Inflammation causes pain and can lead to chronic disease, but it is also one of the ways your body tries to help you.
When there is an assault or injury to your body, your immune system responds by sending cells to the injured area. These extra cells help by fighting infection and healing injuries, but this work results in inflammation.
The trouble is, we are often injuring our bodies, and therefore causing inflammation, without intending to or even knowing this is happening.
For example, common practices like these may lead to chronic inflammation:
- Eating processed foods and added sugars
- Exposing yourself to toxins in makeup, cleaning supplies, and plastics
- Depriving your body of healthy fats with a low-fat diet
- Allowing your blood sugar to spike with high sugar intake
- Smoking and drinking
Each of these could be perceived by your body as an injury, and your immune system has no other choice than to respond.
There Are Two Types of Inflammation: Acute and Chronic
Acute inflammation is from an obvious injury, like smashing your finger, twisting your knee or getting the flu.
Your immune response is quick and appropriate, your symptoms improve, and you get better.
A lot of the pain you feel after an injury or illness is actually due to the inflammation caused by your immune system’s response to the injury or illness. Examples are warmth, redness, pain, swelling, achy joints, and fever.
Chronic inflammation is the result of injury that happens slowly over a long time. And, unfortunately, you may not be aware that this injury is happening.
Chronic inflammation is strongly linked to chronic diseases like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, autoimmune disorders, rashes, allergies, and depression.
Imagine if you smashed your finger several times every day. Your immune system would keep sending cells, causing inflammation, and you would never get better. Not only that, but you would end up with a messed-up finger.
The thing is, if you smashed your finger several times every day, you would make it stop. You would avoid whatever smashed it or wear a splint to protect it. You would make an adjustment.
Eating processed foods and exposing yourself to toxins multiple times every day can result in a “smashed liver” or “sprained gut,” triggering an immune response and causing vague symptoms that make you to feel ill and could ultimately result in a serious disease, like diabetes or a heart attack.
Fight Inflammation with Antioxidant-rich Foods
Anti-inflammatory foods are high in antioxidants. Antioxidants neutralize excess free radicals to protect cells, prevent illness, and reduce inflammation.
Try these anti-inflammatory foods:
- Focus on crunchy, leafy vegetables. Enjoy a cabbage slaw, steam some broccoli, bake some kale chips, or put bell pepper on a salad
- Add berries to your smoothie or enjoy on top of yogurt
- Cook with olive oil or coconut oil
- Enjoy avocado on toast, in a salad, or make guacamole
- Grill some salmon, check out a new fish like herring or mackerel, or try some sardines as a salty snack
- Enjoy a trail mix of nuts and dark chocolate
If you are interested in learning more about using food as medicine, please reach out to Amaze. Whether you are interested in losing weight, discovering healthy eating habits, or managing a chronic disease with healthy foods, the Wellness team at Amaze can help.
Connect with our team through your Amaze account, or call (720) 577-5251.