What Causes Inflammation?

Normally, inflammation is a good thing, but there can be too much, and it could be making you sick. Acute inflammation is your body’s natural response to healing such as from a cut, bruise, or infection. 

As an example, the area around a cut will be red and swollen, which means your immune system is rushing in to heal the injury. It can be triggered rapidly even for things we cannot see such as a sinus infection, bronchitis, or a sore throat. The body’s immune system sends plasma and leukocytes to the injured tissues to repair the injury. Chronic inflammation is when a good thing turns bad—with the inflammation attacking your healthy tissue. 

Your body is constantly making an immune response that results in ongoing inflammation, making you feel sick.  It’s a low-grade response that is happening in your body that can build without you really knowing it.

We can get used to feeling that way and blame chronic fatigue or getting older.  You may have existing conditions, like asthma or allergies that get worse so gradually that you do not notice them, so that it doesn’t prompt making a doctor’s appointment. Sometimes, we will develop conditions, such as asthma, as we get older.  Chronic inflammation does get worse with age.  It can be brought on by simple things such as stress, toxins, or alcohol.  It is also linked to weight gain, which we may think that is just getting older.

Chronic inflammation can be at the root of more serious diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease, or some cancers. In its chronic form, it’s a sneaky condition, but it can be addressed. As with any physical problem, a healthy diet and exercise are paramount.  “Bad” foods are to be avoided because they can make the problem worsen.  Avoid sugar and its relatives, trans fats, saturated fats, and refined carbohydrates such as white flour.

It’s important to note that inflammation has a role in heart disease, so follow a low inflammation diet of healthy foods.  Certain foods are found to be an extra boost for people with high inflammation:  beets, whole grains, nuts, soy, yogurt, olive oil, berries, onions and dark green, leafy vegetables.  If you don’t like fish, then take fish oil supplements so you get omega-3s. Spice up your cooking with some tasty inflammation fighters:  ginger root, garlic, and turmeric.

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