What is Inflammation?
Most people do not associate common health issues with inflammation. There are two types of inflammation: acute and chronic. Acute inflammation is a naturally occurring response the body has to harmful or injured tissue and cells. Some examples of an injured site can be an infection, a bite, a physical injury, a splinter, a burn…etc… The body recognizes the injury as a threat to it’s state of natural homeostasis (equilibrium and total balance of all cells and tissues). The response sends large amounts of plasma and white blood cells from the blood to the injured tissue to “attack the invader”. With good health and under normal circumstances, the inflammatory response recedes and the body returns back to homeostasis.
Chronic Recurring Inflammation
When there is imbalance in the body (such as poor diet, self-hate, stress, lack of sleep…), the normal inflammatory response transforms into chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is a series of biochemical events that occur which reproduce and intensify the inflammatory response. This leads to a progressive shift in the type of cells present at the injured site and causes the inflammation to be prolonged. Basically, chronic inflammation is characterized by simultaneous destruction and healing of the tissue.
When chronic inflammation is not addressed by getting to the underlying cause and treating imbalance in the whole body, the inflammation will start to spread to other parts of the body. When this happens, disease and serious illness can manifest.
Your Body is Overheating!
From an energetic perspective, inflammation is an indication of excessive heat in the body. This heat is circulated over and over throughout the body. Since every food that exists on the planet also has an energetic property, foods consumed that have a heating effect worsen the overheating of the body. The standard American diet (SAD) consists mostly of heat producing pro-inflammatory foods. Fast food, processed and packaged junk foods, chips, soda and excessive meat consumption are just some of the examples of heat producing foods.
Symptoms of Inflammation
When people consume these pro-inflammatory foods, they are not only going to experience inflammation locally (like rosacea, gout or arthritic joints) but they are dramatically increasing their risk for disease. Acute inflammation is a healthy response of the immune system to keep the body in balance. Common conditions such as arthritis, sinusitis, gingivitis and gum disease, prostatitis and inflammatory bowel diseases are directly related to chronic inflammation. Inflammation is also believed to cause or worsen all skin rashes and redness, GERD, migraines, asthma, cancer, diabetes and even serious neurological diseases like ALS, MS and Alzheimer’s. When you are constantly getting rashes or have breakouts on your skin with redness and swelling, it is your body telling you chronic inflammation is present. These symptoms are meant as warning signs that require your immediate attention. Applying a popular cream to topically eliminate the redness or acne may help your external appearance but will NOT address the internal imbalance whatsoever.
The Origin of Inflammation
An easy way to understand inflammation and inflammatory diseases is to examine the words. Within the word inflammation, you will find the Latin origin of the word inflammare, which means inflame in English. Anytime you have a disease directly associated with inflammation, you will see the suffix called -itis. The suffix comes from the Greek language and literally means any disease or condition characterized by inflammation. Let’s take a look at the word sinusitis and look at the meaning of the word. When you start to understand the origin of these words, you will clearly see that it means sinus inflammation.
Hurry, Call the Fire Department!
So we now know that the word inflammation means to be inflamed and all diseases that end with -itis mean inflammation of that part of the body. It is time to start putting out the fire. All of the conditions caused by chronic inflammation can be prevented and/or reversed.
If you are serious about having exceptional health and living in a constant state of homeostasis, I highly recommend adopting a more anti-inflammatory lifestyle. There are simple but very effective ways to cool the body and lessen the recurring inflammatory response.
Summer vegetables (especially zucchini and cucumber) have a very strong and fast cooling effect on the body. What I usually do for a cooling summer snack is slice a couple and dip them into hummus (which is also cooling). Drinking plenty of water can also cool the body down and flush toxins out. All green leafy veggies are also great for inflammation. By far the most effective thing when it comes to nutrition for inflammation is omega 3 fatty acids. Fish oil has one of the highest amounts of anti-inflammatory omega 3 content. There are other plant sources for high omega 3’s as well such as flax seed oil. Here are five more anti-inflammatory foods that help with cooling the body down.
Anti-Inflammatory Foods for Health
I highly recommend the book Anti-Inflammatory Foods for Health. This is an amazing book that explains how omega-3 fatty acids tend to decrease inflammation while omega-6 fats and trans-fats increase inflammation. While many foods in the standard American diet (unrefined white flour, sugar, red meat, dairy, fast food, and food additives) exacerbate inflammation, a healthy diet made up of fish, nuts, seeds, oils, lean grass-fed meats and fruits and vegetables can help lessen or prevent inflammation. Likewise, certain spices such as turmeric, cloves and ginger have proven anti-inflammatory activity. You can order the book here.
Balance your Mental and Emotional Fire
It is very important to remember that no amount of energetically cooling food you consume can correct a heat imbalance of the mind or emotions. If you are holding onto anger over a failed relationship, you are subconsciously producing excessive amounts of heat in your system. If you are constantly jealous or envious of people or situations, you are most likely going to have an emotional disposition to physical heat induced health issues. If you are stressed out all the time, this too can create a space for overheating of the mind and body.
Compassionate Support in Dealing with Inflammation
In order to maintain full balance of the physical body, you must also address the mental and emotional part of you that makes you whole. I am a certified holistic health coach and my approach to wellness involves integrating all aspects of a person. Reducing and eliminating inflammation is one of the many areas I support my clients with. If you are experiencing chronic inflammation or conditions worsened by it, I highly recommend scheduling a free initial consultation with me today. Learn more by visiting my website.
Do you have any tips on how to decrease the inflammation in your body?
© 2013 Michael Tamez