What is inflammation and what causes it?
Inflammation is a defence mechanism by our white blood cells that protect us from foreign invading particles like bacteria or viruses. It’s an essential healing process of our body. In some cases, the body’s defence mechanism triggers inflammation even though there are no invaders to fight off. This can cause autoimmune diseases like type 1 diabetes or arthritis. Inflammation can also cause a variety of chronic diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, asthma, Alzheimer’s, and obesity.
Inflammation can be acute (short-lived) or chronic (long-lasting). Inflammation has a wide range of symptoms. They include swollen, painful, and stiff joints along with redness. The symptoms can also be flu-like, such as fever, fatigue, chills, headaches, loss of appetite, and muscle stiffness. You’ll often only see a few of these symptoms. Acute inflammation isn’t really bad. It clears pathogens, repairs the affected area, and goes away. The main problem is chronic inflammation.
Inflammation occurs when the body’s white blood cells excrete chemicals that enter the blood or tissues to defend the body against foreign invaders. As a result, blood flow to the injured area or infection increases. This causes warmth and redness. A few of the chemicals cause fluid leakage into the tissues, causing swelling. The process triggers the nerves and causes pain. Over time, white blood cells and their products irritate joints, make the joint lining swell up, and cause cartilage loss.
We’ve established what inflammation is and what causes it. Now let’s look at five methods of getting rid of it.
Light therapy is a non-invasive, natural drug-free therapy where concentrated wavelengths of light are directed towards the skin and cells. The light stimulates the mitochondria of the cells, making them more energetic. This reduces oxidative stress, improves cell function and healing, and lowers pain and inflammation. The chronic inflammation is further alleviated as blood flow to the damaged tissue increases. Light therapy is also excellent for post-surgery inflammation and pain relief. It can also reduce oral inflammation.
There are several herbal supplements that can fight inflammation. Harpagophytum procumbens (also called devils claw) is a herb that comes from South Africa. It’s related to sesame plants. It has several anti-inflammatory properties. Hyssop can be mixed with licorice to treat airway inflammation. Fresh ginger is excellent for treating rheumatoid arthritis pain. Turmeric contains curcumin, which can help with arthritis, Alzheimer’s, and other inflammatory conditions. You can put it in food or buy supplements. Cannabis contains cannabichromene, which has anti-inflammatory properties. Make sure to check if cannabis is legal in your area. Make sure to talk to your doctor before you use any herbal or other supplements.
Food and exercise
Certain foods can help with inflammation. The choice of diet is as important as medication and supplements. Including fresh vegetables and fruits and reduced sugar intake can have a significant effect on your condition. Consume food rich with omega-3 fatty acids. Best sources of omega 3 include flax seeds, soybeans, walnuts, tofu, and cold-water fish like tuna and salmon. Other anti-inflammatory foods include celery, garlic, tea, olive oil, celery, grapes, and rosemary. If you’re planning on a whole diet overhaul, then a Mediterranean diet is perfect. Mediterranean diet limits unhealthy fats like red meat, egg yolks, and butter, along with processed and refined sugars and carbs. It consists primarily of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fish.
Avoid foods with trans fat like margarine, corn oil, processed food, and deep-fried food.
Losing weight should be a priority. Overweight people tend to have more inflammation. You’ll significantly reduce the chances of inflammation with weight loss. Exercise is absolutely essential. It might be difficult with a busy schedule, but inflammation will hurt you more in the long run. Forty minutes of aerobic exercise, along with 20 minutes of resistance or weight training four to five times a week will help you go a long way.
Blood sugar control
Overconsumption of refined carbohydrates and added sugars leads to AGE production, LDL cholesterol, gut permeability, weight gain, and inflammatory markers. These factors can trigger low-grade chronic inflammation.
Try to limit or outright avoid simple carbohydrates (white flour, refined sugar, white rice, or high fructose corn syrup). White food, in general, should be avoided (white bread, rice, pasta). Chart your diet around lean proteins and fiber-rich food. Switch to brown rice and whole wheat bread.
Chronic stress can lead to inflammation. Meditation or yoga can help you curb stress. Remove unnecessary hurdles from your life. Exercising and eating healthy can also reduce stress, along with proper sleep. Try going to a professional if the situation is too bad.
Inflammation is a severe issue that can be combated with very simple solutions. Following these tips and keeping an eye out on the possible symptoms will help you avoid or overcome inflammation.