When you hear the word inflammation, I am sure you think about muscle and joint pain. Body Inflammation is caused by many things. Chronic inflammation may lead to many adverse health conditions more severe than joint and muscle pain.
As a part of our normal healing response the body creates inflammation for different reasons.
If we over exercise our muscles, inflammation causes pain. If you sprain an ankle the body induces swelling for multiple reasons, the swelling is an inflammatory response. This keeps the ankle immobile and speeds healing. If you eat a food that has spoiled, the body is going to kill the invader or remove it. This causes diarrhea, cramping and possibly vomiting, all a form of inflammation cause by our immune system. When you pickup a splinter in your finger the presence of a foreign object or foreign matter trigger an immune response. The immune response actions cause redness, tenderness and swelling. This is caused from the immune response sending its army (white blood cells) to attack the invader and any friends it may have brought with it, such as bacteria. It also sends a cleanup crew (a different type of immune cell) to dispose of the bad guys that the army killed. If you get the flu, the immune system raises the bodies temperature to kill the invader, you have chills, headaches, body pain, all due to the immune response to heal you. These responses are protective inflammation and is much different than the inflammation I am concerned with in this blog.
The inflammation that causes disease and other adverse health conditions comes from our diet and lifestyle. The inflammation caused by these foods and behaviors last in our bodies for a long time causing damage to tissues and organs. In fact chronic inflammation is believed to be a major contributor to most illness and disease. Chronic inflammation is a silent killer. It’s happening in your body and you can’t see it or feel it until damage is being done.
SAD, the standard American diet and lifestyle leads the way as the primary instigator of chronic inflammation. The consumption of refined sugar, artificial sweeteners, refined and processed foods, trans fats, saturated fats and preservatives create inflammation throughout the body. This may eventually cause cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, allergies, reduced immune system function, high cholesterol, chronic infections, auto immune diseases, heart disease, digestive disorders and other adverse conditions.
Diet contributors to chronic inflammation include:
- Over consumption of calories
- Refined and processed foods (they lack health building nutrients that reduce inflammation and actually contain chemicals that create inflammation)
- A lack of water in our diet
- Fried foods
- The lack of antioxidants such as polyphenols in our diets
- Dairy products ( they are highly acidic and cause many adverse health problems)
- Food preservatives
- Trans fats ( read the ingredient label, don’t trust the packaging! if you see the words “hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated” in the list you will be eating trans fats)
- Excessive salt intake
- The lack of Omega 3 fatty acids and too much Omega 6 fatty acid in our diet (the ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 in SAD is too heavy in favor of omega 6)
- Alcohol (alcohol consumption causes inflammation in the stomach, pancreas, liver, intestines and brain)
- Smoking (quit smoking and reduce inflammation)
Like wise certain lifestyle activities such as a sedentary lifestyle, lack of sunshine, recreational drugs and pharmaceutical drugs cause chronic inflammation. Excessive stress in your life can contribute to chronic inflammation.
Another good article about inflammation can be found here.
Next, Part II the symptoms of chronic inflammation and how to reverse it!
Wally Bishop C.N.C.
The contents of this blog is not and should not be considered medical advice. This blog is for informational purposes only. Always consult with your doctor before making any dietary or lifestyle changes. Never quit taking prescription medications unless advised to do so by your doctor.