What is inflammation?
Inflammation is part of the body's defense mechanism and plays a role in the healing process. When the body detects an intruder, it launches a biological response to remove it.
The attacker could be a foreign body, such as a thorn, or irritant, or a pathogen (an organism that causes disease). Pathogens include bacteria, viruses, and other organisms, which cause infections. Sometimes the body mistakenly perceives its own cells or tissues as harmful. This reaction can lead to autoimmune diseases, such as type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, celiac, graves and many more. People with these conditions often have higher levels of inflammatory markers in their bodies. Inflammation happens when a physical factor triggers an immune reaction. Inflammation does not necessarily mean that there is an infection, BUT an infection can cause inflammation.
Two Types of Inflammation
Acute Inflammation ~ an injury or illness can involve acute or short-term inflammation. There are signs such as pain, redness, loss of function, swelling, and heat and sometimes these signs are not always present so a person may also feel tired, generally unwell, and have a fever. Symptoms usually last a few days, while subacute inflammation lasts 2-6 weeks.
Chronic Inflammation ~ This type of inflammation develops if a person has:
Sensitivity ~ When the body senses something that should not be there
Exposure ~ Long term, low level, exposure to an irritant, such as a chemical
Autoimmune disorders ~ immune system mistakenly attacks normal healthy tissue
Autoinflammatory diseases ~ affects the way the immune system works
Can we help control our own inflammatory markers?
Scientists are still unraveling how food affects the body's inflammatory processes, but they know a few things.
Research shows that what you eat can affect the levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) - a marker for inflammation - in your blood. That could be because some foods like processed sugars help release inflammatory messengers that can raise the risk of chronic inflammation. Other foods like fruits and veggies fight against oxidative stress, which can trigger inflammation. **MayoClinic
The answer is, YES!
Simple Guidelines for anti-inflammatory eating
1. Eat more plants! Whole plant foods have the anti-inflammatory nutrients your body needs. So eating a rainbow of fruits, veggies, whole grains and legumes is the best place to start.
2. Focus on antioxidants. They help prevent, delay or repair some types of cell and tissue damage. They're found in colorful fruits, and veggies like berries, leafy greens, beets and avocados, as well as beans and lentils, whole grains, ginger, turmeric, and green tea.
3. Get your Omega-3's. Omega-3 fatty acids play a role in regulating your body's inflammatory process and could help regulate pain related to inflammation. Find these healthy fats like salmon, tuna and mackerel (Not farmed!) as well as smaller amounts in walnuts, pecans, ground flaxseed and soy (non-GMO).
4. Eat less red meat (Or give it up! at least for a short while to see if you feel better) Red meat can be pro-inflammatory. Are you a burger lover? Aim for a realistic goal. Substitute your lunch time beef with fish, nuts or soy based protein a few times a week.
5. Cut the processed stuff!! Sugary cereals and drinks, deep fried foods and pastries are all pro-inflammatory offenders. They can contain plenty of unhealthy fats that are linked to inflammation. But eating whole fruits, veggies, grains and beans can be quick if your prep ahead for multiple meals.
The High Cost of Low Grade Inflammation: Persistent Fatigue
Inflammation affects cellular energy availability through its effects on metabolism. Inflammation can at the same time affect energy expenditure, both through increased energy demand by the immune system and through changes in motivation-driven energy expenditure **ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
Six signs that your fatigue is caused by inflammation....
Poor digestion ~ bloating, abdominal pain, constipation, and diarrhea, could be a sign of chronic inflammation. These symptoms can be caused by an imbalance of the bacteria in the intestines that cause an inflammatory response. *Dr Routhenstein, MS RD CDE CDN
Painful Joints ~ pain or swelling in your joints, might be a sign of arthritis, which is an inflammation of the joints. Feeling worn out, or struggling to go about daily activities could manifest itself as pain.
Puffiness Around the Eyes ~ If you don't usually have puffiness around the eyes, or darker circles under them, having these symptoms appear our of nowhere may be a sign of inflammation in the body. From a musculoskeletal perspective, superficial inflammation is observed as swelling, which is frequently observed by a patient's eye. *Dr Axe
Swollen Lymph Nodes ~ The lymph nodes in your neck may swell up slightly when you're fighting off a cold. Lymph nodes enlargement is a good indication that our body's immune system is trying to fight off against some disruptive trigger. *Marcela Magda Popa, MD a board-certified internal medicine physician. Swollen lymph nodes are seen in viral and bacterial infections and often go hand in hand with fatigue.
Low Grade Fever ~ Non infectious inflammatory disorders, that include the autoimmune disorders can have associated fever that can be more pronounced during flare-ups or when complications develop.
Rashes ~ Rashes can be manifestations of infections or allergies, but often time rashes are associated with chronic inflammatory conditions, such as celiac disease, lupus, psoriasis, inflammatory bowel disease, and others. **Dr Popa Whatever is going on internally can make its way to the surface, in the form of skin conditions. At times the rashes may appear before other manifestations of the disease the cause them.
We have the ability to ward off inflammation with a healthy lifestyle. Do not accept the negative. Understandably there are situations that cause for more than just a change in diet.
Here are some other articles for additional reading on the subject.