Inflammation is the body’s immune response to pathogens, damaged tissues, and irritants.
While it forces blood vessels to the injured site and begins the healing process, it leaves five key symptoms. These symptoms are swelling, pain, heat, immobility, and redness. The redness and swelling are generally noticed on the skin, but organs become inflamed as well.
Inflammation deep in the body may be not be close to your nerve endings, so it can may not be felt at all.
So how do we know when our body is triggering healthy inflammation (a simple and temporary immune response to heal the body)? How do we know its a chronic condition, which may signal something serious?
A Normal Protective Measure
In many cases, the body’s immune system triggers a normal inflammatory response to injury or infection. Physical stress, like low blood sugar, can cause this.
Synthetic fibers like plastic, latex, cosmetics, cleaning products, air fresheners, and everyday pollutants are all culprits that can trigger a response. Low levels of exposure to these over extended periods of time can also lead to chronic symptoms.
Emotional stress, which produces the hormone cortisol, also initiates inflammation. When the stress decreases and the body no longer needs cortisol, the body still has inflammation left over. To make matters worse, long-term psychological stress inhibits the body’s ability to fight it. This in turn, increases the chances of infection or disease.
When Does Inflammation Become Chronic?
Chronic inflammation is when the body is continually triggering defense mechanisms and inflaming the body. It manifests itself too frequently or for extended periods of time.
When people consume too much alcohol, overuse medicines, or even vomit frequently, erosion of the stomach lining can cause chronic inflammation. This leads to gastritis and other uncomfortable digestive problems.
A major underlying cause that people dismiss altogether is a long term unhealthy diet.
There are many foods that cause digestion to slow down, which forces our systems to work harder to metabolize. High amounts of sugar and fats cause this phenomenon. With an unhealthy diet over a long period of time, the body learns to continually elicit an immune response. This is to fight the consequence of bad eating habits.
Food allergies, especially in the United States, is prevalent and a leading cause of chronic inflammatory responses. Any food sensitivity in individuals can trigger it once blood sugar levels fluctuate. A notorious ingredient for food allergies is gluten, along with casein.
What are the Consequences?
Because the body is not meant to overwork its natural defense mechanisms, chronic inflammation can lead to many ailments. These can be as serious as cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, periodontitis, hay fever, and atherosclerosis.
How Can We Combat Chronic Inflammation?
You should not fight a healthy immune response, though cold packs and NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) can provide comfort.
To help combat long-term or frequent inflammatory responses, add probiotics into a healthy diet. Include fruit, good fats and oils, nuts, leafy vegetables, and lean meats.
There are certain spices and supplements that help to fight inflammation, like turmeric and ginger. Even cannabis is becoming popular in combating inflammation.
Perhaps the most important aspect of avoiding inflammation is a change in overall lifestyle. Diet changes alone can greatly alleviate inflammation, but taking care of exposing the body to less culprits means a lot. Keeping the skin and tissues healthy is essential.
For more information on improving nutrition to combat inflammation, visit