Inflammation is the new buzzword of our time, and for good reason. It’s one of the leading causes of an alarming number of diseases, at least when it is chronic. Acute inflammation generally happens when we experience a cut or burn, or have an infection. In that circumstance, the body’s defense is inflammation, bringing increased blood flow to the area to help heal injured tissues. In the case of chronic inflammation, this natural response is magnified and occurs without provocation, leading to a pervasive, damaging response in our bodies. Chronic inflammation can lead to cancer, diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, rheumatoid arthritis, dementia, even anxiety and depression. This article outlines just what it is that causes chronic inflammation, and what lifestyle changes to adopt in order to keep mind and body healthy. To maintain healthy skin, use Sciadonic’s Delta-5TM oil regularly in conjunction with a conscientious skin care regimen.
Causes of Inflammation
There is no single cause of chronic inflammation, rather there are a multitude of ways to develop it; however, it is treatable via diet, exercise and mindfulness-based practices aimed at reducing stress and anxiety. Chronic inflammation is preventable. It is only when the ongoing inflammation triggers a serious disease that it becomes more difficult to treat. Below are some of the root causes of inflammation.
Foods to Avoid
Diet plays a huge role in the prevention of chronic inflammation. The following list identifies the most common culprits. Cut these from your diet, and you have an instantly better chance of avoiding chronic inflammation and thus a number of devastating health issues:
- Sugar: Sugar is bad for wellbeing on a number of levels. It causes weight gain and leads to mood instability. But did you know that it can trigger a release of inflammatory messengers called cytokines? These cell secretions can have a damaging effect on other cells, and thus on general health.
- Saturated Fats: Saturated fats are bad for health, but not only because they contribute to weight gain. They also can cause fat tissue inflammation, which leads to worsening of health conditions — such as arthritis — due to excess pressure put on the joints. Saturated fat is present in many different kinds of processed foods, meats, full-fat dairy products, pasta dishes and pizza.
- Trans Fats: Trans fats have been modified through the process of hydrogenation so your body isn’t equipped to digest them well. Trans fats are present in all fast foods, processed snack food items, deep-fried foods (doughnuts, too), refrigerated doughs, non dairy creamers and margarines.
- Omega 6 Fatty Acids: Who would have thought that omega fatty acids would be bad for you? Of course, these are omega 6 fatty acids, not omega 3 fatty acids. And, like so many other things, omega 6 fatty acids are damaging if taken in excess. Omega 6 fatty acids are present in oils made from corn, safflower, grape seed, and peanuts. They show up in mayonnaise and salad dressings. In order to avoid chronic inflammation, do not take a general fatty acid supplement. It is preferable to get omega fatty acids via diet rather than through supplements. An excess in omega 6 can trigger an inflammatory response in the body.
- Refined Carbs: These include white flour products such as breads, crackers and rolls, white rice, white potatoes and cereal. All of these are high glycemic index foods that stimulate inflammation-producing chemicals.
- MSG: This additive is meant to enhance the flavor of food and is mainly in prepared Asian foods and soy sauce, as well as soup mixes and deli meats and cheeses. Research on mice indicates MSG damages liver tissue, causing inflammation.
- Gluten: Gluten is a mixture of two proteins found in wheat, barley and rye which some people can not digest well. Most pasta is made from wheat semolina flour, which is why pasta and bread are often taken out of the diet (for both weight loss and to prevent and treat inflammation).
- Aspartame: Reaching for that diet soda? Stop! Aspartame is a toxic chemical that has been connected to a number of neurodegenerative diseases. Long term consumption of the artificial sweetener aspartame (ASP) induced large increments in cortical inflammation and oxidative stress. Choose a low sugar pressed juice instead. It’s actually much more refreshing!
Excess weight is never good for the body. It puts undue strain on the heart, pressure on the joints and can lead to fatty liver disease. Each of these is an opportunity for chronic inflammation. It is generally avoidable with adherence to a conscientious diet and regular exercise routine.
Is your boss constantly berating you at work? Perhaps you’ve been fighting with your spouse more frequently. Or are money problems dogging you? It seems that these days, everyone has the opportunity to experience the negative effects of chronic psychological stress. You’ve heard the adage, ‘Stress kills’ — well, it’s true.
There are no physical benefits to smoking cigarettes. In fact, there are so many reasons not to smoke that the rate of smoking has gone down in recent years. It exposes multiple body systems (skin, lungs, heart, liver, etc.) to chemical irritants.
Although there are a myriad of ways to provoke an inflammatory response in the body, there are also preventative tools to avoid chronic inflammation and the health problems it can create. Engage in a healthy, low-stress lifestyle if possible, and do things to counteract your stress levels. Eat a balanced, healthy diet. Exercise regularly and spend time in nature. Keep a positive attitude. These things will all help to avoid inflammation-related illness.