Alleviating Chronic Inflammation Naturally
Many of us know about the cardinal signs of inflammation.
In the medical field, inflammation is detected by the presence of:
- Loss of function
There are two kinds of inflammatory responses: Acute and chronic. Generally speaking, acute inflammation is quickly resolved and does little damage. Chronic inflammation, however, can cause the inflamed tissue to harden and become stiff. This is called fibrosis.
- Acute: An acute inflammatory response is what happens after a traumatic injury or in response to an infection.
- Chronic: A chronic inflammatory response happens over a long period of time. This means that you may not even notice the inflammation. Chronic inflammation is caused by a long-term or low-grade infection, by diet, or by immune dysregulation, as is what happens in autoimmunity.
Inflammation is also carried out by a series of chemical messages. These messages are alerts for other systems in the body, and they can create a vicious cycle. In other words, the inflammatory response can produce more inflammation.
Chronic Inflammation: A Sure Pathway to Bigger Problems
Chronic, low-grade inflammation may seem harmless on a day-to-day basis. This kind of inflammation can show up as an achy joint here or there, a bloated abdomen, brain fog, or even the effects of overtraining at the gym. All these discomforts pass within a day or two. And typically, they are all reoccurring.
The reason why you would want to break the vicious cycle and limit the inflammatory response as much as possible is because inflammation leads to cell death and the breakdown of tissue. This translates into aging and modern day chronic disease, some of which are:
- Heart disease
- Type II diabetes
- Chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia
Some of the latest research into obesity and diabetes tells us that the fat tissue is actually an endocrine organ!
The type of fat tissue that these studies specifically refer to is what is called visceral fat, or what is known as the classic beer belly.
- To get visceral fat, you don’t have to drink beer.
- Other studies point out that leaky gut, or inflammation in the gut, contributes to the production of fat tissue around internal organs.
- Visceral fat tissue surrounds the intestines, the liver, and the kidneys. You can be “thin” and still have visceral fat.
- This fat tissue produces inflammatory messages within the body, prompting the production of more fat!
Some dietary fat, such as heated vegetable and seed oils, can set off an inflammatory cascade within the body. This is because these fats are damaged and oxidized. Damaged and oxidized fats have a tricky molecular shape and trap enzymes, leading eventually to cell destruction. The more fat you eat that is oxidized, processed, or chemically altered, the more you are fighting against inflammation. (1)
Other fats, such as saturated fats from raw, cold-pressed organic coconut oil and the fats from pastured, grass-fed animals, can actually protect the body.
Getting Control of Inflammation
Controlling inflammation anywhere in the body has a lot to do with diet. Even an old injury can suddenly become inflamed after a meal that is heavy in starches and sugars. Clues like this will tell you which foods to avoid. A distended, swollen, or bloated feeling is another clue that your body is having an inflammatory reaction. While everyone is different, certain foods are known as pro-inflammatory:
- Sugar, starches, and most grains. Sugar, even natural sugar consumed in high amounts, can be pro-inflammatory. Especially observe the effect of gluten in the body.
- Vegetable and seed oils. Many times, these are cleaned, filtered, and chemically processed to the point of being highly inflammatory. If a packaged food item is made with anything but coconut oil or another saturated fat like animal fat, forget about it. They are processed twice as much as canola or safflower oil found on the shelf.
- Lectins. These are found in nightshades such as tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant; also found in grains that have not been properly soaked and sprouted, and legumes such as soy and peanuts.
As much as food can break the body down and wreak havoc on the immune system, food can also repair the body and control inflammation. It all depends on the kind of food you eat.
- Fermented foods. Good bacteria not only detoxify the body, but they also have been shown to inhibit inflammation in the gut. Consume homemade fermented foods with every meal.
- Antioxidant-rich foods. These are foods like green, leafy vegetables and colorful berries. Body Ecology Vitality SuperGreen is also an excellent source of fermented, antioxidant-rich plant material.
- Protective oils. We already mentioned how saturated fats like raw, organic coconut oil, organic palm oil, and grass-fed butter and cream can actually protect the body. This is because they are stable fats. High-quality omega-3 fatty acids are also anti-inflammatory.
- Try eating cold-water fish such as mackerel, salmon, or sardines at least three times a week. Or, take a fish oil supplement. (In this case, quality matters so go for a trusted brand.)
- Vegan sources of omega 3 are purslane and Spirulina. Body Ecology Super Spirulina Plus is 50% fermented Spirulina. This means that is has the anti-inflammatory benefits of good bacteria and valuable omega-3 fatty acids.
What to Remember Most About This Article:
There are two different kinds of inflammation: Acute and chronic. Acute inflammation normally causes little damage, but chronic inflammation occurs over a long period of time and can cause fibrosis. Untreated chronic inflammation can lead to premature aging and diseases like type II diabetes, obesity, and chronic fatigue syndrome.
To get control of inflammation, focus on your diet. Avoid excess sugar, starches, and most grains. Try to limit vegetable and seed oils, as well as lectins found in nightshade vegetables like peppers, eggplant, and tomatoes.
You can cool down the inflammatory response in your body to protect your immune system by eating fermented foods rich in antioxidants. It is also important to eat protective oils, like raw, organic coconut oil, and high-quality omega-3 fatty acids to fight inflammation.
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- Chuck S. Bronson. Nova Publishers, 2006. p51.