What Causes Inflammation In The Body And How To Naturally Treat It
What is Inflammation
Inflammation is an immune response mechanism in the body. It is there to fight off infections or illnesses and repair damaged cells and tissues in our body after injury.
The difference between acute and chronic inflammation
Acute inflammation is a healthy response which serves to protect and repair the body from something damaging, whether that be an infection in a cut or a strained muscle. Evidence of acute inflammation can be seen in scabbing, redness, pus, and swelling.
Examples of acute inflammation include: acute bronchitis, infected ingrown toenail, sore throat from a cold or flu, a scratch/cut on the skin, intense exercise, acute appendicitis, acute dermatitis, acute tonsillitis, acute ineffective meningitis, acute sinusitis.
Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, is not part of the body’s natural healing process and is a condition where dilated blood vessels and an overactive immune system become persistent. The human body isn’t designed to cope with this over the top immune activity, and eventually chronic inflammation will cause damage. White blood cells usually protect the body from disease, but the unchecked white cell activity of chronic inflammation can make you more prone to non-infectious conditions.
Failure to eliminate whatever is triggering an acute inflammation causes the immune system to attack healthy tissue, mistaking it (them) for harmful pathogens.
Examples of chronic inflammation include: asthma, chronic peptic ulcer, tuberculosis, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic periodontitis (mouth and gum disease), ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, chronic sinusitis.
If you are unsure how to spot chronic inflammation here are some signs:
Poor Digestion (bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, acid reflux)
Persistent Low-Grade Fever
Painful and Stiff Joints
Depression and Anxiety
Skin Problems (acne, psoriasis, eczema)
High Blood Glucose Levels
Weight gain, especially around your waist
Frequent cold and illness
What Can Cause Chronic Inflammation
It is still unclear what exactly causes the body to sustain inflammation for a long time but there are some factors that has been noticed to contribute to chronic inflammation.
Excess Bodyfat: As we get older, some of the cells in our fat tissue age, and when they do, they promote inflammation
Acute stress: cortisol plays a role in regulating your inflammatory response, but chronic stress can dampen the hormone's ability to do so, leaving inflammation unchecked.
Imbalances in Gut Bacteria: 70% of your immune cells reside in your intestines so your gut bacteria can affect your immune system in various ways. Studies have identified specific microbes that seem to be related to developing rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn's.
Oral Contraceptives: Preliminary research, published in 2014 in PLOS ONE, found that 30% of pre-menopausal women taking the pill had high levels of the inflammation marker C-reactive protein, while just 7% of pre-menopausal women not using the pill had the same.
Certain types of food:
Foods with a high glycemic index and added sugar, foods high in trans and saturated animal fat has been linked to a greater risk of developing inflammation-related health disorders in a number of studies.
Smoking: Each puff of a cigarette irritates your lungs, leading to a small degree of inflammation that can worsen existing lung problems and compound overtime. Smoking has been shown to increase certain markers of inflammation, including an elevated white blood cell count and high levels of C-reactive protein
Alcohol: When alcohol is broken down inside your body, it produces toxic by-products that promote inflammation, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
Pollution and environmental toxins: Airborne toxins are now known to adversely affect the development, balance, and activity of our immune system, and therefore, our ability to generate an inflammatory response with far-reaching consequences for our health throughout our lives.
Lack of Sleep: Based on a review of 72 reports, which involved more than 50,000 participants from population-based and clinical studies, they concluded that getting too little or too much sleep resulted in increased inflammation levels.
Lack of Exercise: Researchers have found that reduced activity and increased sitting time is associated with increased insulin, leptin/adiponectin ratio, CRP, IL-6, and leptin. Sedentary behaviors are also associated with other risky behaviors such as over eating, smoking, and drug use that also are associated with increased inflammation.
Dehydration: Even mild dehydration has affects at the cellular level by releasing histamine and Cortisol, which suppress your immune system and causes toxic build up, inflammation, and slow metabolism.
Omega 3 to Omega 6 Fatty Acid imbalance: Research has shown that the consumption of too much Omega 6 and not enough Omega 3 can lead to chronic inflammation. Omega-6 is pro-inflammatory, while Omega-3 is neutral. A diet with a lot of Omega-6 and not much Omega-3 will increase inflammation. A diet of a lot of Omega-3 and not much Omega-6 will reduce inflammation.
How To Naturally Beat Chronic Inflammation
Here are a few natural but effective ways to reduce chronic inflammation.
Eat more nutrient-dense plant-based foods: turn to nature and fill up on non-GMO preferably organic fruit and vegetables. Eating them on a regular basis will flood your body with the vitamins, minerals, cancer-fighting phytochemicals, antioxidants, fiber and other goodies it needs to recover from chronic inflammation.
Relax and rest more: During your sleep the body repairs and restores your cells.
Reduce toxins in your food, home and personal care products: Your body’s alarm goes off when you absorb toxic chemicals and pesticides through your digestive tract and skin. Having the alarm system go off constantly will lead to an overstimulated immune system and increased inflammation in the body. To avoid the toxins go for non-GMO organic products, natural or organic cosmetics and you can try to make your own household cleaning products.
Meditate: Research has shown that chronic stress is connected to changes in CRP and your immune system. Taking 10 to 15 minutes a day to be quiet, reflect, or meditate. If meditation isn't your thing (though our guide makes it easy to find a style that suits you), walking and yoga can be just as effective.
Cold Showers or Ice bath: Ice baths have long been used by elite athletes to help reduce inflammation after a workout. They alleviate DOMS by constricting your veins, thereby removing toxins from your blood. When you get out of the bath, your system is flushed with fresh, nutrient-rich blood that can help repair muscles and tendons.
There are several foods that can have been shown to help reduce the risk of inflammation. Here are a few examples: olive oil, tomatoes, walnuts and almonds, leafy green vegetables, fatty fish, berries
Natural Supplements to Reduce Inflammation:
Spirulina: these green algae can be bought in powder or capsules.
Turmeric Curcumin: This herb is a great anti-inflammatory. For best absorption look for formulas which includes black pepper (piperine)
Resveratrol: resveratrol is a powerful compound that regenerates the body all the way at the cellular level. Take this bioflavonoid antioxidant daily for better heart and cognitive health.
Green Tea: This tea protects against oxidative stress. You can drink it as a tea or take the extract in capsules.
Omega 3: get some EPA in through good quality Omega 3 tablets.
Acai: Also called the Amazonian palm berry, acai is native to the Amazon rainforest. This fruit has been heralded for centuries for its healing, immune-stimulating, energy-boosting properties.
Ginger capsules: Ginger can be used fresh, dried, powdered, as an oil or taken in capsules.