Many of us have heard the term inflammation when talking about an injury, we know that inflammation is needed as part of our bodies immune response. Chronic inflammation on the other hand, can cause adverse effects in our general health and well being.
What is not commonly discussed is internal inflammation. Inflammation can not always be seen, however it can often be felt as aching joints or sensitivity on the skin.
Fortunately, there are ways we can naturally reduce internal inflammation that don’t include drastic interventions. But firstly, what exactly is inflammation?
Inflammation and its Function
Inflammation is a part of our natural immune response to fight off bacteria, viruses, and other foreign organisms. Our immune system releases chemicals, alerting white blood cells to attack potential invaders. It's a process that is activated to send inflammatory cells to ambush possibly harmful foreign bodies, or help repair damaged tissue.
As the intricate chain of events take place, inflammatory markers are released into the body or site that needs mending, causing the telltale signs like redness, pain, and swelling, that we're familiar with. It is an essential process that allows our bodies to fight off infection, and recover from damages. Without inflammation, it'd be impossible for wounds and infections to heal.
What is Chronic Inflammation and what Makes it Damaging?
The problem with chronic inflammation is that it puts our body in a constant state of high alert. In chronic inflammation our cellular processes do not function optimally, our waste systems do not remove toxins efficiently and a cycle of disrepair continues.
Chronic or uncontrolled inflammation plays a role in most, if not all, major disease. As an example inflammation has been linked to alzheimer's disease, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and even mental health disorders like depression. Other conditions that stem from chronic inflammation are rosacea, acne, and the signs of premature ageing.
The Causes of Chronic Inflammation
Chronic inflammation can be caused by many things, triggers such as stress, imbalance in the body and environmental factors all contribute to increases in inflammatory markers. Stress particularly has a significant effect on how our bodies operate. A team led by Sheldon Cohen, the Professor of Psychology at Carnegie Mellon University, discovered that chronic psychological stress is linked to the body losing its ability to regulate inflammatory response. According to the study “inflammation is partly regulated by the hormone cortisol and when cortisol is not allowed to serve this function, inflammation can get out of control.”
Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health says that “some of the foods that have been associated with an increased risk for chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease are also associated with excess inflammation. It's not surprising, since inflammation is an important underlying mechanism for the development of these diseases.”
In order to reduce inflammation long term one of the best ways to battle chronic inflammation is not by downing pills, but by consciously making the decision to have a better diet.
With that being said, the first thing that an individual should do is determine the kind of foods that cause inflammation, which are:
Refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and pastries
French fries and other fried foods
Soft drinks and other sugar-sweetened beverages
Red processed meat, such as hot dogs and sausages
Margarine, shortening, and processed oils
How to Battle Chronic Inflammation
The next step is to determine the types of food that battle chronic inflammation. What we're looking for are foods, or food supplements, that have anti-inflammatory components in them. As Dr. Hu, explains, “many experimental studies have shown that components of foods or beverages may have anti-inflammatory effects”.
A couple of examples are:
Rosemary - Active components of rosemary are antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-carcinogenic in nature. This represents a three-pronged attack against many different diseases and pathogens that could threaten the immune system or damage the integrity of the body.
Turmeric - An anti-inflammatory and powerful antioxidant, protecting against free radical damage, boosting neurotrophic factors and boasts anti ageing properties.
Milk Thistle - Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, commonly used to detoxify the body, especially the liver. Milk Thistle’s protective qualities of the skin may help reducing visible signs of ageing, such as dark spots, wrinkles, lines and discoloration.
Green Tea - Green tea is known for its anti inflammatory properties, atherosclerosis reduction and heart health.
Along with some fruits and vegetables such as:
Extra virgin olive oil
Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and collards
Nuts like almonds and walnuts
Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines
Fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges
How to Incorporate These Essential Foods and/or Food Supplements
There are a couple of ways that you can incorporate the aforementioned foods, and/or food supplements, in your diet. We've prepared a couple of healthy recipes that you can try out.
Nut Free Infinity Bliss Balls
Contains Vita-sol Infinity Wholefood Powder, which is a food supplement that has potent antioxidants such as Rosemary, Grape Seed, Green Tea as well as traditional Ayurvedic and Chinese herbs. Click here to check out the whole recipe.
The spice bliss balls contain Vita-sol Flexibility Wholefood Powder, which contain a multi-action formula that provides antioxidant and joint support for your cartilage and bones. A warming spice blend that includes turmeric to satisfy your taste buds and hug your joints. Nutritionally dense formula from all vegan friendly ingredients. Click here for the full recipe.
Greener Than Green (GTG)
This smoothie is perfect for liver detoxification and an amazing system cleanser. It has the Vita-sol Purity Wholefood Powder, containing organic alkaline greens and sprout blend, including Dandelion, Milk Thistle and Green Kiwi Fruit powder. Contributes to the maintenance of normal liver function.
It's the perfect nutritional support for eczema, acne, milia, psoriasis, cleansing, hormonal pigmentation. Detox greens goes hand-in-hand with cleanse and acne skincare products. Check out the whole recipe here.
Inherently, inflammation is required for our bodies, and it is needed to fight off foreign (and probably harmful) organisms. But as the saying goes, too much of anything is bad, and chronic inflammation can lead to a plethora of issues. Remember to combat and prevent it by eating right, exercising, and reducing unnecessary stress in your life. You may even notice a reduction in pain and inflammatory skin conditions such as rosacea!
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