Inflammation in a full physiological explanation is a complicated and extensive topic, especially when related to damage caused by inflammation and chronic diseases it's involved in. Chantal is going to break this topic down into just a few key points and some important advice for you as the issue of inflammation becomes more understood and the risks become clearer.
What is inflammation?
Inflammation is an immune response we require to survive. When a pathogen or toxin causes damage to our cells, or we sustain a physical injury like a cut finger, inflammation is the process that causes repair and healing. The signs of inflammation are heat, redness, swelling and pain, and sometimes loss of function. These are normal, and they tell us that our body is fighting to fix the problem.
Inflammation to fix acute injury or cell damage is paramount to our survival, and when we're injured this is crucial for us to heal. What becomes negative is when we are exposed to inflammation constantly, putting stress on our body and immune system due to our lifestyle choices, diet choices and environmental stressors. Worrying degenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and dementia, along with heart disease and stroke have had inflammation identified as one risk factor.
What causes negative inflammation?
Damage to our cells from processed foods, low nutrient intake, and constant exposure to chemical ingredients are major factors in inflammation.This is mainly due to the highly processed vegetable oils present in these packets, that raise our omega 6 to omega 3 ratio. Smoking is a major cause, lack of exercise (or even too much heavy exercise), heavy binge drinking or constant alcohol in your day to day life and exposure to environmental toxins are all heavy players in this dangerous health issue. Stress from jobs, relationships and general life (like buying a house in Auckland) are also major factors in inflammation.
What prevents and helps inflammation?
Let's start with healthy whole food and quality ingredients as they top the list. It's great to maintain a balanced lifestyle of regular exercise, low exposure to toxins (make up, perfumes, pesticides, cigarettes, environmental pollution) and regular healthy sleep. Your social events need to be productive and enjoyable, rather than stressful and negative, and avoiding foods that don't sit well with you all contribute to lowering your risk of inflammation. Certain supplements are crucial for those with hereditary risk factors also, including but not limited to arthritis, heart disease and MTHFR mutations.
Chantal's top foods to reduce inflammation include fatty fish, avocado, nuts and seeds, plenty of vegetables (especially green), fresh seasonal fruits and berries, plenty of water, and superfoods where you can.
For more in-depth information or specific issues you may have personally, it is key to speak with a qualified nutritionist, dietitian, and/or medical doctor.