Inflammation is an essential part of healing. When we have an injury or an infection, our body reacts to it with a cascade of events that have the intention to fight it. We usually see and feel in the site of an injury, redness, soreness, swelling, and heat, that is inflammation! and we want and need this to happen in order to heal. The problem happens when inflammation becomes chronic and systemic.
Chronic inflammation is a slow, long term inflammation that can last months to years. It can happen,
*When the body can’t get rid of what is causing inflammation (like a virus, bacteria, parasite or fungi),
*When we are constantly exposed to low levels of an irritant (like chemicals),
*Or when the body attacks its healthy tissues mistaking them by an irritant (autoimmune disorders).
Some diseases that are known to be associated with chronic inflammation are arthritis, cardiovascular disease, allergies and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
The symptoms that can indicate chronic inflammation are the following:
*Constant fatigue and insomnia
*Depression, anxiety and mood disorders
*Constipation, diarrhea or acid reflux
As I wrote in my last blog, 10 foods that help fight pain and inflammation, food is medicine, the right foods can help you fight against inflammation but there are also certain foods that can make inflammation worse.
Photo by Thomas Kelley on Unsplash
Here is a list of 10 foods that can aggravate inflammation:
1. Processed foods
2. Sugar, fructose corn syrup, soda, and sugary drinks
3. Fried foods
4. Processed meats
5. Refined carbohydrates such as white bread, pasta, cakes, and cookies
6. Vegetable oils (corn and soybean oil)
7. Red meat
9. Nightshades if you have an autoimmune condition such as Rheumatoid arthritis or if you are sensitive to them.
10. Excessive alcohol.
Do you have to avoid them completely? Probably not, but as much as possible. Balance is key. Make sure to follow a whole food diet with lots of greens, good quality proteins, healthy fats, and as many anti-inflammatory foods as possible. As long as you do this, occasional indulgences are ok.
Acupuncture is an important tool that can help fight inflammation as well. Acupuncture reduces a pro-inflammatory chemical (tumor necrosis factor-alpha) and it also stimulates the vagus nerve which has been proven to regulate pathologic inflammatory reactions. Acupuncture is amazing! Read my blog on How acupuncture can help you get rid of pain.