KEEPING UP WITH INFLAMMATION
by Michelle Krall, P.T., M.A.
Everyone experiences inflammation at one time or another and we actually need it to survive. Inflammation is a normal response of the body to injury and it is essential component to healing.
There are two types of inflammation acute and chronic. Chronic inflammation has been recognized as a primary contributor to most deadly diseases, stroke, and diabetes. It is a pathological condition defined by concurrent active inflammation, tissue destruction and attempts at repair. Causes of chronic inflammation are food, pollution, stress, trauma, sedentary lifestyle, chronic sleep deprivation and smoking.
Acute inflammation is a short term process to trauma defined by the classic signs- swelling, redness, pain, heat and loss of function. Causes of acute inflammation are physical injuries, cold and flu’s and allergies.
By now, you’re probably wondering what can be done to how do you promote recovery from inflammation.
For chronic inflammation:
- Decrease stress - exercise regularly, meditation, breath work, yoga, Feldenkrais®, and tai-chi
- Loose belly fat- eat a low-glycemic diet, avoid processed foods and conventional animal products.
- Focus on healthy fats omega 3’s and antioxidant rich foods Limit exposure to pollution and second hand smoke
- Adapt a normal adequate sleep schedule and pace your social activities.
For acute inflammation: “RICE”:
- Rest- reduce activities that irritate, “no pain, more gain”
- Ice- two times/day for 15-20 minutes
- Compression- ace wrap, kinesiotape
- Elevation- rule of thumb is higher than the heart
Most people eat foods that actually stoke the fires of inflammation.
Pro-inflammatory foods and ingredients are:
- the omega-6 family of fatty acids- vegetable oils, processed and packaged foods
- trans fatty acids- partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, salad dressing, non-diary creamers, margarine, animal fat, and cookies and cakes
- artificial sweeteners or non-nutritive sweeteners
- Coconut oil, corn oil, cottonseed oil, palm or palm kernel oil, safflower oil, peanut oil, soybean oil, and sunflower oil
- High fructose corn syrup (URL) and refined sugar
- Fried foods, soft drinks, frozen dinners, chips, and snack foods
- The omega-3 family of fatty acids, dark green leafy vegetables, flaxseed, cold water fish e.g. salmon, herring, and sardines.
- The omega-9 family of fatty acids- olives, avocados, macadamia nuts and oils.
- Berries, cranberries, dates, oranges, raisins, and red grapes
- Tofu, almonds, soy beans and soy products
- Basil, black pepper, cayenne pepper, curry cinnamon, green tea, ginger root, mint, nutmeg, oregano, red wine, and turmeric root.
Your food choices can either increase or decrease inflammation. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables that cover the color spectrum. Try to find ways to consume ginger and turmeric in any forms; both spices have powerful anti-inflammatory effects. And try to include in your diet good-quality tea-especially white, green, or oolong.
For more information, reference the following sites:
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