What is Inflammation?
Inflammation is a term that is frequently used but do we really understand what it means? It is defined as a localised condition in which a part of the body becomes red, hot, swollen and sometimes painful as a reaction to an injury or infection.
Inflammation does not have to be on the outside of our body, it can also occur internally and may cause us discomfort, pain, swelling, or just not feeling quite right.
It is a vital part of our body’s immune system as it is the body’s attempt to heal itself, defend against foreign invaders and repair damaged tissue.
Acute inflammation is necessary for your immune function, however chronic inflammation can have drastic effects.
Chronic inflammation can lead to inflammatory diseases such as:
- autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis etc.
- inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn's or ulcerative colitis
Chronic inflammation can also increase your risk of other health conditions such as:
- heart disease
- lung issues
So how can we support a reduction of chronic inflammation if we do not even know that we have it?
You can find out your inflammation levels through blood pathology. C-reactive protein is a marker for inflammation in the body. You can also test the erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) for acute inflammation.
But you can also work out how inflamed you may be by your current diet and lifestyle.
- Are you burning the candle at both ends?
- Is your diet not as healthy as you would like?
- Are your stress levels above a 5/10 regularly?
- Are you waking unrefreshed from sleep?
Don’t stress if this is you, you can support your inflammation starting today!
The easiest way to support chronic inflammation is by implementing an anti-inflammatory diet and undertaking an anti-inflammatory lifestyle.
You can do this by altering your diet:
- increase your vegetable content making sure you are consuming a wide variety of different coloured vegetables
- increasing your oily fish content - oily fish contain omega 3 fatty acids which have been shown to support a reduction in inflammation. Oily fish include: salmon, sardines and mackerel
- Nuts such as walnuts are also great ways to increase your omega 3 content
- Add spices into your diet - turmeric, ginger, garlic, oregano, rosemary, cayenne pepper, and cinnamon have all shown to have anti-inflammatory properties
- Berries contain polyphenols which have been shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect on the body
- Reducing foods that cause inflammation: alcohol, caffeine, processed foods and sugar rich foods
To support an anti-inflammatory lifestyle:
- increase relaxation techniques to match stress levels - we all have stress so it is about increasing your relaxation to balance the stress
- ensuring adequate sleep
- having fun - doing something you enjoy on a regular basis supports a reduction in inflammation
- regular exercise supports your immune function
Naturopaths have a wide range of herbs and nutrients that can further support inflammation, so if you are concerned about your health, please book a consultation today!