Inflammation can be defined as your body’s reaction to an injury, which in turn is defined as anything that causes your body to have a reaction. An injury can be anything from a season cold or allergies to a sprained ankle or broken bone.
Inflammation is essentially swelling: your body rushes fluid to the site of the injury: in some cases this is to isolate and dilute infection while in others it is to pad a joint to prevent further injury (as in an ankle sprain.
The Cause of Inflammation
Inflammation affects all of us and has many causes including poor diet choices, food sensitivities and allergies, exposure to chemicals and toxins, and a number of other factors such as:
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Use of certain medications
- Hormone imbalances
- Emotional and physical stress
- Insulin resistance
Inflammation is reaction to your body perceiving that it is being injured, fighting off disease, or battling infection. “Injury,” defined as anything that causes a reaction in your body, stimulates the lymphatic and immune system, sending a swarm of white blood cells to save the day.
Not all inflammation is harmful. Our body’s natural defense system often works to inflame itself to protect us from further harm. For instance, if you injure your knee, it will become inflamed or swell. This swelling is a part of the natural healing process, and serves as padding to prevent the joint from further harm. When we “catch” a seasonal cold, our body fights to heal itself. The symptoms we experience are forms of inflammation. Inflammation that is harmful, and that we want to protect ourselves from is long term and chronic.
Most disease can be traced to Inflammation, which is the primary cause of many different diseases such as leaky gut syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), certain cancers, arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and asthma. To achieve optimal health and wellness, we must therefore address the issue of inflammation.
Typically, modern medicine works to treat symptoms rather than finding the root cause of the issue. Doctors ask what, rather than why. For example, heart disease is an inflammation of the arteries. Arthritis is a result of chronic inflammation in various joints. Large pharmaceutical companies create drugs designed to treat the symptoms of this inflammation rather than the inflammation itself.
For instance, they prescribe pain relievers to deal with pain, diuretics to reduce swelling, and some drugs that suppress inflammation in the joints by reducing the effectiveness of the immune system, opening the patient up to other diseases and issues. Addressing the inflammation overall is an essential part of healing disease rather than just treating symptoms.
How Do We Deal with Inflammation?
voiding foods that trigger chronic inflammation is one of the most readily available options to protect your body. Common food sensitivities and allergies can go undiagnosed for an entire lifetime and can be the root cause of a number of diseases and illnesses.
Trigger foods should be removed during a two week (or even longer) elimination diet that avoids foods such as dairy, wheat, gluten, soy, corn, peanuts, caffeine, and processed foods. If other food allergies run in your family history, you may want to consider adding those foods to the no list during your cleanse as well. Following the elimination phase, reintroduce food items one at a time to test their effect on your body so you know which ones to avoid in the future.
Fighting inflammation is not just about avoiding the wrong foods, it is also about adding foods that help counteract inflammatory elements of your diet. Actively adding anti-inflammatory foods into your diet helps your body to heal and avoid inflammation in the first place.
A clean diet that contains a variety of fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains and healthy fats will help build your body’s immune system. Supplementing your meals with a probiotic will help you feed your gut healthy bacteria and grow a colony of beneficial flora and fauna in your digestive tract. As overall inflammation is reduced, you may see symptoms begin to disappear and potentially even heal your body from illness and disease.
Inflammation is something we all deal with from time to time. It is not all harmful, as it is part of our body’s natural defense system. However, long term chronic inflammation is not healthy, and is something we should work to avoid. If left untreated, it can cause permanent damage and lead to long term illness and open us up to disease.
Determining what foods to avoid through a short term elimination diet, adding the right foods and probiotics to your diet, and eating clean organic foods that are free of toxins will reduce inflammation and result in a healthier you.