Without inflammation wounds wouldn’t be able to heal, and infections would turn deadly.
Having said that, inflammation can also be problematic…
“Activation of inflammatory reactions by the immune system is of vital importance to the preservation of cellular and organ integrity in a hostile environment. It is a complex and fine-tuned mechanism. Insufficient response may cause immunodeficiency resulting in infection and cancer while overactivity may result in diseases like arthritis, diabetes, atherosclerosis, ischemic heart disease, heart failure, stroke, inflammatory bowel disease or Alzheimer’s disease.” Source: NCBI
There are two classifications of inflammation:
- Acute inflammation, which is short term
- Chronic inflammation, lasts longer than a month and up to years.
There is an understandable misconception between the difference of infection and inflammation. An infection is caused by a bacteria, virus or fungus and inflammation is the body’s immune response to that infection.
The inflammatory response in the body can be triggered by physical, chemical and biological agents. This inflammatory process uses chemicals from your body’s white blood cells, which are released into the bloodstream and sent to the affected area for protection. This is the essential process of the body trying to heal itself. The first stage of inflammation is known as irritation, followed by inflammation, followed by suppuration (pus discharge – I know, eeew), followed by the granulation stage (or wound formation) which completes the healing process.
The inflammatory process is triggered in the body for a variety of reasons. Certain foods – sugars and high trans-fatty acid foods as two of the biggest culprits – cause the body to produce those inflammatory chemicals. And, did you know that stress contributes to brain inflammation, resulting in symptoms such as lack of sleep, depression and disruption of appetite?!?
The main reason why we need to manage inflammation is because it may not necessarily cause any lasting damage on its own, but if left untreated it may create a hospitable environment for chronic diseases.
Top Five Anti-inflammatory Foods
Fighting inflammation through good nutrition should be our first line of defense and may help alleviate and even alter the course of impending disease!
- Fish, high in two omega-3 fatty acids – eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid. Both are potent anti-inflammatories, they also help lower the risks of heart disease and stroke.
- Brightly colored fruits and vegetables including spinach, avocados, cruciferous vegetables, nuts and berries will give you a power house of nutrients, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory benefits.
- Thermogenic spices such as cayenne, turmeric, ginger and cloves inhibit the bio-chemical process of inflammation.
- Olive oil is a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, use liberally and especially in your salad dressings.
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