We’ve talked about inflammation before. It is a part of the body’s natural immune response and defense. When a cut swells up and turns red, that’s your body starting the process of healing. But sometimes, our natural response takes it a bit too far and goes into overdrive. This prolonged inflammation can cause a lot of health problems including asthma, blindness, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and arthritis. Did you know your diet highly influences the amount of inflammation in the body? If you suffer from symptoms such as joint pain, stiffness, and swelling, the inflammation diet might be for you!
But First, What Causes Inflammation?
Inflammation is a reaction to an injury or infection. Just as a square is a rectangle but a rectangle isn’t a square; inflammation doesn’t mean there’s an infection, but an infection can cause inflammation.
In a nutshell, when the body is responding with inflammation, normally smaller arteries enlarge to increase blood flow. Capillaries allow fluids and proteins to move between blood and the cells more easily. And lastly, the body will release a type of white blood cell containing enzymes to digest microorganisms.
Symptoms of Acute Inflammation
As there are two different types of inflammation, acute and chronic, symptoms of inflammation will vary. Acute inflammation specifically includes the following:
- Pain: The inflamed area is likely to be painful to the touch as nerve endings are much more sensitive
- Redness: The inflamed area will appear red as that area receives more blood flow
- Immobility: The inflamed area may feel tight and less flexible as the area is stressed and filled with extra
- Swelling: Also caused by the buildup of fluid
- Heat: As blood flow increases to a particular area, the same area will feel warm to the touch
And as for Chronic
Symptoms of chronic inflammation are different than acute. These symptoms include:
- Mouth sores
- Chest pain
- Abdominal pain
- Joint pain
The Inflammation Diet
Making some minor tweaks to your diet can help reduce the risk and presence of continual inflammation. Remember though, thinking about the food that fuels you is only one part of the inflammation equation. These foods can help prepare the immune system to act consistently and effectively during times “good” inflammation is necessary.
Think to the Mediterranean diet as these foods include:
- Olive oil
- Nuts (walnuts and almonds)
- Leafy greens (spinach and kale)
- Fatty fish (salmon and mackerel)
- Fruit (blueberries and oranges)
These foods are considered health foods. And they are all high in natural antioxidants, healthy fats, and other protective plant-based compounds.
Foods to Avoid
You may have guessed that foods that aren’t exactly considered healthy would be the inflammation culprits. Try to avoid processed and fried foods as they only aggravate inflammation. Other foods to avoid include:
- White bread
- Foods containing refined carbohydrates
- Soda/sugary drinks
- Red meat
- Margarine and lard
Food isn’t the only edible that can aid in relieving inflammation. Try these herbs the next time inflammation symptoms arise:
- Harpagophytum procumbens (devil’s claw, wood spider, grapple plant)
- Hyssop (normally consumed with other herbs like licorice)
Let Zock Family Chiropractic Help!
As chiropractic care becomes more and more popular, why not try this preventive measure out for yourself? Chiropractic care is focused on allowing our spine and nerves to work to their potential. This results in not only allowing our organs to function but for them to function to their best ability. Furthermore, along with helping the optimal functioning of our organs, realigning the spine may also help with increasing our immune system effectiveness and our hormone functions. Make an appointment today to schedule an introductory chiropractic session. We can discuss your pains and needs as part of my initial chiropractic workup for you as a new patient to our practice!