Most of us know the obvious signs of inflammation. For example, when we cut ourselves or bang or knee really hard, we'll experience:
Inflammation is the body's natural & healthy response, but only if it's at the appropriate level for the appropriate length of time. It is the initial healing response to either infection or damaged tissue.
Inflammation may be caused by:
Physical reasons such as injury, burns, insect bites, frostbite or radiation
Chemicals such as pesticides, toxic fumes and particles, and hydrochloric acid*
Microbes such as viruses, bacteria, parasites and fungi
Antigens to which the body is sensitive and cause an immune response (for example: dairy, alcohol or peanuts)
Understanding Inflammation Inflammation is the body's response to damaged tissue or infection. This is what happens in the body:
Blood vessels leading to the site of injury or infection dilate, so that more blood can get to the area.
Meanwhile, blood vessels leading away from the site constrict, so that more blood is available to go towards the site. More blood brings more oxygen for healing.
Pain receptors in the nerves are activated, via chemicals such as Substance P. Pain has the important, if unpleasant, purpose of alerting you to a problem, and is a warning to you to rest this area of the body.
The vessels become leakier, which allows easier entry of the following:
- Leukocytes (neutrophils and macrophages) - these render unwanted pathogens harmless.
- Excess fluid, to dilute toxins and help with their removal from the body.
- Large protein molecules, such as antibodies and fibrinogen. The antibodies 'eat' the unwanted pathogens, such as bacteria or allergens, whilst the fibrinogen helps to seal off the inflamed area to help prevent the spread of the toxins.
Short-term inflammation, lasting only a few hours or days, is a normal protective response. Problems arise though when the short-term 'acute' inflammation becomes long-term 'chronic' inflammation. Chronic inflammation is now known to be implicated in so many of our major diseases, such as cardiovascular, Chronic pain, arthritis and even Alzheimer's Disease.
Diet is a huge factor is creating inflammation as well as reducing it.
Let's get straight into it and talk Do's & Don't.
Foods that cause inflammation:
Sugar, alcohol, processed meats (bacon being the worst!), processed & packaged foods, soda, fried foods, refined grains, dairy.
Foods that reduce inflammation:
Fruits, such as apples and cherries, are high in Quercetin and will therefore help reduce inflammation. Pineapples, rich in Bromelain, are great for relieving inflammation. They help to keep the pain and swelling at bay.
Vegetables, such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and kale will help to significantly and naturally reduce inflammation. All leafy greens are great too.
Onions and Garlic, the bad breath duo, are two of the best foods for all sorts of ailments. They are noted to cure or relieve a large number of illnesses that plague the human body. They have absolutely wonderful healing qualities and again they are very rich in Quercetin.
Omega 3 Oils, found in oily type fish such as herring, salmon, sardines and mackerel, work wonderfully well and are a great and natural way to fight inflammation naturally.
Don't forget these too: Olive oil, nuts, avocado, mushrooms, spirulina, chlorella, cacao, green tea, spices, chili peppers, ginger and turmeric.
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