Updated: Sep 10
Inflammation is actually a protective mechanism to help the body to overcome damage from injury and trauma. This should be short lived after an injury but for some people inflammation is constant and may be something they are not even aware of.
What is inflammation?
Acute inflammation is a short term response that occurs due to injury, infection and cellular stress. Generally signs of inflammation are redness, swelling and there may also be pain and loss of function. During an acute inflamed state the body increases its white blood cells to help with the tissue repair process, defend against infection and adapt to the stress. These signs and symptoms should resolve quickly allowing for the healing phase to occur. Chronic inflammation occurs when the defence system of the body keeps active and this can lead to chronic health problems.
Why not pain killers?
As much as pain killers may help to reduce the pain there is the issue with dependence and the need for higher doses, side effects may include gut inflammation, decreased kidney function and impaired liver function. Anti inflammatory painkillers also reduce the healing phase of the inflammation cycle. There are many natural anti inflammatory supplements that are available which can reduce pain but not cause the side effects that many pharmaceuticals may have.
Is food your fire?
Diet can play a role in decreasing inflammation as many foods are pro-inflammatory. This means they increase inflammation in the body.
A diet high in refined processed carbohydrates such as white bread, cereals and pasta can lead to inflammation.
A diet containing high amounts of trans fats such as deep fried foods, packaged and processed foods and seed oils.
Regular consumption of alcohol, coffee, soft drink and salt
Eating foods that may be causing digestive issues such as leaky gut. Food intolerance can cause an inflammatory process that you cant always see on the outside, so avoiding foods that may be individually causing your inflammation such as gluten, dairy, the nightshade family of foods or high histamine foods.
Reducing foods that are highly acidic such as red meat, sugar, alcohol, coffee, white potato, artificial sweeteners, chocolate can decrease inflammation.
Fish Oils are a great way to decrease inflammation but it is important to get a high strength and high quality fish oil as people many brands are not tested for heavy metals or plastic residue.
Tumeric is a traditional Ayverdic herb long used for pain and inflammation. One of the active compounds in tumeric is the curcuminoids, which have been shown to help with insulin resistance, cardiovascular disease, gastric inflammation, liver support as well as the pain pathway. Purchasing good quality tumeric from a reliable source is important as many cheaper formulas may be adulterated with fillers that may cause more harm.
Alkalising the body can help with decreasing pain signals.. Supplementing with an alkalising greens or eating a diet rich in alkaline foods can help as an acidic body can lead to weak connective tissue, muscle and bone loss, and a more intense pain response.
Magnesium is great for muscle relaxation, improve blood flow, help to decrease pain signals and may help with the anxiety and depression that often accompanies chronic pain conditions.
Probiotics can help to improve gut health and in turn can help with inflammation, allergy and food intolerance that may be driving pain. Probiotics can be taken in supplement form or in the diet as fermented foods and yoghurt.
Eating a diet rich is green leafy vegetables, fruits and colored vegetables can help to alkalise the body, providing nutrition for the healing processes to occur and help with detoxification. Three cups of vegetables daily is ideal.
Highly alkalising foods include beet greens, spinach, kale, swiss chard, bananas, sweet potato, celery, carrots, kiwi, cauliflower, cherries, pears, hazelnuts, pineapple, zucchini, strawberries, apples and watermelon.
Drinking lots of purified or alkaline water to help flush the body of toxins and keep the body hydrated.
Eat foods that are going to improve gut health, such as fermented foods, yogurt and foods rich in healthy soluble fibre in fruits and vegetables.
Eating fish that is high in essential Omega 3 fatty acids, such as wild caught salmon and sardines, can help with decreasing inflammation.
Nuts and Seeds are high in nutrients, Vitamin E, antioxidants and fibre (avoid peanuts as these can be inflammatory)
It is also important to reduce lifestyle stress, maintain exercise if you can and sleep well. Stress and lack of sleep can drive inflammation and decrease the chance of recovery. Meditation, magnesium and adaptogenic herbs may be of assistance.
In Health and Happiness