Signs of Inflammation & How to Handle Them
If there's one health topic that's captured our attention this year, it's inflammation. It's nearly impossible to scan health headlines without seeing this buzzword—but what does it actually mean? We know that it's startlingly common, can be sparked by eating certain foods, and has been linked to myriad concerning health conditions, yet for many, it's still a frustratingly vague term.
So to make it easy for you, here’s the lowdown; there are two different types of inflammation: acute inflammation, which is a necessary part of our immune system—without it, we would not heal—and chronic or low-level inflammation. The second is silent. You don’t know it's there until symptoms occur. It's like having a sore on the inside of your body that never heals.
So beyond the definition, what does this actually mean for your diet, lifestyle, and future? Consider this your cheat sheet on inflammation in the body…
How Inflammation Impacts Your Health
Inflammation is a real, pressing health concern, but it has been somewhat overhyped. Once the media gets a hold of a word, they can turn it into a buzzword, like gluten, for example. Low-level inflammation, however, is very real, dangerous, and important to prevent, reduce, or reverse.
And there’s significant evidence that it impacts the lifespan too. Some studies even link low inflammation levels to a longer life, less pain, and less infection. For example, a 2015 study discovered a connection between a longer lifespan in those who had lower inflammation levels. They discovered that inflammation was the most significant, controllable factor in predicting a person's lifespan.
When managed correctly through your everyday diet and nutrition planning, reduced inflammation levels can certainly have a significant effect on your well-being and overall quality of life.
When it comes to the link between inflammation and diseases, the silent inflammation is the core cause of most illness and disease—diseases such as cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity, and more. However, but while inflammation can certainly be a key factor in several diseases and conditions, calling it the 'root of most diseases’ can be a bit foreboding, so take it with a grain of salt to your own opinions, research, medical history, and of course, what your body tells you.
How to Know if You Have Inflammation
The most common signs that you are suffering from some form of inflammation are redness, heat, swelling, pain, or loss of function at the inflammation site due to blood vessels within the tissue expanding to ensure more blood can reach the injured tissue and begin the healing process. While these symptoms may sound scary, most can be chalked up to issues you experience during common ailments, such as your sense of smell getting worse when you have a cold, or a sprained ankle as a result of a strenuous workout.
If you're concerned about chronic inflammation, there's a simple way to get to the root cause: The C-reactive protein test is an excellent and inexpensive test your doctor can perform.
What Is an Anti-inflammatory Diet?
The most common misconception I usually encounter about inflammation is that most people think they can't control it, and if they attempt to, they're restricted to a very limited diet and lifestyle. Fortunately, this isn't true.
To help control inflammation levels through your diet, add in foods that may help decrease inflammation and lower intake of those that may increase it, such as those high in sugar and saturated fat.
A good rule of thumb is that if it's found in nature, leafy, and contains protein and/or fiber, you should be eating it. Some favorites to try for an anti-inflammatory diet:
Fatty fish: Eat oily fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines several times a week, and you have the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce inflammation.
Fiber: Look for whole grains, beans, and other foods high in fiber, which stimulate the growth of healthy bacteria that help fight inflammation.
Dark, leafy greens: Add spinach, kale, broccoli, and collard greens to your plate.
Nuts and soy: Nuts and soy products, such as soy milk, edamame, and tofu, have anti-inflammatory properties and are natural sources of protein.
Olive oil: The thing that makes virgin olive oil tasty is also the reason for its anti-inflammatory properties. Oleocanthal, a compound found in olive oil, has been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects.
Green tea: In addition to [green tea] being an excellent alternative to coffee to stimulate your senses during that afternoon slump, a 2010 study from Case Western Reserve University found that EGCG, the predominant polyphenol in green tea, may prevent arthritis through its inflammation-reducing properties.
Other Ways to Combat Inflammation
Food is the primary way to combat inflammation, but a number of factors contribute to whole-body health. Other lifestyle factors include adequate sleep, taking steps to reduce chronic stress, exercise and resistance training, adequate water intake, and supplementation where needed.
Unlike with many diets, you'll start reaping the benefits of anti-inflammatory foods as soon as you take your first bite. These foods have an epigenetic effect that turns on good genes [and] promotes powerful positive gene expression. And while you take care of yourself internally, you’ll also find benefits from incorporating anti-inflammatory ingredients in your skin care. Natural ingredients like shea butter, manuka honey, cehami flower extract, and carrot seed oil all can help your skin feel and look less red, sensitive, and above all, inflamed!
What You'll Feel
So how do you actually know if you're combatting inflammation? Signs that your inflammation levels have lowered are most prominently shown in your body's ability to fight infections and injury. You'll most likely begin to notice over time that it's a bit easier to fight back against that nasty flu or cold virus that everyone at the office seems to have contracted, or your knee is a bit less stiff after you pulled it the wrong way while working out the night before.
It's an overall feeling of vibrancy and well-being. You feel great, vibrant, and healthy. You are free of nagging illnesses, skin conditions, weight gain, stress, and sleep issues. So say hello to an anti-inflammatory lifestyle and expect to feel your best and most confident! For anti-inflammatory skin care, check out Wild Naturals today and begin your transformation.