Inflammation Information

A big topic in the health space at the moment is inflammation. A lot of anti-inflammatory foods and diets are getting a lot of air time. But what exactly is inflammation and how does it affect us?

What is inflammation?

Inflammation is the immune system’s response to harmful stimuli, such as pathogens, damaged cells, toxic substances, or irradiation₁. Your immune system becomes activated when your body recognises anything that is foreign—such as an invading microbe, plant pollen, or chemical. This then triggers the inflammation response₂.

Inflammation is part of the healing process and the body needs a certain level of inflammation to fight infections and for injuries to heal. Classic signs of inflammation include; redness, heat, pain, and swelling. Health issues start to occur when inflammation persists, even though there is no ‘invader’ i.e. the inflammation becomes chronic.

There are many causes that lead to ‘classic signs’ of inflammation such as an injury or cut. However, in our modern day society there are many more factors that can affect our immunity and consequently inflammation:

– Stress – Pain killers

– Food – Medication such antibiotics

– If you were born c-section

Inflammation & health problems

When inflammation becomes chronic, it makes us more susceptible to illness and disease₃ because the immune system becomes chronically activated. Some chronic diseases associated with cellar inflammation are; obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, alzheimer’s, asthma, allergies, and inflammatory conditions (diseases ending with “itis”).

How to reduce inflammation

Diet and lifestyle can play a very powerful role in helping us to reduce inflammation, especially chronic inflammation.

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Diet : An anti-inflammatory diet should include these foods:

  • tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and collards
  • nuts like almonds and walnuts
  • fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines
  • fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges

And avoid these foods:

  • refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and pastries
  • French fries and other fried foods
  • soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages
  • red meat (burgers, steaks) and processed meat (hot dogs, sausage)
  • margarine, shortening, and lard

Lifestyle : Depending what is causing inflammation, incorporating some lifestyle factors can also help reduce inflammation:

  • Exercise regularly. This not only aids weight loss (being over weight is more inflammatory) but also helps release endorphins – the feel good hormones!

Have you thought about including some anti-inflammatory foods and practices into your life? If you’re not sure where to start or find it a bit overwhelming please feel free to reach out or book a free consultation.

Have a great day!

Love Emma x

Anti-Inflammatory Turmeric Tea Recipe

makes 2 cups

Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin with boasts amazing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. I’ve added ginger, lemon and honey to make it warming and energising at the same time.

Ingredients:

– 1 tbsp fresh grated turmeric (or 1/2 tsp ground, but fresh is best)

– 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger (or 1/2 tsp ground, but fresh is best)

– 1 whole lemon

– 1-2 tsp honey (can sub for maple syrup)

– 1 pinch black pepper (helps with the absorption of the turmeric)

– 3 cups water

Method:

1. To a small saucepan add the turmeric, ginger, lemon juice, honey and pepper.

2. Bring to a simmer (not boil) over a medium heat.

3. Strain over a serving glass and divide between 2 mugs. You can dilute it if it is too strong for you.

References:

  1. Chen et al., 2018, Inflammatory responses and inflammation-associated diseases in organs, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5805548/
  2. Harvard’s Women’s Health Watch, 2014, Foods that fight inflammation, https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/foods-that-fight-inflammation
  3. Institute of Integrative Nutrition, 2020, Module 14, Allergy & Inflammation

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