Inflammation: The Silent Killer

How to Fight It with Naturopathy

What is inflammation?

Inflammation is a natural response of your immune system to fight infections and injuries. However, when inflammation becomes chronic or excessive, it can cause damage to your cells and tissues and increase your risk of various diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, cancer, and Alzheimer’s.

Sometimes irritants that cause inflammation may not be noticeable, even though chronic inflammation can be silent and not cause pain. Over time, the build-up of these irritating substances can make inflammation worse.

Chronic inflammation is quite common and has been correlated to various illnesses such as heart disease, high blood pressure, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, arthritis, cancers, bowel diseases, and mental health issues.

Symptoms like redness, rashes, swelling, weight gain, joint pain, headaches, fatigue, susceptibility to colds, and digestive problems may suggest the presence of excessive inflammation, even in the absence of a diagnosed health condition.

The information in this article is generic, so please book a consult with me or your healthcare practitioner before making any dietary or lifestyle changes.

Food as a solution

One of the factors that can influence your inflammation levels is your diet. Some foods can trigger or worsen inflammation, while others can help reduce it.

An anti-inflammatory diet involves eating nutrient-rich, whole foods that reduce inflammation in your body. This means a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish – unprocessed. It contains plenty of fibre, antioxidants, and omega-3s.

Consuming diverse nutrient-dense foods is imperative for boosting the body’s anti-inflammatory pathways and reinstating equilibrium.

  • Increasing omega-3 levels in the body to balance omega-6
  • Increase antioxidants and other nutrients found in plant foods
  • Balancing blood sugar with low glycemic foods (foods that do not increase blood sugar quickly)  
  • Support a healthy gut and identify food sensitivities to improve the immune system
  • Limit pro-inflammatory foods: processed foods, refined carbohydrates and sugars, trans fats, and excess saturated fat and vegetable oils  
anti-inflammatory foods

What is an anti-inflammatory diet?

The anti-inflammatory diet has been associated with reducing the risk and management of chronic diseases and reducing blood markers or inflammation. This eating pattern makes plant foods a significant focus, along with healthy fat sources.

Although there is no one definition of an anti-inflammatory diet, it primarily includes whole foods and limits refined, ultra-processed foods, excess sugar, and foods high in saturated fats. This eating style is rich in antioxidant plant foods, anti-inflammatory pathway-supporting fats, and gut and immune-supporting foods to combat inflammation. 

Some of the foods that you should include
in an anti-inflammatory diet

  • Tomatoes are high in lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that can reduce inflammation in your lungs and blood vessels.
  • Olive oil is a source of monounsaturated fat and polyphenols, which have anti-inflammatory and cardioprotective effects.
  • Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and collards, are rich in vitamin K, folate, and carotenoids, which can lower inflammation and oxidative stress.
  • Nuts, such as almonds and walnuts, are packed with healthy fats, fibre, protein, and minerals that can modulate inflammation and support your immune system.
  • Fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines, are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which can reduce inflammation by inhibiting the production of pro-inflammatory molecules.
  • Fruits like berries, cherries, oranges, and apples are loaded with vitamin C flavonoids and other phytochemicals that can scavenge free radicals and lower inflammation.

Spices and herbs are great for adding flavour and aroma to your dishes and can also help reduce inflammation in your body.

  • Turmeric is a bright yellow spice that contains a compound called curcumin, which has powerful anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Ginger has been used for thousands of years in traditional medicine; it contains several active compounds.
  • Studies have shown that garlic can help lower blood levels of CRP and other inflammatory markers, as well as improve endothelial function and blood pressure.
  • Rosemary is an aromatic herb commonly used in Mediterranean cuisines and herbal remedies to enhance memory, digestion, and circulation.

If you are following an anti-inflammatory diet, it’s best to avoid or limit certain foods.

 

For instance, you should avoid refined carbohydrates like white bread, pastries, and sugary drinks. These foods can cause inflammation and oxidative stress by spiking blood sugar and insulin levels.

 

Additionally, fried foods such as french fries, chips, and doughnuts can be harmful because they contain trans fats and advanced glycation end products (AGEs), which can increase inflammation and harm your blood vessels and organs.

 

Processed meats like bacon, sausage, ham, and salami should also be limited since they contain nitrates, nitrites, and other additives that can increase inflammation and increase your risk of cancer.

 

Finally, it’s best to avoid margarine, shortening, and lard, which are sources of artificial trans fats that can raise LDL, lower HDL, and increase your risk of heart disease.

Following an anti-inflammatory diet can have many benefits for your health and well-being.

 

It can help you prevent or manage chronic diseases, improve your mood and cognition, enhance your energy and immunity, and support your weight management.

However, an anti-inflammatory diet is not a one-size-fits-all approach.

You may need to adjust it according to your personal preferences, needs, and goals.

You may also need to consider other factors that can affect your inflammation levels, such as stress, sleep, exercise, environmental toxins, and medications.

As a naturopath, I can help you design an anti-inflammatory diet that suits you best.

 

I can also offer other natural and holistic therapies that complement your diet and help you reduce inflammation and improve your health.

If you are interested in learning more about how naturopathy can help you with inflammation or any other health issue, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me to book a consultation.

 

I look forward to hearing from you and helping you achieve optimal health and well-being.

Bustamante MF, Agustín-Perez M, Cedola F, Coras R, Narasimhan R, Golshan S, Guma M. Design of an anti-inflammatory diet (ITIS diet) for patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Contemp Clin Trials Commun. 2020 Jan 21;17:100524. doi: 10.1016/j.conctc.2020.100524. PMID: 32025586; PMCID: PMC6997513.

Nestel P. Trans fatty acids: are its cardiovascular risks fully appreciated? Clin Ther. 2014 Mar 1;36(3):315-21. doi: 10.1016/j.clinthera.2014.01.020. PMID: 24636816.

Fardet A. Minimally processed foods are more satiating and less hyperglycemic than ultra-processed foods: a preliminary study with 98 ready-to-eat foods. Food Funct. 2016 May 18;7(5):2338-46. doi: 10.1039/c6fo00107f. Epub 2016 Apr 29. PMID: 27125637.

Grandl G, Wolfrum C. Hemostasis, endothelial stress, inflammation, and the metabolic syndrome. Semin Immunopathol. 2018 Feb;40(2):215-224. doi: 10.1007/s00281-017-0666-5. Epub 2017 Dec 5. PMID: 29209827; PMCID: PMC5809518.

DISCLAIMER

This is a personal blog and may contain general health and medical information. This information should not be construed as medical advice or relied upon as a sole source of information. If you are experiencing health concerns, it is imperative to seek help from a medical professional.  The information and opinions expressed on this website are not to be taken as medical advice. No liability or responsibility for actions taken due to information on this website will be taken. All views and opinions represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to Samantha Lluisé of Lotus Womens Health.

Copyright © Samantha Lluisé of Lotus Womens Health 2024

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