Friday, January 9, 2015

What is this "inflammation" we keep talking about?

If you've visited us here at Eat Thrive Heal before, you may have noticed that we are often talking about a disease preventing and healing anti-inflammation diet.

You may be wondering, just what is inflammation?

First of all, we're not referring to the inflammation you get, for example, when you cut your finger and it gets red and swollen and slightly inflamed or infected.

When we speak about inflammation, we speak about the swelling of body tissues and organs.  This type of inflammation isn't painful like the cut on your finger, but it continuously damages your organs, until eventually, your body becomes diseased.

How do body tissues become inflamed?  Stress, lack of exercise, genetic predisposition and exposure to toxins (such as tobacco) are all causes of inflammation.  But one of the biggest triggers comes from our diets.  

In fact, many of the body's diseases have now been linked to inflammation, especially all the auto-immune diseases, including arthritis.

Why does the body create swelling?  Inflammation is really the body's attempt at protection.  It's part of the body's immune response.  When something is harmful or irritating to the body, the body tries to remove it.

The body creates two types of inflammation.  Acute inflammation is the swelling you see when you cut your finger.  This kind of inflammation occurs rapidly, in a few days time for example.  You might also experience this kind of inflammation in your lungs with bronchitis, or your throat with a sore throat.  It's also the inflammation you experience as the result of intense exercise or if you receive a blow to the body.   Acute inflammation requires short term healing strategies, such as rest, icing, flushing, etc.

On the other hand, chronic inflammation is what we are trying to heal with food.  This is long term inflammation caused by long term irritants or toxins.  Many of these original irritants or toxins may have come from our diets.

One way this happens is that the body's fat tissues become inflamed because of a diet high in refined carbs and omega-6 fatty acids. When we eat a lot of processed foods, we are disturbing the body's natural chemical balances and inflammation is the body's response.  Not only do the inflamed fat tissues cause weight gain, but eventually the inflammation may spread to the pancreas and cause diabetes, to the brain and cause Alzheimers and to the heart to cause heart disease.

Consuming foods we are allergic to or have intolerances to (such as gluten or dairy for some people) can certainly cause inflammation.  But also, regularly consuming toxic and non-degradable pathogens in our food can also create inflammation.  Sugars and artificial sweeteners, chemicals, pesticides, fertilizers, hormones and metals are just a few of the substances present in our modern food and water that our bodies were never designed to process in large quantities.

Our modern diet is actually methodically attacking our body and inflammation is the body's attempt to heal this.

Healing inflammation with food requires removing all these unbalanced and un-natural foods, as well as any allergens, intolerances and toxins from our diets in order to give our bodies a chance to clean, purify and calm down from the constant attack it has sustained over the years.

So let's hear it for REAL FOOD.  The kind of food that doesn't contain chemicals and toxins. Unprocessed food.  The kind of food that grows on farms.  The food our bodies were designed to consume. The food that heals.

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