Are You Chronically Inflammed?
Inflammation, put simply, is the body’s response to a perceived threat. This normal and beneficial process occurs when the body’s white blood cells and chemicals protect you from foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses.
In order to stay healthy, we must have a level of inflammation in our body. When balanced, the body has the ability to counter the inflammatory chemicals that are produced when it perceives a danger as described. However, it is also possible, and increasingly common, for the inflammatory response to become excessive and out-of-hand.
When the body becomes imbalanced, it loses its ability to produce anti-inflammatory chemicals to counteract inflammation. If your immune system mistakenly triggers an inflammatory response when no threat is present, it can lead to excessive inflammation – a condition that can manifest as arthritis, colitis, fatigue, sinusitis, asthma, cancer, autoimmune disease, allergies, heart disease and chronic pain, dependent upon which part of the body the inflammation is affecting.
Chronic Inflammation vs Acute Inflammation
If you have a cut, infection or injury, inflammation is vital for protecting and healing your body. White blood cells and other chemicals are sent to the injured area to fight off foreign bodies. Acute inflammation usually results in symptoms like redness, warmth, pain, swelling or reduced function or movement.
Chronic inflammation, there are often no symptoms until a loss of function occurs. Chronic inflammation is generally low-grade and systemic, silently damaging organs. Such a process can go on for years without you noticing, until a disease like heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, MS, colitis, Crohn’s or rheumatoid arthritis appears.
Cause and Effect
Chronic inflammation can be the results of an over-reactive or dysfunctional immune system, or there may be a problem that the body is attempting to fight off. However, many of the cases of chronic inflammation that occur are due to unhealthy lifestyles.
Chronic inflammation is usually seen in people who have high intakes of omega-6 fatty acids, trans fats, sugar and highly-processed foods. Those who lead lives with high stress, are overweight, exercise intensely (or not enough), each high carb meals, smoke, drink, have diabetes or existing heart conditions are also at risk for chronic inflammation.
So how do we control inflammation? Like other complaints, a lot of us reach for aspirin or nurofen. Or, if the pain is really bad, you reach for an NSAID (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory). The scary thing is that cox-2 inhibitors (NSAID’s) are responsible for thousands of hospitalisations and adverse side-effects, like bleeding from the bowel, that occur every year. In fact, Vioxx, an anti-inflammatory prescription drug brought out in the 1990’s was responsible for killing more than 60,000 people from strokes and heart attacks – conditions that the drug was meant to be protecting against!
The real answer to controlling inflammation and preventing disease lies in nutrition and exercise. Certain foods, nutrients and natural medicines have powerful anti-inflammatory effects.
Simple lifestyle changes will go a long way toward reducing chronic inflammation in the body. Focusing on these changes may just help you avoid disease and autoimmune dysfunction in the future:
Avoid pro-inflammatory foods like the plague. Foods like trans fats, fried foods (think any fast-food), sugar, grains, foods cooked at high temperatures and cholesterol-filled foods should be avoided at all costs.
Omega-6 fatty acids are found mostly in vegies, as well as their oils. In moderation, and in the correct omega-6 to omega-3 ratio is fine, however with our westernized diets, our ratio is more like 30:1. Omega-6 fatty acids, when eaten in abundance, are converted to saturated fats, which primarily have a pro-inflammatory effect – hence reducing fatty, fried foods.
Base your diet on fresh vegies, fruit, lean meat, fish and limited dairy. Cut the bread, grains and processed foods out. Anything that comes wrapped in foil, in a box, or that doesn’t resemble its’ original form should be eliminated.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are powerful anti-inflammatory agents. The typical diet lacks in essential fatty acids. Additional benefits of omega-3’s include increasing the body’s ability to burn fat, reducing cholesterol and triglycerides, enhancing immunity, lowering blood pressure and improving metabolism. EPA from fish oil is particularly prominent in the reduction of inflammation.
Eat plenty of cold water fish, legumes, green vegies and nuts. You will need to supplement as well with a good quality, high-potency fish oil like Bioceuticals Ultra-Clean EPA/DHA Plus. Daily use will help to radically reduce inflammation and modulate inflammatory response.
Regular exercise is a great way to reduce body weight and lower inflammation by modulating and regulating inflammatory response without any side-effects associated with medications.
Smoking hardens your arteries and increases inflammation. Research has shown though that it’s never too late to quit. Give up now, before it’s too late.
Use a Natural Anti-Inflammatory
If you are in the risk group for chronic inflammation (see cause and effect), or have been diagnosed with an inflammatory condition, you need to take a specialised natural anti-inflammatory. This formula will reduce inflammatory response, exuding calming effects throughout the tissues of the body and reducing mediating causes.