Inflammation is the body’s instant response to infection or irritation. In an acute situation – a cut, broken bone or insect bite – inflammation is needed to help heal the trauma. The body reacts immediately to acute trauma with swelling, redness, pain and heat —all really important because these reactions keep the body from doing further damage to the injury or wound.
However, chronic inflammation is an ongoing, low level of inflammation, usually invisible to the eye. It often happens in response to prolonged acute inflammation or repetitive injuries. We are now finding that chronic inflammation is associated with so many diseases.
The common thread linking a wide variety of common health problems — from obesity and diabetes, heart disease , cancer, allergies and ongoing pain — is chronic inflammation.
Science is showing more and more evidence linking chronic inflammation with chronic diseases, and we have seen a huge increase in these disease over the last few decades and the number is still going up. Interestingly, the chronic diseases associated with inflammation all have a nutritional connection too.
So much of chronic inflammation starts with your diet – your diet plays a key role in the chain of events that lead to the inflammation. Being liberal in your use of high-quality herbs and spices is one simple way to boost the anti-inflammatory quality of your food
Four herbs and spices found to do a great job in an anti-inflammatory role are cloves, ginger, rosemary, and turmeric. These amazing herbs rank even higher in antioxidant activity than fruits and vegetables, which are known to be high in antioxidants. Many studies have also shown that most spices tend to have many other unique medicinal qualities too.
A number of foods are well-known for their anti-inflammatory properties, and making sure you’re eating a wide variety of them on a regular basis can go a long way towards preventing chronic illness.
Some of the best anti-inflammatory foods
Fish oil can also ease the inflammation and pain caused by many chronic conditions.
Dark leafy greens such as kale, spinach, collard greens and Swiss chard contain powerful antioxidants, flavonoids, carotenoids, and vitamin C – all of which help protect against cellular damage.
Blueberries rate very high in antioxidant capacity compared to other fruits and vegetables. They are also lower in sugar than many other fruits.
The flavonoids in green tea are a very potent, natural anti-inflammatory.
Garlic exerts its benefits on multiple levels, offering anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, and antioxidant properties.
Shiitake mushrooms contain the natural ability to discourage inflammation and inhibit oxidative stress.
This fabulous spice contains a ‘magic’ compound called curcumin – shown to have comparable anti-inflammatory effects to many potent drugs, but without the side effects.
Called ‘the fruit of angels’ by Christopher Colombus, papaya contains a compound called papain. When this enzyme mixes with Vit C and E (also in papaya) the combination has great anit-inflammatory effects as well as improving digestion and healing from burns.
Lifestyle considerations for lowering inflammation:
- a good nights sleep: so many important repair processes in the body ONLY happen at night whilst you’re asleep. ensure you give yourself time to wind down before bed and ensure some healthy zzzz’s are high on your list of priorities
- stress management: laugh, have fun – do things that make your heart sing, slow down. Give your body time to calm down and repair itself. Introduce 15 minutes of meditation per day…watch the difference
- exercise: aim for 30 minutes of decent exercise as many days as you can. Get the heart rate up, get a glow – both these things help the body deal with inflammation
If you feel chronic inflammation may be at the cause of some of your health issues, contact us at the Natural Chemist to discuss your options with one of our expert team T: 1300 882 303, or email: email@example.com to book a consult.
Hechtman L, 2014, Clinical Naturopathic Medicine. Churchill Livingstone, Sydney
Osiecki, H, 2014, The Nutrient Bible, 9th Edn, BioConcepts Publishing, QLD
Pizzorno JE, 2008, The Clinician’s Handbook of Natural Medicine, 2nd Edn, Churchill Livingstone, USA