Inflammation: Friend or Foe?

Inflammation can be your worst enemy while trying to be your best friend.

Merriam-Webster defines inflammation as “a local response to cellular injury that is marked by capillary dilatation, leukocytic infiltration, redness, heat, and pain and that serves as a mechanism initiating the elimination of noxious agents and of damaged tissue.” defines it as “A localized reaction that produces redness, warmth, swelling, and pain as a result of infection, irritation, or injury. Inflammation can be external or internal.”

So although inflammation occurs to protect you it ends up causing many other problems for you and your body.

There’s acute inflammation and chronic inflammation. Acute inflammation occurs rapidly and escalates quickly. It can last from 1-2 days or even up to a few weeks. A few examples of when acute inflammation may happen is:

  1. Injury to the body (a scratch, a fall, a blow, exercise)
  2. Acute Sinusitis
  3. Acute Dermatitis
  4. Infected Ingrown Toenail
  5. Acute Bronchitis
  6. Acute Appendicitis
  7. Acute Tonsillitis
  8. Acute Infective Meningitis
  9. Allergies

Chronic inflammation can occur gradually but lasts for several months…even years. This can result from not purging whatever caused the acute inflammation. It can also be caused by exposure to irritants, chemicals, as well as an autoimmune response where the immune system attacks your body mistaken it for disease causing bacterium, viruses, or microorganisms. A few examples of diseases/conditions that include chronic inflammation are:

  1. Chronic Sinusitis
  2. Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis
  3. Rheumatoid Arthritis
  4. Chrohn’s Disease
  5. Chronic Periodontitis
  6. Tuberculosis
  7. Lupus
  8. Diabetes
  9. Psoriasis
  10. Allergies

There are many other things that contribute to overall inflammation like stress, lack of sleep, and eating certain foods. Yes, the food we eat can cause inflammation! Foods high in Omega 6 fatty acids such as processed vegetable oils, grains, fast/fried/processed foods are some of the inflammation causing culprits.

Not sure if you have inflammation?  Some symptoms are:

  1. Red/Itchy Skin
  2. Memory Loss/Forgetfulness
  3. Abdominal Issues (Bloating/Flatulence/Diarrhea/Constipation/Indigestion)
  4. Itchy Eyes/Ears
  5. Painful/Stiff/Swollen Joints or/and Muscles
  6. Fever/Chills
  7. Skin Issues (Rash/Hives/Acne/Itchy/Rough/Dry/Scaly)
  8. Fatigue
  9. Allergies/Infections
  10. Excess Weight
  11. Water Detention
  12. An Autoimmune Disease (caused by excessive inflammation)

People often treat their inflammation with supplements/vitamins, prescription and/or over the counter medications (anti-inflammatory) such as:

  1. NSAIDs (naproxen, ibuprofen, and aspirin)
  2. Acetaminophen
  3. Corticosteroids
  4. Glucocorticoids
  5. Mineralocorticoids
  6. Serrapeptase
  7. Magnesium
  8. Zinc
  9. Vitamin D
  10. Probiotics

*Before trying any medication or supplement…consult with your doctor first!

Now let’s get back to the food. If you decrease or eliminate certain foods more than likely you will see a decrease and for some maybe even complete elimination of the inflammation along with the symptoms associated with it. Let’s start with the top inflammation causing foods:

Let’s start with the top inflammation causing foods:

  1. Trans Fats
  2. Sugar
  3. Gluten (Bread/Pasta)
  4. Grains (Wheat, Rice, Corn)
  5. Alcohol
  6. Omega-6 Fatty Acids
  7. Dairy (Milk, Cheese, Ice Cream)
  8. Nightshades (White potatoes, Peppers, Eggplant, Tomatoes)
  9. MSG
  10. Processed Foods & GMO’s
  11. Vegetable/Hydrogenated Oils

You may not be willing to give up all or even any of these foods. If you suffer from acute or chronic inflammation, you should definitely give it a try. Start with eliminating at least one and try it for at least a month. Keep a journal documenting what you eat and have eliminated as well as the symptoms (and their severity) you have before, during, and after eliminations.  Your best bet and quickest results will come from eliminating all of those foods for a few months until all symptoms are gone and then gradually reintroduce the foods one at a time to see if the inflammation/symptoms return.

There are foods, herbs and other lifestyle changes that can help reduce your inflammation such as:

  1. Blueberries/Strawberries
  2. Green Leafy Vegetables
  3. Turmeric/Ginger
  4. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  5. Omega 3 Rich Oily Fish
  6. Avocado
  7. Beets
  8. Broccoli
  9. Celery
  10. Chia Seed
  11. Coconut Oil
  12. Walnuts
  13. Bone Broth
  14. Pineapple
  15. Spices (Ginger/Rosemary/Turmeric/Oregano)
  16. Antioxidants
  17. Allergen-Free Diet (avoiding those foods you are allergic/sensitive to)
  18. Yoga/Deep Breathing
  19. Regular Exercise

Now that you suspect or know that you have inflammation, what are you going to do about it?

3 Comments Add yours

  1. alyssabowman says:

    This was great information! Inflammation is horrible. I have been battling MS for 16 years and it has been an uphill battle at times. I started my blog a month and a half ago and it has been a great experience! I look forward to reading more of your posts! Take care!!

    1. Thank you for stopping by and reading my blog! I have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis…just found out 1 1/2 years ago but probably had it longer. I was aware of the Hypothyroidism but not the Hashi’s. I’ve been focusing a lot on my health since then. I’m looking forward to checking your blog out as well!

      1. alyssabowman says:

        I wish you comfort and relief. I know it isn’t easy getting a diagnosis. I hope my blog is somewhat helpful for you. I look forward to reading more of your posts as well!

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