Why Inflammation Is the Enemy of Health, and How to Beat It Naturally
Inflammation is often associated with pain, particularly sore muscles or swollen joints. But its impact on health runs far deeper. Chronic inflammation is associated with a host of serious conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and even depression.
Therefore, managing inflammation is one of the best ways to maintain well-being and keep disease at bay. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to do so, and not all of them involve reaching for the ibuprofen.
If you are looking for natural ways to reduce inflammation and stay healthier for longer, read on. But first, let’s look at what inflammation is and why it is such a significant problem.
Inflammation is often seen in a negative light, but it actually has an essential role in the body. It is the immune system’s first line of defense against invading pathogens such as bacteria and viruses. It is triggered by a highly complex cascade of reactions, which can be briefly summarised as follows:
- The immune system detects a threat, such as a virus entering the throat or a cut on the skin.
- Specialised cells release chemical beacons, which dilate the blood vessels and summon white blood cells to the affected area.
- Blood vessels in the affected area become more permeable, and fluid leaks into the surrounding tissues.
- White blood cells enter the tissues and work to neutralise the threat.
- Various other chemicals are released, facilitating the healing process.
This is a vastly simplified version of what is known as the inflammatory response. The dilation of blood vessels and leaking of fluid into the area is what causes familiar symptoms such as a sore throat or redness and swelling around a cut. It is a natural process that is designed to keep the body safe from infectious diseases.
A healthy inflammatory response should last just a few days before subsiding. However, sometimes, the immune system fails to switch it off when it should, and inflammation becomes chronic.
In severe cases, the immune system may begin attacking healthy tissue, as it does in autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis. In other situations, the inflammatory response is unable to switch off because it keeps being triggered. An example of this is osteoarthritis, where constant wear and tear on the joints leads to inflammation and pain.
But arthritis is not the only disease with chronic inflammation at its core. It is also involved in conditions like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, depression, and many more. It leads to an ongoing chemical imbalance within the body and causes progressive cellular changes.
Therefore, it is crucial to keep inflammation at bay in order to stay in optimal health. Let’s take a look at how to do this naturally.
When battling inflammation, your first thought might be to reach for the anti-inflammatory medicine. However, the most common class of anti-inflammatory drugs (known as NSAIDs and including ibuprofen, diclofenac, and more) have a serious impact on the beneficial organisms that live in the digestive tract. Over time, excessive NSAID use could lead to a state called leaky gut, which allows toxins to enter the bloodstream and triggers further body-wide inflammation.
Other drugs that impact gut health include antibiotics and antacids, so only use them when it is really necessary.
One of the best ways to manage inflammation without medication is by eating an anti-inflammatory diet. The Mediterranean diet is a fantastic example of this. It is rich in fresh fruit and vegetables, healthy fats (such as oily fish and olive oil), whole grains, and lean protein.
Meanwhile, you should do your best to avoid pro-inflammatory foods such as refined sugar, processed meat, trans fats, and hydrogenated oils. This might be challenging at times, but it’s definitely worth it!
Obesity is one of the biggest risk factors for chronic inflammation and its associated diseases. Therefore, maintaining a healthy body weight is one of the most effective weapons in your arsenal.
The ideal body mass index (BMI) is between 18.5 and 24.9. You can calculate yours by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in metres squared. Eating a healthy diet, engaging in regular physical activity, and consuming the right amount of calories for your lifestyle all go some way towards achieving this goal.
Stress and lack of sleep are both associated with chronic inflammation, and the two often go hand in hand. Finding ways to relax and get a good night’s rest are both critical in the fight against inflammation.
Many people enjoy gentle exercise, such as yoga or taichi, or spiritual practices like meditation. However, gardening, reading, and listening to music can all be equally relaxing pastimes. Finding something you enjoy is the key. When it is time to wind down for the evening, avoid caffeinated beverages, dim the lights, and settle down for a peaceful slumber.
If you suffer from severe anxiety or insomnia, consult your doctor for further advice.
If you need some extra help, there are plenty of natural anti-inflammatory supplements on the market. Some popular choices include turmeric, green tea extract, and reishi mushroom supplements. Another product that is gaining traction is the CBD gummies PureKana sells online.
With so many options to choose from, you are bound to find one that suits your needs. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for further guidance on the best anti-inflammatory supplement for you.
Read more: Why pain is important
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