Whenever you sprain your ankle, scrape your elbows, or succumb to a bacterial infection, your body reacts the same way to all injuries – your immune system sends white blood cells to attack the pathogen and promote tissue and cellular repair. This process called “inflammatory response” is the body’s number one line of defence for survival.
What Exactly Happens To Your Body During Inflammation
Under typical conditions, the signs of inflammation are swelling, redness, warmth and soreness. The injury stays localized and eventually disappears as soon as the infection dies down and the damaged tissues are healed.
But often times, the body’s inflammatory response does not shut down, and instead starts releasing a continuous flow of pro-inflammatory compounds that spread all over the bloodstream and get distributed to the tissues wrecking havoc all over the body.
As Dr. Peter Libby, chief of cardiovascular medicine at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital says, “Inflammation is the main culprit in almost all chronic degenerative and lifestyle diseases including diabetes.” If this low-grade inflammation continues to simmer, it can cause heart calcifications leading to coronary diseases, trigger inflammation in bronchial tubes causing chronic asthma attacks, and damage tissues that can lead to abnormal cell mutation and become cancer.
How Do You Get Tested
A simple blood test can measure the c-reactive protein in your blood. A result of 1mg per liter is ideal, but results above 3mg per liter indicate high levels of inflammation. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that individuals who belong to high risk categories (such as those with a history of coronary conditions) should get tested regularly. However, most doctors strongly recommend this laboratory test to everyone who is concerned about their health. You can consult your doctor to know if you need to get tested for it.
How Do You Fight And Prevent It?
Of course, other than maintaining a good weight and a proper diet, there are certain anti-inflammatory foods that can help improve your body’s inflammatory response right away. Here are the top anti-inflammatory foods to include in your diet:
Turmeric – Usually used in many Indian dishes and in Ayurvedic Treatment, turmeric is a popular anti-inflammatory agent. It is the biochemical compound curcumin that is responsible for fighting chronic inflammation in the body. With the right amount of curcumin daily, it can immediately suppress pro-inflammatory enzymes in the body. Taking turmeric as supplement is known to be the most potent way of reaping its benefits.
Berries – Blackberries, cherries and blueberries are rich in flavonoid compounds that act as anti-inflammatory agents in the body. As berries are seasonal fruits, you can buy them in bulk and freeze them for later consumption. You can also include this in your green juice or morning smoothie.
Healthy Fats – Get rid of the trans fats and saturated fats. Instead, replace them with extra virgin olive oil, canola oil or flaxseed oil which are healthier options. Fats from cold water fish are also a great source of essential fatty acids (like omega-3). Fatty acids are needed to help prevent oxidative cellular damage which is known to cause diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and cancer. Like turmeric, you can get them in supplement form. A good quality mercury-free fish oil supplement can be used in replacement to eating actual fish.
Vegetables – Unlike carbohydrates, vegetables do not greatly affect your blood sugar levels. For this reason, they are a great substitute to your source of healthy carbohydrates. Eating broccoli, kale, spinach, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, Swiss chard is safe and filling. If you are planning on losing weight, replacing your sandwich with a bowl of salad will help you stay fuller while receiving the same number of calories but with less sugar and fat.
Chronic inflammation is the silent cause of many major health concerns. One physical sign you can base on is abdominal fat. If you think your belly is larger than it should be, you are most likely already experiencing chronic inflammation. To prevent further health complications, you must ensure medical intervention, treatment and lifestyle change to protect yourself from deadly diseases.
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