Acute inflammation is part of a normal biological immune response and is a necessary part of our healing. For example, think of a fever fighting off bacteria, or skin responding to a burn.
The concern with inflammation is when it becomes chronic. Chronic inflammation is seen in many diseases, such as asthma and arthritis. It occurs when your body is constantly in a state of stress or “alert”. Chronic inflammation is a head-to-toe, whole body problem that isn’t as easily identifiable as acute inflammation, which presents via symptoms such as redness and swelling.
"People think inflammation needs to be stomped out at all times, but it plays an essential role in healing and injury repair to keep your body safe and healthy. Some inflammation is good. Too much is often bad. The goal is to recognize when inflammation is simply doing its job, and when it can potentially cause problems."
- Dr. Robert H. Shmerling
In fact, over time, chronic inflammation can actually lead to DNA damage, tissue death, and internal scarring. Chronic inflammation is associated with heart disease, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, and bowel diseases such as Crohn's and ulcerative colitis.
So, what can you do to reduce inflammation in your body? (Spoiler alert, you’ve heard all this before!) Reduce sugar intake, eat well, get lots of sleep, drink less alcohol, move your body.
There are, however, specific choices you can make to help reduce unhealthy inflammation.
Anti-inflammatory diets focus on fresh fruits and vegetables, and getting plenty of antioxidants found in plant-based foods. Research suggests that a Mediterranean diet can reduce the effects of inflammation on the cardiovascular system.
In addition, reducing stress in your daily life via self-awareness appears to have a role to play. According to authors Deepak Chopra, MD, and Rudolph E. Tanzi, PHD:
- The pressure of work deadlines induce a level of stress that’s chronic, and we adapt to it by blocking it out, eventually even normalizing it.
- Unexpressed negative emotions and tension are communicated back and forth between the brain, heart, and gut along the vagus nerve, creating diminished function and often show up in a tight stomach, an irritated bowel, constipation, and other signs of inflammation.
- Inflammation is a complex issue that largely occurs at a hidden cellular level, but the stress response is something we can control in everyday life. It starts with self-awareness.
They believe that in addition to addressing diet and exercise, the next step in our healing journey is to look at how stress and the healing response are connected at the deepest level.
Regardless, a healthier diet and taking measures to reduce stress can never be a wrong move.
As always, we at Loba share information for entertainment and educational purposes only. We’ll discuss products and regimens that we like and have worked for us, but everyone and every body is different. We are not medical practitioners. Please be sure to consult a physician and/or a naturopath prior to beginning any diet or health a regimen.