Reading about health and wellness, there are often references to “inflammation” and foods that are “anti-inflammatory”. I came across this interesting article titled “What is Inflammation, anyway (and why is it bad?)“, which discusses ‘inflammation’ and its impacts to the body. It offers a succinct discussion on the topic that I found very informative.
When I think of inflammation, I think of swelling. I was an athlete in my youth and occasionally injured myself. For example, when I rolled my ankle, it would swell up around the injured area until it had healed. It hurt like hell, but over time returned to normal. This is inflammation, and it is a natural process of the body that helps to protect injured areas while they heal. Inflammation is a symptom of a healthy body reacting to injury to protect the injured area and allow the body’s immune system to heal it.
When you workout and feel aches and pains, this is also inflammation. Working out actually injures the body and needs time to repair itself. If the body is given sufficient time to recover from this inflammation, it recovers to actually be stronger than before the workout. But if the body is not given sufficient time to recover, you can do more harm than good.
Some injuries to your body occur out of sight (internally). As discussed in my article titled “You’re Only 10% Human“, the health of your body’s gut flora and gut lining are critically important to your overall health. Imbalances between the good and bad bacteria in your microbiota (you need both)
Now, imagine that you inflicted the same injury on the same place day in, day out. This is what you are doing when you are eating food that causes inflammation to your gut lining. If you cut your finger in the same place, every day, three times a day or more, you would do irreparable harm to that finger. It would never recover properly.
When the symptom of inflammation continues for too long, it can become a problem in its own right. If inflammation flares up and then subsides, it is not a problem. But chronic inflammation can cause problems on its own by exacerbating certain conditions and can even cause disease itself. Some conditions that are worsened by inflammation include Alzheimer’s Disease, Depression, Cancer, Obesity and Diabetes.
Things that cause inflammation include:
- Diet: Omega-6 fats, excess sugar and refined carbohydrates. Intake of these foods should be limited or eliminated.
- Stress: Find a way to manage psychological and social stress so it isn’t preying on your mind.
- Rest: You should be getting plenty of rest between workouts. Workouts don’t make you strong. Recovery after workouts make you strong.
- An unhealthy gut flora: Unhappy gut flora and inflammation are a bomb waiting to happen.
- Lack of antioxidants: You should seek out plenty of antioxidants from fresh fruits and vegetables. There is no need to get these from supplements. Your regular diet should supply these things.