Friday, June 5, 2015

Your Body, Food and Inflammation

Inflammation.  It's a word that a lot of people use, but what is it?  What causes it?  Why does your body have inflammation?

Starting off, let's define the word inflammation.  Inflammation is your body's attempt of self protection.  The aim of inflammation is to reverse harmful stimuli, including damaged cells, irritants or pathogens in your body, then begin to heal.

When your body is harmed or irritated, inflammation is a response to heal itself.  The signs and symptoms of inflammation, especially acute inflammation, show that your body is working over time.  Now, inflammation and infection are two different things.  Infection is caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungus.  Inflammation is your body's response to a sickness, or injury.  You actually need inflammation to heal.

You want inflammation, as it is part of your healing process.  Here is a perfect example, you are taking your morning run (you know that 6 or 7 miles that you strive for every morning)  while you are out running, in the early morning because you don't want anyone to see you, you stumble into a large pothole in the street.  Of course you take a nasty tumble on to the cement, thank goodness your hands and knees catch you before you go all the way down…Instant pain.  Instant inflammation.  The inflammation builds up around the injury to protect it during the healing process.  Acute inflammation or chronic inflammation is when inflammation causes more inflammation.  This causes the inflammation to become perpetual, the inflammation is created to combat the already occurring inflammation, a viscous cycle has begun.  Some types of acute/chronic inflammation are:

Periodontal disease
Heart disease
Celiac disease
Graves disease

Some reasons behind inflammation can be:

Harmful bacteria
Injury to tissue
Overactive immune system
Poor sleep quality
You're obese (science has proven that losing weight, especially with women, that there is a drop in inflammation)
Food allergy

Treatments can range from non steroid anti inflammatory drugs, Tylenol, herbs; such as ginger, hyssop and turmeric and of course what you put in your mouth.

I have come up with 5 foods that can cause inflammation in your body, and 5 foods that can prevent or help the symptoms of inflammation.

5 foods that can cause inflammation:

Sugar is only found in junk food! NOT even close to being true.  Even "healthy" food has added sugar.  Sugar is in a plethora of food products.  Sugar triggers the release of inflammatory molecules, cytokines.  My best advice, stay away from processed sugar,  and processed foods as much as possible and learn to read food labels.  Learn the many names of sugar.

Again, a substance that is found in our everyday food, especially if we eat out a lot.  Fast food, processed foods.  Always avoid partially hydrogenated oils.

White bread, white rice, instant potatoes, snacks cakes, crackers, anything refined and has a high glycemic index.  These foods fuel the production of Advance Glycation End (AGE) which stimulate inflammation.

Nothing like a fresh bubbly cold pop and inflammation on a hot day.  Aspartame is an intense artificial sweetener found in over 400 products worldwide.  Aspartame is a neurotoxin.  What does that mean?  It affects your brain.  It is a foreign substance to our body, so what happens?  Inflammation sets it to purge it, to get rid of it as soon as possible!

#5 MSG
Flavor enhancer from the food gods.  Found in your canned soups, fast foods, spice mixes, salad dressing and deli meats.  Again a foreign substance entering your body.  MSG also affects your liver.

Now for the good news, 5 foods that can help prevent/relieve symptoms of inflammation:

TRY REALLY HARD to eat 5 to 7 servings of fruit and veg a day.  They have fiber, vitamins, minerals, everything your body needs to heal and restore itself.  EAT FRUIT AND VEG DAILY!  I can not stress this enough!  A couple fruits really stand out with their inflammation fighting skills, cherries and pineapples.  Cherries neutralize free radicals in your body and pineapple can defend against osteoarthritis.  The pineapple enzyme bromelain, is thought to alleviate swelling or inflammation in the body.

#2  SOY
I know, I know, no one is thrilled to see this one on the list, but it's true, soy helps with inflammation!  Soy is rich in isoflavones, plant based hormones, which have, you guessed it, anti inflammatory properties!

Who doesn't love this ingredient?  Garlic has proven, scientific backing, of anti inflammatory properties!

Green tea has been used for hundreds of years for medicinal purposes.  Green tea, like the cherry, stops free radicals in your body.

It is a toss up which one is my favorite, coffee or fruit/vegetable?  Coffee helps with inflammation and also may reduce cancer risks.

"Let thy food be thy medicine, and thy medicine be thy food"  Hippocrates
There is so much truth in this one sentence.

My advice to you is eat well, spend money on your food, learn to read nutrition labels, investigate what you are eating and live well.

Enjoy YOUR day!



American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

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