Everything You Need To Know About Inflammation

Excess inflammation = Pain.

Do you suffer from chronic back pain?

Headaches?

Hormonal imbalances?

Decreased immunity?

Chronic fatigue?

Acne?

Rashes?

Decreased recovery time after exercise?

Well then, you may just be dealing with a case of excess or chronic inflammation.

At this point, you have most likely become quite familiar with the term inflammation. In fact, it is starting to be said that pretty much ALL dis-ease in the body has its roots in inflamed body tissues. In fact, all of the diseases that end in ‘itis’ mean inflammation of a specific part of the body – such as arthrITIS, which is inflammation of the joints, bursITIS, which is inflammation of the bursa sacs, and appendicITIS which is inflammation of the appendix.

In this article you will learn:

  • Exactly what inflammation is
  • Why it occurs
  • When it is a good thing and when it is a bad thing
  • How to bring it under control if it is wreaking havoc in your body.

So What Exactly IS Inflammation?

Inflammation is an immune response to trauma in the body tissues.

This trauma could be a cut, a broken bone, the introduction of a foreign object into the body tissue (think splinter) or the consumption of a bacteria or virus.

What we are talking about when we say ‘inflammation’ is a series of reactions that take place within the body in order to heal damaged or injured cells.

The whole process of inflammation has three goals:

  1. Remove whatever is causing damage to the tissues.
  2. Cleanse away all dead tissue.
  3. Start the process of tissue repair.

 

What Exactly Happens In The Inflammatory Response?

When your body tissues are damaged, this sets off the ‘inflammatory pathways,’ which signal the immune system to go to work. The following will then take place:

  • Increased blood flow to the site trauma.
  • Increased platelet count at the site of trauma.
  • Increased white blood cell count at the site of trauma – remember that white blood cells help to fight against foreign invaders as well as helping to clean up dead tissue/cells.
  • Increased fluid sent to the site.
  • Increased permeability of the vascular system at the site. Meaning your blood vessels let more fluid flow into the surrounding cells than they normally would.

As you can see, all of these reactions play a role in either fighting infection, clearing away dead tissues and cells, and increasing nutrient and oxygen concentration at the site of injury in order to initiate healing.

  • Heating of the tissues.
  • Swelling.
  • Redness.
  • Soreness/pain.
  • Loss of mobility.

At this point, you can see how inflammation is actually a very important and necessary reaction that serves to help keep you alive. Without it you could potentially bleed out from a small cut, or die from an out of control infection. So what is the problem then? Why would anyone want to get rid of inflammation? Why do we say it is part of being in a ‘disease’ state?

The Difference Between Acute And Chronic Inflammation:

Acute Inflammation: Acute inflammation is essentially everything we have covered in this article so far. It is a reaction on the bodies’ part to a trauma, and it is meant to be short lived. This is the kind of inflammation you want.

Chronic Inflammation: This is the type of inflammation that gets you into trouble! You see, when the inflammatory response is prolonged, meaning it stays activated past what would be needed for the initial phases of healing after a trauma, we see more damage being done via the inflammatory process than it was initially trying to heal.

When the body stays inflamed, we see that it causes extra cellular damage and death, we see a decrease in the PH of the body tissues – meaning they become more acidic and less alkaline – we see an over accumulation of fluid in the cells and an over permeability of the capillaries and veins.

Chronic inflammation also causes a depressed immune system, stresses the other organs of the body causing them to function less optimally, and ultimately drains the body or resources making it more susceptible to damage, infection and imbalance overall. All of these things cause pain, reduced function, and over time can lead to serious health complications.

Some examples of chronic inflammation are all of those ‘itis’ diseases we looked at at the beginning of this article. Chronic inflammation also plays a role in chronic back and other skeletal muscle pain, migraine headaches, increased infection rate, lowered immunity, chronic fatigue, and so many other things! Now you can start to see why it is thought that all disease has its main roots in chronic inflammation.

The Acid Effect:

One last important note before we get to the hopeful portion of this article is the acidification of body tissues that takes place in chronic inflammation. Where we see acid accumulation in the body tissues, we see damage, death and disease. Inflammation and acidification go hand in hand. It is impossible to have healthy tissues, and thus a health body and be acidic at the same time. Acidification is basic chemistry – it is the introduction of too many POSITIVELY CHARGED ions into the system.

These positively charged ions stick like glue to the negatively charged body tissues, and this causes damage and decay over time. We will explore this more as we go on, but for now just remember:

Inflammation = Acidification = Death and decay/pain.

You want to reduce acidification of the tissues as much as possible, and this often starts with alkalizing the body.

