll love this recipe. Fast and easy to prepare, this...
If you have good intentions of eating healthy, but get sidetracked by sweets, you’re not alone! Did you know that sugar can be just as addictive as cocaine? And it causes the same chemical reaction in the brain as cocaine. Now with all of us starting into the dog days...
Summer, my time of year! Picnics, block parties, backyard barbecues they're always a big part of summer shenanigans. However, if you're not careful, you can easily add a few unwanted pounds at these events. I'm going to share some ways that you can enjoy those summer...
5 Herbs and Spices That Lower Inflammation Inflammation can cause issues such as headaches and pain. It is also at the root of many chronic diseases, including diabetes, cancer and heart disease to name a few. But there are ways you can fight inflammation. In this...
What is inflammation? In the most simplistic terms, it is your body's response to threats such as toxins, infections, irritants, and injuries. But did you know inflammation, specifically chronic low-grade inflammation, can do lots of damage to your health? There is...
In my second post on digestion, I’m going to talk about some of the more common health conditions related to digestion. Most people experience some type of digestive health conditions at some point in their lives. Sometimes they are temporary, while others may be...
This is the first in a series of posts on digestion and gut health. As Hippocrates stated over 2000 years ago, “All disease begins in the gut”. And that couldn’t be any truer for those of us with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. So in this first installment, I’m...