Inflammation, have you heard it mentioned recently? What does it mean and what does it have to do with weight gain, tiredness, pain?
What is inflammation?
Inflammation is part of the bodies defence against something harmful, such as bacteria, a virus, injury or a toxin and it is part of the healing process. In some cases, such as auto-immune diseases, the body triggers an inflammatory response where there is no foreign invader.
Acute or chronic inflammation
Inflammation can be acute or chronic. Acute inflammation may be in response to an illness or injury. The symptoms include redness, swelling, pain, loss of function and heat. The inflammation generally only lasts a few days. You’ve probably experienced this many times.
In chronic inflammation, the response lingers, and can last for months or years, leaving your body in a constant state of alert. Symptoms vary but may include:
- tiredness, fatigue or insomnia
- depression, anxiety and mood disorders
- gastrointestinal complaints such as constipation, diarrhea or acid reflux
- weight gain or weight loss
- frequent infections
Over time the bodies inflammatory response can result in damage to healthy organs and cells leading to DNA damage, tissue death and scarring. These have been linked to diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, asthma.
The cause of chronic inflammation cannot always be identified, potential causes include untreated acute inflammation, autoimmune disorders and long term exposure to toxins. Our reaction to these vary, so what shows up as chronic inflammation for one person may not be present for another person. Other factors experts believe play a part in inflammation include obesity, smoking, alcohol and chronic stress – tick any boxes?
Inflammation is a natural and necessary part of the healing process. Low grade inflammation can be occurring without your knowledge. However, a high level of inflammation in the body can cause many health problems and needs to be addressed. There are multiple avenues for addressing chronic inflammation, in this post I’m going to elaborate on diet and supplements (well I am a nutritionist!).
Impact of diet on inflammation
Some foods are naturally anti-inflammatory these include:
- olive oil
- leafy greens,
- oily fish such as salmon, trout, sardines and mackerel,
- nuts and
- fruit especially blueberries, avocados, papaya and olives.
There are also some foods which increase inflammation in your body, these include:
- fried food – hot chips, battered fish
- refined carbohydrates and processed foods such as white bread, pasta, biscuits, potato chips, margarine
- red meat
- processed meat
Contact me if you are interested in a more detailed list. Each person is unique and will respond to foods differently. A nutritionist can help to determine which foods are beneficial for you and which may be detrimental. Metabolic Balance is an excellent program for addressing inflammation and clients love feeling less tired, fewer aches and fitting into their clothes again.
Supplements that may help reduce inflammation include fish oil, curcumin and lipoic acid. These have all been linked to decreased inflammation. Spices such as garlic, ginger and cayenne may also help with chronic inflammation and the associated illnesses.
It is important to seek the advice of a nutritionist who can help advise the right supplement dosage and form for you. Not all supplements are the same and a quality supplement will provide therapeutic strength, correct ratios and maximum absorption to achieve the desired benefits.
The post provides a short summary of the types of inflammation and how it can silently impact our bodies, making you feel less than 100%. Diet is one way to help address inflammation, if you would like help with this book in for a free 15 minute discovery call with me.