Sunday, June 30, 2013

Inflamed about Inflammation?

Darn knife.  Cut me as I was trying to cut a tomato that slipped out from underneath me.

If you're anything like me you cut yourself often; sometimes without even know it.  Since I do not want to draw attention to myself, especially in public,  I tend to play it off as if nothing happened.  Next thing I know, my cut becomes red, warm, swollen, and painful.  These symptoms are associated with inflammation, the body's response to injury and infection.  Since I am healthy my body responds to inflammation well and my cut was healed within a few days.

However, have you ever had a cut or a bruise that lasted a lot longer than usual? If so, there could be a long list of reasons as to why the cut or bruise cant or wont heal.  One of those reasons could be due to something called Chronic Inflammation. 

What about the inflammation that we cant see?  How does our body respond and heal? 

When your body is in a constant state of inflammation its termed, Chronic Inflammation.  The cause of chronic inflammation varies from person to person, but includes:
    -Being overweight
    -Experiencing high levels of stress
    -Lack of exercise
    -Lack of sleep
    -Sedentary lifestyle

When the immune response is never "shut off" due to these causes, there is a constant production of immune cells that can lead to permanent damage such as:
    -Heart Disease

Don't fret, however! Just because we have days where we are stressed to the max, don't sleep, or have the energy to exercise does not mean we are going to develop a chronic disease.  Rather, we have the ability to help protect our bodies to help heal quicker from some such incidences.

The foods we choose to eat -- or not to eat -- is the key! 

Consuming a fair share of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and omega-3 fatty acids have been suggested to have anti-inflammatory properties.  The association between food and inflammation is still being studied but here is a list of foods to avoid to keep inflammation and illness at bay.

     1) Trans Fats
           -Can induce inflammation by damaging the cells in the lining of blood vessels.
     2) Sugar
           -Too much sugar can alter the body to send out extra immunity messengers, called cytokines.
     3) White Bread
           -White bread and pasta breaks down quickly into sugar, and it turn leads to inflammation.
           -Diets high in refined grains lead to a greater concentration of a certain inflammation marker in
             the blood.
    4) Red Meat
           - Animal fat has been linked to inflammation as saturated fat creates inflammation naturally
                through arachidonic acid.
    5) Alcohol
           - Alcohol naturally irritates our insides by allowing bacteria to pass easily through the intestinal
    6) Omega-6 Fatty Acids
           - Greater amount of omega-6's to omega-3's can lead to inflammation.
    7) Milk
           - Low-fat dairy can guard against inflammation, however whole milk is still high in saturated fat
               and thereby can trigger an inflammatory reaction.
    8) MSG: Monosodium Glutamate 
           -Is a preservative & flavor enhancer that is still being researched for its inflammatory properties.
    9) Gluten
           - People who are not diagnosed with Celiac Disease report feeling better after eliminating
               Gluten from their diet.  Possible reasons for this is due to Gluten's ability to cause bloating
               which is an inflammatory response.
   10) Cooking Oils
           - Safflower, soy, sunflower, corn, and cottonseed oils may promote inflammation as they may
               be made with cheaper ingredients.

     1) Wild Alaskan Salmon
            -Contains omega-3's.  Try to consume oily fish twice weekly.
     2) Kelp
            -High in fiber that helps control liver and lunge cancer.
     3) Extra Virgin Olive Oil
            - This oil provides a healthy dose of fat that fights inflammation.
     4) Cruciferous Vegetables
            -Broccoli, brussel sprouts, kale and cauliflower are loaded with antioxidants.
     5) Blueberries
            -Not only reduce inflammation, but they can protect the brain from again and prevent diseases.
     6) Tumeric
            -Is a powerful Asian spice that contains a natural anti-inflammatory compound, cur cumin.
     7) Ginger
           -Helps reduce inflammation and control blood sugar.
     8) Garlic
           -May help reduce inflammation, regulate glucose and help your body fight infection.
     9) Green Tea
           -Contains anti-inflammatory flavonoids that may reduce the risk of certain cancers.
   10) Sweet Potato
          -Great source of complex carbohydrates, fiber, beta-carotene, manganese, and vitamin B6 and C.

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