Our immune system is supposed to be our great defender; the army which protects us against invading pathogens and rebuilds damaged tissue that was caused by injury. One of its main strategies is inflammation. Inflammation is caused when the body floods the injured site with plasma and white blood cells, causing visible redness and swelling. Without inflammation, wounds would never heal and germs would always win the battle.
Chronic inflammation can lead to an autoimmune disease, which develops when your immune system confuses your healthy cells with foreign bodies and as a result, starts attacking the healthy cells.
Although inflammation is part of the body’s natural defense system, however, chronic inflammation is the root cause of many illnesses. These illnesses can range anywhere from atherosclerosis, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, arthritis, food intolerances, diabetes, fibromyalgia, heart disease, etc. Chronic inflammation also accelerates the aging process, and is a major contributor to obesity. Basically being fat is being inflamed! Our daily choices have a major impact on this.
Inflammation, as most know it, is on the surface of the body and we visibly see it as redness, swelling, heat and pain. It is the body’s natural way of healing the damaged tissue. When the body chooses to cause inflammation it is to heal itself, and that process is known as Acute Inflammation. However, when inflammation persists and it is no longer a protective mechanism from the body itself, it serves no purpose, and it can easily be damaging. This prolonged and unnecessary process is known as Chronic Inflammation.
This is the initial response of your body against harmful stimuli. It’s the body’s natural and helpful immune response to tissue damage. Your immune system responses by sending white blood cells to the site of injury to repair the damaged tissue. In this case, inflammation can’t harm your body and you need it to survive and repair the tissue. After the injured tissue is healed, the body is no longer in an inflammatory stage.
This is the long term inflammation which can last for months or even several years. Chronic inflammation is the body’s damaging immune response to stresses that can be caused by poor diet, toxins, lack of exercise, emotional stress, alcohol, smoking, etc. In this case, your immune system gets overwhelmed and will turn against itself; damaging healthy cells. It will get confused and cannot tell the difference between itself and the invader. As a result, the confused immune system will start destroying its own healthy tissue.
There are a few factors that directly contribute to formation of chronic inflammation, such as a genetic predisposition, stress, lack of exercise, alcohol, smoking, etc. Also your daily diet can play a major role as well. Learning which foods to avoid and which foods to include more of in your daily diet plan can be one of the best strategies for avoiding or reducing the long-term disease.
In order to have an anti-inflammatory diet, we must avoid processed foods, fast food, gluten, sugar, dairy products and trans fats. We have to add more anti-inflammatory foods to our daily diet. Basically hidden sensitivities and allergies to food you eat everyday are making you sick and fat. Most people think of allergies as eating peanuts and ending up in the emergency room due to a swollen tongue, hives and inability to breathe. That’s what is known as an immediate allergic reaction, aka IgE hypersensitivity reaction. This is very serious and life threatening. However, because of its outward and observable severity, it can be prevented and it is immediately noticed.
But there’s a different type of allergic reaction to food which is a lot less dramatic and deadly but still very troublesome. It’s called a delayed allergy or IgG delayed hypersensitivity reaction. This type of reaction is way more common and causes suffering for millions of people. It plays a massive role in many chronic illnesses and weight problems.
This type of delayed reaction causes problems like fluid retention, weight gain, fatigue, mood problems, brain fog, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), headaches, sinus and nasal congestions, joint pains, eczema, acne, and many more. Such allergic reactions are not immediately noticed and don’t lead to the ER right away, however, they are silently damaging the body from the inside out. Chronic inflammation can easily be prevented as well; it just has to be recognized.
Here is a list of some of the anti-inflammatory foods that you should include in your everyday diet:
· Vegetables: Kale, Asparagus, Bell Pepper, Broccoli, Beets, Spinach, Sweet Potatoes, Celery
· Fruits: Blueberries, Avocados, Grapefruit, Oranges, Cherries, Strawberries, Pineapple
· Herbs and Seasoning: Black Pepper, Garlic, Ginger, Turmeric, Rosemary
· Fatty Fish: Salmon, Tuna, Sardines, Mackerel
· Beans, Lentils, Quinoa, Oats
· Nuts: Almond, Walnut
· Olive oil
And make sure to drink plenty of water. The golden rule is to drink half your body weight in ounces. So, if someone weighs 160 lbs., they should drink 80 ounces of water per day. I know that seems like a lot, but everyone can work their way up to drinking the right amount of water each day to keep their body hydrated. After all, we are about 65% water!
By having an ant inflammatory diet, you can:
Lower blood pressure
Be headache free
Benefit your heart and joints
And the list can go on, but you get the gist of things.
Nahal Esmaeili, D.C.