Inflammation can be a good thing
Everyone has experienced the remarkable phenomenon of acute inflammation - a sprained ankle, splinter, or cut – and as a result have witnessed the affected area turn red, puffy and hot as your immune system rushes to your aid to assess the injury and fight any pathogen that might have entered your body. A normal, healthy inflammatory response should flare up and die down again a short time later, as the healing process resolves the inflammation and the injury heals. Pain and inflammation should not be chronic, it should go away - but what if it doesn’t?
Inflammatory snowball effect
Imagine if you kept injuring yourself in the same location repetitively. The result would be unresolved ongoing inflammation. However, not all inflammation has a visible injury. For example, if there is inflammation in your gut, the only symptom may be some niggling gut issues, yet you cannot ‘see’ the problem. Nevertheless, there may be an inflammatory snowball effect occurring inside. Unresolved inflammation, visible or not, becomes more problematic the longer it keeps interfering with the normal workings of your body, and has been linked to many types of chronic disease such as arthritis and type 2 diabetes and certain skin conditions.
Factors that sustain inflammation
It is important to learn which diet and lifestyle behaviours may be adding to inflammation in your body, such as;
2. Being an unhealthy weight;
3. Eating a diet containing refined/processed carbohydrates (e.g. white bread, pasta, white rice, cereals);
4. Consuming ’trans’ fats (e.g. fried or fast foods, packaged baked goods, vegetable fats used in some margarines);
5. Being sleep deprived;
6. Regularly consuming alcohol, coffee, excess sugar and/ or salt;
7. Experiencing ongoing digestive issues that upset the balance of ‘good’ bacteria (e.g. stomach pain, bloating, diarrhoea);and/or
8. Experiencing ongoing psychological stress (unhappy employment situation, social isolation, caring for a loved one with a serious disease).
Photo by Brooke Cagle
Modifying any or all of these is an important step in a holistic approach to reducing inflammation that may be contributing to your pain or illness. If you relate to any of the above factors, speak with your Health Care Practitioner or GP who can offer you support.
Adapted from Metagenics