Organization: Erin Falco RDN, Inc.
Author: Veronica Rechten, MSc
Publish Date: 08-24-22
What is Inflammation?
Inflammation can sound like a medical buzzword that few people really understand. So, what is it, and when do we need to be concerned about it?
Inflammation is a natural process in the body. It occurs when a threat is present or the body is under stress. Some examples of inflammation can be an injury, infection/illness, exposure to a food allergy or sensitivity, and environmental allergies. Our bodies need acute inflammatory responses to heal from injury and illness. Have you ever noticed a cut become red and swollen? That’s your body’s natural healing responses creating acute inflammation. While this is a proper response in the body, problems arise when inflammation becomes chronic and is not being managed.
Chronic inflammatory responses come from constant stress on the body. This occurs when we’re over-exercising the body's natural abilities to heal and recover from metabolic stress or physical stress. This can lead to pain, discomfort and increase the risk of developing health conditions such as: cardiovascular disease, irritable bowel diseases, diabetes, arthritis, and cancer. Most people deal with some sort of chronic inflammation on a daily basis, but there are ways to reduce and eliminate it!
So, how do we manage chronic inflammation?
A nutrition-focused approach to preventing chronic inflammation starts with anti-inflammatory foods, blood sugar regulation, and a well-functioning gut! Below are more specific ways nutrition can help improve or manage inflammation:
Omega-3 fatty acids are anti inflammatory fats that directly reduce the hormones that spike inflammation. Food sources: Salmon, small fish, walnuts, chia, flax.
Phytonutrients contain antioxidants that reduce oxidative stress (an inflammatory response of the body). Phytonutrients are found in color-rich foods like: dark colored vegetables, fruits, nuts, green tea and whole grains
Omega 6 fatty acids are inflammatory and abundant in our packaged food items and foods containing palm and coconut oils. Increasing omega 3 rich foods help improve the ratio, which, in return, improve anti-inflammatory properties for the body.
A thriving microbiota is crucial for reducing systemic inflammation and increasing absorption of nutrients. This can be done by eating high-fiber foods, taking a probiotic supplement, and trying to regulate stress and sleep.
Chronically high blood sugar and insulin resistance are pro-inflammatory. Making sure to eat protein, fats, and carbohydrates at each meal and snack are crucial for balancing blood sugar. Getting in daily movement, and enough sleep are also great for blood sugar levels.
Check out the Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid and meal & snack ideas!
Supplement Support for Chronic Inflammation:
Curcumin: known for its anti-inflammatory properties
Fish Oil: blocks inflammatory responses
Quercitin: blocks pro-inflammatory chemicals
Vitamin D: low levels are linked to inflammation and inflammatory diseases
Shop for our anti-inflammatory bundle HERE!
Working with the Body:
There are several integrative modalities to assist the body in combating inflammation. Acupuncture and chiropractics activate various parts of the skeletal system, nervous system and brain, increasing circulation and releasing muscle tightness. Physical therapy works on soft tissue and joint mobilization to help fight inflammation by gaining movement and increasing blood flow in the body. If you are dealing with chronic inflammation, or acute injury, all are good options for pain and inflammation reduction!
While chronic inflammation can be damaging to the body, there are many nutritional and functional approaches to help your body overcome it. If you need more support or testing for inflammation or, if you have other concerns, click here to learn how to work with us!