It’s no big secrete that inflammation causes a lot a health issues and we all know some way or form to help reduce everyday inflammation . But what if it was just as simple ways to prevent chronic inflammation?
In order to work that out, first of all we need to fully understand what inflammation is. Putting it bluntly inflammation is a process the body goes through to protect its self from harm. Say for example you bang our knee on a table, your immune system sends out thousands of white blood cells to protect the area of your knee you hurt and start healing any damage. Exactly the same way your body reacts to a cold or stomach upset.
This basic type of inflammation is good for us, as it keep our body healthy, the area in question flares up and then over a short period dies down and we have nothing to worry about. But sometimes we can cause our body to go through chronic inflammatory stress without even thinking about how we are doing it.
Take going to the gym, 7 days a week, twice a day. We are putting a lot of strain on our joints, tendons etc.. Especially if we only just started a new fitness routine and our body is just not use to it. This can cause chronic inflammatory, where our body is not getting enough time to rest and heal it’s self, resulting in the inflammation never going down because we are constantly injuring that area.
It’s not the inflammation that is the problem when you first injured yourself because your body reacted as it should by sending an army of white blood cells to heal that area. The problem starts when that area is injured, over and over again and although your body is doing everything correctly but the job it has to do is just too hard for it to cope with. Then the symptoms of inflammation just continue (swelling, pain, redness etc..) and the longer those symptoms go on for the more a problem they become.
We now know that everyday acute inflammation is a good sign our body is working correctly to heal its self. But what health issues or problems can be caused by chronic inflammation?
With chronic inflammation the body is on high alert 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Being on this high state of alert is not good for our health at all. In fact it can cause lasting damage to our heart, brain and other organs. This is because, when our inflammatory cells (white blood cells and cytokines ) hang around too long in our blood vessels they end up prompting a build up of plaque within our blood vessels. The plaque build up is dangerous as our body sees it as a foreign object and sends out more inflammatory cells or first responders to help get rid of these foreign objects. But instead of clearing the plaque (the bodies foreign object) it just promotes more build up of plaque and so the cycle keeps going around and around. As the plaque then builds up our arteries thicken, which can then cause a possible heart attack or stroke.
Other health issues chronic inflammation can cause:
- Damage to our intestinal lining leaving us with digestion issues
- Damage to our joints causing rheumatoid arthritis.
- Acid reflux
- Chronic pain
- High blood pressure
- Infections like urinary tract infections
There is no magic pill to end chronic inflammation but there are very simple ways we can help prevent it from happening to us.
Avoid antibiotics as much as you can – Because this medication can alter / harm you microbiome (the bugs in your gut), which help you not only digest food but also help regulate your immune system. By damaging these microbes, it causes inflammation, which then weakens the intestinal wall, allowing toxins to me leaked out and in turn triggers our body into an immune response.
Reduce your exposure to toxins – When our body encounters toxins (even environmental toxins) your body reacts by creating inflammation as these toxins are a harmful foreign substance to the body. By eating organic food using natural based products can help reduce the amount of toxins your body is exposed too.
Enjoy a good night rested sleep – There are tones of research that has proven, if you don’t get a good night sleep each night, where the body has time to full rest, can trigger chronic inflammatory changes. Try and get 7 / 8 hours sleep each night and allow yourself to drift off to sleep naturally without the help of electronic devices.
Rest between work outs – Taking plenty of time to rest between exercises routines helps reduce the likely hood of chronic inflammation because of an injury caused by your exercising. Remember exercises can make you weaker due to injury but recovery from your work outs makes you stronger!
Keep a check on your diet – Having a healthy diet is just as important when preventing chronic inflammation. Limit the amount of omega-6 fats, excess sugar and refined cards. But at the same time make sure you are getting enough Omega-3 from eating plenty of fresh fish (not fish oil supplements). Also by increase your intake of antioxidants from fresh fruit and vegetables helps lower your risk of chronic inflammation.
One of the simple and best ways to reduce any inflammation, acute or chronic is through introducing curcumin to your diet which is found in turmeric. Curcumin has a medicinal effect comparable to drugs such as hydrocortisone and phenylbutazone. It can be used to provide relief from rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, protect against diabetes and help prevent heart disease and stroke by preventing the build up of plaque in the arteries.
How to get the best benefit from turmeric
- Fresh or dried – The fresh or dried root can be used in place of ginger in most meals.
- Oil – Curcumin is better absorbed in the presence oils such coconut, olive, ghee and butter. Heating both the turmeric and oil slightly aids absorption.
- Drink – Stir 1 tbsp of turmeric powder into warm full fat or semi-skimmed milk will help treat painful joints.