What is Inflammation, and Why is it so Bad?
Several years ago, my chiropractor told me many people have inflammation and don’t realize it. I thought he was referring to sore muscles, tension, and joint pain. I envisioned people watching TV at night with ice packs on sore body parts. While this might be the case for many, inflammation is more prevalent and destructive than my first impression.
What is inflammation?
Ouch! It’s hot! “itis” is Latin for inflamed – think rheumatoid arthritis
Acute inflammation is the body’s immune system reacting to an injury or infection. As blood rushes to the injured or infected area, causing heat and swelling, the immune system is on guard to protect the injured cells. Scabs on a cut or black & blue bruising are examples of acute inflammation. Ordinarily, this is a positive reaction unless there is continuous inflammation in the body.
Chronic inflammation is like a slow burn, where the body’s immune system attacks its own cells. This condition produces free radicals, the cell damaging molecules. Eventually, the immune system becomes destructive to the cells it was intended to protect. For example, eating sugar is like adding fuel to a small flame, creating a bonfire.
How does inflammation affect the body?
Studies are finding links between inflammation and depression, Alzheimer’s, anxiety, autism, heart disease, obesity, autoimmune diseases, cancer, osteoporosis, leaky gut, digestive issues, and many other neurological and psychiatric diseases. In general, the immune system is working overtime and eventually attacks itself. When the immune system (good warriors) continues to fight chronic inflammation (bad warriors) eventually the immune system is weakened, allowing chronic infections and diseases to take over.
What causes inflammation?
Once again, we learn “we are what we eat”! Our Standard American Diet (SAD), high stress lifestyle, and lack of sleep are big contributors to inflammation in the body.
- Dietary sugars and refined flours
- Food sensitivities and allergies – 60% of the immune system is near or around the gut and digestive system
- Chronic infections – immune system is on guard protecting the body at all times
- Toxins in our foods and environment
- Stress – we can gain control over our lives
- Lack of exercise – let’s get moving
- Nutritional deficiencies – Americans are overfed and undernourished
What can be done to prevent or reverse inflammation?
There are many things and we are only touching on a couple in this newsletter.
Get some rest. Restful sleep is important.
Let go of the stress. Are you able to change the outcome of a stressful situation with worry? I think not. Yoga is a great activity to let go of stress. Try it, you may like it.
And of course detox. Your body must let go of the toxins. Toxins in our food and environment are so very harmful in our lives. Learn more during my Fall Detox.