If you’ve been following the Blue Heron Health News website for a while or reading up on natural health on other media, you’ve been bombarded with the importance of inflammation and how it’s causing many of the major diseases we face.
…just to name a few.
But when you try to figure out what exactly inflammation is and how exactly it causes these diseases, you don’t get many answers. So in this article I’ll try to give you as clear an answer as possible on this complicated issue.
You see, inflammation is in essence, an organism’s first attempt to heal itself once it senses injury or invasions.
The most visual example is if you hit your finger with a hammer and then watch it swell up in two minutes.
Swelling (due to fluid rushing into the injured area) is, however, only one of five signs of inflammation. The others are:
– Pain (due to stimulation of nerve endings),
– Heat (due to increased blood flow to the injured area),
– Immobility / loss of function (due to swelling and a neurological reflex to prevent further damage to the injured tissue).
As your finger swells up, you feel pain and pressure. It becomes red and hot and you have a hard time moving it. Depending on the weight of the hammer and the length of the healing process, the inflammation can last for hours or days. But once you feel the pressure release, you know your finger is going to feel just fine.
What you don’t see or feel are the millions of immune blood cells rushing into the area to restore injured tissues and fight any foreign invaders (like bacteria or splinters).
The fact is, we could not live without inflammation. Without it wounds and infections would never heal and organs would progressively fade into destruction.
So what’s the issue then, you may ask.
You see, it’s when inflammation becomes chronic, it’s destructive and contributes to major and minor diseases.
Chronic inflammation happens when this ongoing mechanism doesn’t stop once it has served its purpose. Or when the immune system perceives things as threats, creating an inflammation response. Or, even worse, when the immune system begins to attack its own healthy organism.
Chronic inflammation leads to a change in the types of cells located around the area of inflammation. This leads to a chronic circle of healing and destruction at the same time.
One very obvious type of chronic inflammation is an allergic reaction. Seemingly safe things like cat hair are detected by the body as a foreign invader. The immune system is triggered and the inflammation response is created where the “foreign attack” (the cat hair) stimulated the response.
In the case of allergies, once the foreign invader (the cat) is removed, the immune system quickly returns to normal and the inflammation disappears.
Then we have the longer lasting chronic inflammation.
Sometimes, for example, immune systems detect joint cartilage cells as foreign invasion and begin to attack their own organism. To recover, the inflammation response is triggered again. So the body attacks and restores at the same time. This example leads to arthritis.
The inflammation reaction can ‘mistakenly’ be triggered anywhere in the body. If your immune system begins attacking your pancreas, you’ll develop type 2 diabetes.
It’s like your body is fighting a civil war against itself and nobody knows for sure why and how it began.
What can be even more serious is that while the body is busy fighting itself, it may not have enough forces to battle real threats like the flu and other diseases, leaving us very vulnerable.
By now you’ve probably realized the solution is not simple. We can’t just get rid of all inflammation because we need it for our survival. Instead we need a diplomatic solution.
Like in most wars, the fault doesn’t lie with the soldiers (the white blood cells) doing the fighting but rather among the governing authorities. For some reason, the brain is sending out message to the immune system to attack its own forces.
So in dealing with chronic inflammation, we need to avoid anything that stimulates unnecessary inflammation attacks and increase everything that helps monitor the stimulation system. This helps your brain detect what is the real danger and where it’s overreacting.
This is best done with diet changes.
When we talk about anti-inflammatory diet, we’re not talking about diet that suppresses the inflammatory response (although that may be needed in the beginning) but rather diet that helps to monitor and manage inflammation.
By far, the number one thing on the list to be able to monitor the inflammation reaction is to increase your Omega-3 fat intake. This healthy fat suppresses the inflammation response temporarily, giving your system time to realize if the threat is legitimate or not.
Fish is the best source of Omega-3 but Flax seed is also a great source. Since the body seems to have an easier time processing Omega-3 fats from fish, you’ll have to take up to three times more Omega-3 if you opt for vegan selections.
Pretty much all kinds of berries have been shown to help monitor the inflammation response.
Processed sugar and corn syrup are probably the worst kind of inflammation triggers. They simulate the protein your body sends out naturally to trigger a healthy inflammation response. So when you consume sugar, your body is loaded with warfare banners. And if there is nobody else to fight, it fights itself.
Trans fats and other highly heated and processed foods plus chemicals added to most processed food you find in fast food places and supermarkets work in similar ways as sugar to ‘confuse’ the inflammation response.
Finally, stress is one of the major players in triggering unnecessary inflammation responses. Relaxing and taking a load off will do wonders in dealing with any chronic diseases.
For more info on how to tackle inflammation and win, check out:
Our all natural type 2 diabetes program… Type 2 Diabetes Guide
Our 21-day plan to overcome arthritis naturally… Arthritis Guide
And PLEASE don’t forget to leave your comment below.
by Shelly Manning