Inflammation afflicts millions of people each day and it’s a natural response to an infection or an injury. Your body knows how to handle most inflammatory responses naturally. Chronic inflammation, however, is your body’s response to a disease such as arthritis, diabetes or heart disease to name a few. Many people will automatically reach for Aspirin or Tylenol for relief. At times, your physician may prescribe a steroid or NSAID (non steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) such a Naproxen. But what do these anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, NSAIDS and steroids do to our bodies?
When there is an injury, inflammation is a normal response of our body. There is often pain and swelling associated with the injury. These normal inflammatory and anti-inflammatory responses of our body are assisted by prostaglandins that are an end product of essential fatty acids; fats from our diet. Prostaglandins are either pro-inflammatory (PG2) or anti-inflammatory (PG1 & PG3). All three forms are necessary for maintaining our body’s homeostasis, as well as, repairing and healing our body.
Here’s an example: You are out running and you sprain your ankle. You immediately feel and the pain and see your ankle swelling. This is Prostaglandin 2 (PG2) at work. PG2 functions by converting an essential fatty acid called arachadonic acid, found in organ and red meats, dairy, shellfish, and coconut oil into PG2. Prostaglandin 2 begins the healing process at the site of the injury.
When aspirin, NSAIDS and steroids are prescribed for the pain and inflammation, these items will block the production of arachadonic acid and thereby stop the body from producing PG2. This can cause the healing process to stop or even delay the normal healing process. In addition, the continued use of aspirin, NSAIDS and steroids can cause other health issues such as stomach ulcers, high blood pressure, heart, and kidney problems.
Diet plays an important role in maintaining our body’s proper function. Many times people are eating the wrong types of food filled with sugar, processed and packaged foods and fats such a hydrogenated oils. Changing your diet to include more Omega 3 fats such as those found in salmon and other seafoods, as well as, saturated fat from coconut oil and mono-saturated fatty acids such as olive, avocado, almond, and walnut oils. If there is an issue with constant inflammation, beginning with a diet that balances the amount of essential fatty acids, the Omega fats, and eating whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds will begin to heal the body and put it back into homeostasis. This can eventually assist in reducing the inflammation and your overall health will benefit as well.
Here are a few suggestions to get you started;
1. Eat more Omega 3 fatty acids by choosing grass fed and finished beef/lamb, pasture-raised eggs and poultry.
2. Eat whole nutritional organic foods like fruits and veggies either raw or slightly steamed.
3. Consume less than 25mg/day of sugar. Sugar causes inflammation by raising blood sugar levels. By eating less sugar you can eliminate inflammation
4. Drink more water. You should be drinking 60 or more ounces of water per day. Figure out how much water you need by taking your weight and dividing it by two. That is the number of ounces of water you should be drinking. EX. You weigh 150lbs divided by 2 = 75. 75 oz of water per day. Coffee, tea and soda do not count toward your water intake.
5. Spice up your foods. Turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, rosemary and organo are several herbs and spices that have been shown to reduce inflammation.
5. MOVE! Get out and walk!
Let your body heal itself!