What is Inflammation? And How Does it Work Against You?

Inflammation

Inflammation can be experienced or manifest in different ways. Some of the most common are bloating, swelling, retaining water, pain and loss of mobility, hot and puffy areas. So why does inflammation happen?

There are many reasons for inflammation, among them illness, disease, injury and infection to name just a few. Inflammation is the body’s immune system’s response to an irritant. That could be a germ, bacteria or even dirt in a cut or a splinter. Inflammation begins before infection starts, right when the body begins to fight against the harmful irritant.

So, do we want to completely eradicate inflammation? Nope, we need some aspects of inflammation, but it is when inflammation becomes chronic that or acute that it has a negative impact on the healing process. Since inflammation, is part of the body’s natural healing system and also helps fight injury and infection we need some inflammation when we become injured or develop an illness. But inflammation does not only happen in response to injury and illness. Inflammatory responses can also occur when the immune system goes into a state of alarm without an injury or infection to fight.

 

How does inflammation impact health?

When inflammation occurs in your body, a lot of different immune system cells can be involved. When this happens, they release inflammatory mediators including the hormones bradykinin and histamine. This causes an increase in blood flow to reach the injured tissue which is why inflamed areas turn red and feel warm or hot.

According to a study published through NIH, ‘The increased blood flow also allows more immune system cells to be carried to the injured tissue, where they help with the healing process. What’s more, both of these hormones irritate nerves and cause pain signals to be sent to the brain. This has a protective function: If the inflammation hurts, you tend to protect the affected part of the body. The inflammatory mediators have yet another function: They make it easier for immune system cells to pass out of the small blood vessels, so that more of them can enter the affected tissue. The immune system cells also cause more fluid to enter the inflamed tissue, which is why it often swells up. The swelling goes down again after a while, when this fluid is transported out of the tissue. Mucous membranes also release more fluid when they are inflamed. For instance, this happens when you have a stuffy nose and the membranes lining your nose are inflamed. Then the extra fluid can help to quickly flush the viruses out of your body’ – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279298/

While inflammation is the body’s natural response and often helpful in your healing process, it is not always helpful. Some diseases cause the immune system to get confused and fight against the body’s own cells, causing harmful inflammation. Some of these diseases are; Rheumatoid arthritis, Psoriasis, Inflammatory bowel diseases. Other conditions that can cause inflammation are; Food allergies, Cystitis, Bronchitis, Otitis and Dermatitis.

What causes chronic inflammation?

Chronic inflammation can be incredibly harmful to your health and wellbeing. It is often caused by untreated or chronic infections or injuries, autoimmune disorders, chronic or long-term exposure to chemicals, toxins and food allergens, and stress which can be mental, physical or emotional

 

Ways to decrease inflammation

Here are a few tips to reducing inflammation:

  1. Remove inflammatory foods from your diet
  2. Reduce stress and practice stress management
  3. Reduce exposure to toxins and chemicals
  4. Move your body
  5. Take supplements to support inflammation
  6. Drink plenty of water

Foods that cause inflammation

Here are some of the foods as well as commonly found elements in those foods that can increase inflammation or further aggravate an inflammatory state:

  • Refined sugar
  • Saturated Fats
  • Artificial Sweeteners
  • Pesticides and Chemicals
  • Trans Fats
  • Refined Carbohydrates
  • Gluten and Casein
  • MSG

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