Inflammation is best described as the body’s immune system response to “attack”. It takes the form of a localised protective reaction of tissue to infection, injury or chemical irritation.

During the process, as the white blood cells rush to the ‘injured’ area, chemicals from the body’s white blood cells are released into the blood or affected tissues in order to protect the body from the invading “foreign” substances.

This protective process stimulates the nerves as some of these chemicals cause a leak of fluid into the tissues, increasing the blood flow to the area of injury or infection.

This results in swelling, which compresses nerve endings thus causing pain. Inflammation can be characterised therefore by redness, swelling, pain and usually a loss of function.

Chronic Inflammation can promote many diseases

Once the body has healed by removing the substance that was causing the problem, inflammation goes away. But if the injurious agent continues to be present, chronic inflammation will result and this can last many days, months or even years.

Chronic inflammation is almost always accompanied by tissue destruction or at least a degree of tissue dysfunction which will then manifest as disease. What kind of disease you end up with depends on how or where the particular inflammation is developing. Our immune system is overloaded and allergic reactions become rampant.

Food allergies can be traced to this state of inflammation when it is realised that 60% of your functioning immune system surrounds your gut lining. Rheumatoid arthritis is also an autoimmune disease. In this case, the immune system attacks the joint cartilage.

Depending on a person’s genetic predisposition, some may develop atherosclerosis; others may get cancer; still others develop Alzheimer’s disease or osteoporosis. Some people suffer constantly with back pain, headaches, brain “fog” or a sensitive gut.

Atherosclerosis, for example, can be seen as an inflammatory state that develops slowly and goes unnoticed inside the coronary blood vessels until one has a sudden heart attack. Similarly, a sensitive gut can develop from chronic inflammation of the cells lining the digestive tract.

Asthma or bronchitis manifests when the bronchial tubes become blocked by inflammation, or the muscles controlling them become constricted as the muscle cells become inflamed.

Fatty Acids and Inflammation

To be healthy, there are around 50 essential nutrients that our body must have, nutrients which govern life, growth and vitality. Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) are among these important nutrients

These are the fats necessary to human health, which the body cannot synthesise for itself internally and so must be obtained through diet.

Science has found that two particular types of EFAs called omega 3 and Omega 6 and the balance of these two nutrients is vital to good health.

Grains contain too much Omega 6 in relation to Omega 3 and that is an important reason to limit their intake.