You’re on your typical morning run when your foot rolls off the curb, and instant pain shoots up your leg. By the time you make it home, your ankle is swollen and hot to the touch. You reach for the Ibuprofen to help, but what caused this pain and swelling? It’s inflammation, and it has become a health endemic. So, what should you know about inflammation?
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, and this should not be considered as medical advice. You should seek an appropriate diagnosis for your own situation. I may earn a small commission for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services from this website. Your purchase helps support my work in bringing you real information about simple wellness.
1.It can be a good thing.
Much like a fever, inflammation is actually due to your body fighting infection or damaged tissue. Heat, pain, redness, and swelling are all sign that your immune system has started working! The trouble comes when your immune system doesn’t shut down after the problem is solved. This is called chronic inflammation which is a serious condition that can lead to chronic disease.
2. Inflammation can affect many parts of your body.
Arthritis, gastritis, colitis, dermatitis, and anything ending in -itis are all inflammatory conditions. Inflammation can occur in your joints, organs, and bones. It’s also linked to many other health issues like obesity, migraine headaches, diabetes, infections, allergies, autoimmune diseases, depression, and cancer. The point is that inflammation is a big health concern. It isn’t something that should be ignored, because it could mean something more serious is happening in your body.
3. It isn’t caused by one or two things.
According to Meals that Heal Inflammation: Embrace Healthy Living and Eliminate Pain, One Meal at a Time by Julie Daniluk, there are six causes of inflammation.
- Toxicity– The build up of toxins in your body leads to inflammation. When left unchecked, chronic inflammation reduces your body’s ability to rid itself of these toxins leading to further inflammation.
- Infection– When left untreated, infection leads to inflammation. A healthy balance of yeast and bacteria is key to fighting off infections.
- Allergy– When your food is digested poorly, it can become an allergen. In order to flush out the allergen, your body will retain water resulting in bloating and further inflammation.
- Nutritional deficiency or excess– There is a slew of foods that can cause inflammation when eaten in excesses such as sugar and flour. These refined carbohydrates flood your body with glucose which can damage blood vessels and tissue. Inflammation is your body’s response to the damage.
- Injury– Sprained ankles, jammed fingers, paper cuts, and bruises are all examples of injuries that jump-start our immune system. Inflammation is our bodies way of telling us something is wrong.
- Emotional Trauma– Some emotions can cause high levels of adrenaline or cortisol causing hormone in balance. This, in turn, can cause your immune system to react with inflammation.
4. The opposite of number three is also true.
There are many things to help fight inflammation.
- NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)- The most common treatment for inflammation is NSAIDS. Think Asprin, Ibuprofen, Naproxen, and Celecoxib. I prefer natural alternatives to avoid the health issues that come along with taking NSAIDs over long periods of time.
- Diet– Based on what we know causes inflammation, we can fight it with the proper food choices. Avoid toxins by eating organic as much as possible. Try to buy the dirty dozen organic every time, or opt for other options. Also, avoid foods that are known allergens to yourself and your family. If you do not know what your body reacts to, you can rid your diet of the most common allergens, and introduce them back into your diet one at a time while watching for signs of inflammation. Try to eat everything in moderation. Don’t overdo the sugar or grains. Lastly, eat foods known to fight inflammation such as garlic, onions, berries, and dark leafy greens.
- Supplements– Research shows that supplementing over time can significantly reduce inflammation. Although the relief isn’t as instant as it is with NSAIDs, supplements are a more natural option shown to actually help the body restore itself instead of just treating the symptoms. My go-to supplement of choice is turmeric. I drink it as tea, I put it in all my food, and I take the supplement when I have a headache. Other supplements to try are flax seed oil, astaxanthin, green tea, systemic enzymes and fish oil. Be smart when it comes to supplements. Do the necessary research before taking anything.
- Exercise– This is an obvious one. Research shows that people who exercise regularly have lower levels of C-reactive protein, which is a sign of inflammation. Also, sweat rids the body of toxins.
- Drink up– Water is key when ridding the body of toxins. Make sure to drink eight cups each day. Green tea is also a good choice due to it being a natural diuretic, which is known to increase the amount of urine excreted.
5. Lastly, inflammation is not a normal part of getting older.
Much to our dismay, we cannot blame our aches and pains on aging. Inflammation is caused by what we put into our bodies. More and more young people are being treated for “old people diseases” such as arthritis and diabetes. This is not a coincidence! Our eating habits have a huge impact on our health. Take care of yourself now to live a fuller life later.
I would love to hear about your experience with inflammation. What did you find most helpful for treatment? Were you able to stick to it? Comment below. Also, if you found this post helpful, please share with your friends.