So What Can You DO About Inflammation?!

Now that you understand inflammation, you understand why it happens, and you have an idea of what it looks like to be suffering from chronic inflammation, what can you do about it?

To make things simple, healing from chronic inflammation requires that you pay attention to the Three M’s Of Inflammation Management:

1st M = Munch: The foods you consume have a PROFOUND effect on either activating or quelling the inflammatory responses in your body. Foods that are ACID FORMING in the body are going to activate and accelerate the inflammation pathways. This is not what you want! Alkaline foods on the other hand are going to deactivate and dramatically reduce the inflammation pathways in the body, helping you to heal and feel better.

Some examples of those acid forming foods are:

  • White flour
  • White sugar
  • Animal foods like meat, dairy and eggs
  • Processed and refined oils

Some examples of the alkaline forming and therefore healing foods are:

  • Dark leafy greens
  • Fresh fruits
  • Sprouts
  • Good quality omega three fatty acid rich foods
  • Sea veggies
  • Fresh fruit and vegetable juices
  • Easy to digest starches like yams and sweet potatoes.

If you are dealing with any kind of inflammation, you are going to want to centre your diet on these inflammation fighting, alkaline foods, and reduce (not eliminate entirely) those acidic foods.

2nd M = Move: The way you move is also going to be incredibly important for healing the body of excessive inflammation. With movement, I want you to think Goldilocks – not too little, and not too much, but juuuuuust right.

Remember that exercise is essentially a process of breaking the body down. This automatically causes the body to go into an inflamed state, in order to repair the damage. This can be a very good thing, as it can actually stimulate the body to renew and regenerate itself, because you are activating the renewal of your tissues via the inflammatory response. This response is all about healing damaged cells. In this way exercise encourages an increased rate of cellular turnover, meaning less necrotic or inefficient cells survive in your system, and you create the conditions for more effective and efficient cells to be created.

When given the proper recovery conditions – IE. adequate nutrition, rest, oxygen and relaxation – your body is going to be built back stronger every time you break it down with movement.

If, on the other hand you are moving in a way that your body cannot properly recover from – if you are over moving or under recovering – this is going to set you up for a chronic inflammation state. So while no movement can encourage inflammation via the body not being stimulated enough to get rid of dead and dying cells, too much exercise can cause you to be in a state of constant body breakdown without the necessary time to heal and fully regenerate. If you feel overly sore, overly tired after your workouts, or are dealing with pre-existing inflammatory issues, you want to tread the exercise waters very carefully.

3rd M = Mindset: Finally, learning how to reduce your stress levels is going to be vitally important for healing inflammation. When the body is in a constant stress state – meaning you are asking the body to produce stress hormones more than 1-2 times a month – you are causing excess inflammation. This is because your stress hormones – adrenaline and cortisol – are actually inflaming and acidifying for the body. In this way, if you are eating an amazing diet, resting, getting just the right amount of exercise, are spending time in nature and all of that – but the wheels are spinning in your head all day every day – you are inflaming yourself. This is because your body cannot tell the difference between something catastrophic happening in your physical 3D reality, and you just lying in bed worrying. The stress response and the subsequent stress hormones get produced the exact same way in both cases. This means that mental chatter that fills your mind all day every day is causing your body to over excrete stress hormones, which cause excess inflammation in your body. Calming the mind is a powerful tool for the fighting of inflammation that cannot be overlooked!

I hope you feel totally empowered and ready to tackle any inflammation that may be happening in your body right now. Remember that healing is a process, so do not get ahead of yourself, or expect yourself to be a perfect anti-inflammatory buff right off the bat. Choose one or two of the points above and apply them to your life, and then see how you feel. Your mind and your body will thank you!

In the next blog I will be sharing the Top 10 Best Inflammation Fighters. Stay tuned for that!

 


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Ali Washington

Ali Washington

Ali is the author of The Perception Diet.She is a Registered Nutritional Councillor, RYT, Trained Life Coach and Reiki Master with 10 years of experience in the health and wellness arena, coaching people on their path to a life where they are thriving.

It is Ali's mission to help everyone create a harmonious and loving relationship with their bodies, and to learn how to use their emotions to lead them to their desired lives.
Ali Washington
About The Author

Ali Washington

Ali is the author of The Perception Diet. She is a Registered Nutritional Councillor, RYT, Trained Life Coach and Reiki Master with 10 years of experience in the health and wellness arena, coaching people on their path to a life where they are thriving.

It is Ali’s mission to help everyone create a harmonious and loving relationship with their bodies, and to learn how to use their emotions to lead them to their desired lives.

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