Inflammation- silent killer

Most of us associate inflammation with pain, redness, heat, swelling that normally accompanies an injury like sprains, muscle pain, cuts, burns, grazes etc. However the same process that drives those symptoms also drive many conditions such as arthritis, muscle pain, digestive issues, irritable bowel disease, eczema, migraines, and most major health concerns, however unlike a headache or feeling bloated where you can feel the pain, there are many inflammatory responses going on in the body that may not ‘feel’ and these can be the silent killers. 

An example of invisible inflammation is the underlying process behind cardiovascular disease, you wouldn’t know you had high cholesterol or high blood pressure unless you tested for it, unfortunately for many, pain only arrives when they are having a heart attack. Silent inflammation happens in diabetes (excessive high blood sugar) and can be a contributor to conditions like fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome or Hashimotos (thyroid issues).

Inflammation is a normal part of your body’s immune response to address all sorts of challenges, however if chronic inflammation goes on too long possibly because your body is tired, depleted of nutrients and can’t heal properly, then inflammation can produce chemicals that signal pain (this is a healthy response) but also leads to tissue damage and disease. While you think taking Panadol or Neurophen is helping in the short term, one must address the initial drivers of the pain, especially as many anti inflammatories have undesirable long term side effects.
So yes back to my point of your own immune system creating tissue damage- this is where you start to see many auto immune conditions, neuro- degenerative diseases start to arise including high cholesterol as your immune system is hyper active and thus mistakes healthy tissue for invaders or damaged cells.

Inflammation from the digestive tract is normally where most inflammatory insults begin however stress is also a major contributing factor. For many, if you can’t control stress, it is very hard to provide the right environment for your body to repair. What you eat has a massive effect on how to reduce inflammation and even reset immune system.

 

Incase of injury, joint pain, swelling, ligament/ tendon strains, cartilage damage or arthritis, these top tips along with specific physiotherapy advice will help reduce inflammation and pain;

  •   Eat a healthy diet containing a wide variety of nutrients including quality proteins, wholesome carbohydrates (mainly vegetables) and healthy fat sources to boost nutritional status and provide a healthy baseline

  • Apart from getting an abundant source of magnesium from your diet, I would advise taking magnesium as a supplement especially while the injury is still present. Magnesium works directly on the muscle cells to help relax any tension. Magnesium bisglycinate or citrate is highly absorbable form of magnesium and when combined with nutrients like taurine and glutamine (found in protein), can promote fast relief of muscle spasms and pain.

  •  Herbs have shown to contain substances that help gently and naturally relieve pain including corydalis and California Poppy, bio available turmeric and Boswellia.

  • Glucosamine, zinc and omega 3 fatty acids are also that can reduce swelling and promote healing.


But how do you protect yourself from silent inflammation?

Making the right dietary choices over time (not just a quick diet) can have a large impact on inflammation and the immune system. Our motivation for healthy eating tends to only be when we to ‘lose weight’ and then once we have reached our goals we tend to let unhealthy foods creep back in, OR we get despondent when we don’t see the scales shifting, get upset and eat bad foods thinking ‘what’s the point’. So here are a few tips that will reduce ‘silent inflammation’ especially neuro-degenerative inflammation;

  • 1)      Reduce or ideally eliminate high glycaemic loaded carbohydrates such as refined starches and sugars (white bread, biscuits, lollies, pastries, cakes, chocolate (other than dark) etc.

  • 2)      Eliminate ‘trans’ fats found in fried and processed foods, hydrogenated vegetable oils.

  • 3)      Reduce high intakes of animal saturated fat. Ok to have the Pork belly or lamb chops once in awhile but generally buy lean mince, lean cuts of red meat.

  • 4)      Again reduce foods that have low nutritional value (some baked bars/ muesli bars)

  • 5)      Avoid rice bran oil, canola, sunflower, margarine and use cold pressed olive oil, avocado oil (has a high heat), macadamia oil, organic coconut oil (not refined).

  • 6)      Keep gluten to a minimum less than one serve per day.

  • 7)      Avoid excessive alcohol consumption or alcohol on a daily basis.

  • 8)      Include at least 2-3 serves of healthy fats in your day such as healthy oils, flaxseed, LSA, nuts, seeds, avocado, salmon, fish.

Ultimately you will actually save money and your health if you build a foundation in your pantry and fridge of fresh vegetables, salads, fruit, small amounts of protein and beneficial fats.



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