The ins and outs of inflammation
Inflammation is a natural response by the body as a way to protect itself from infection, injuries and intruders. Inflammation is natural, healthy and important for survival. For example, acute inflammation is the redness, swelling and heat that occurs when you cut your finger and is a critical stage in the repair process.
However, inflammation does become an issue when things go wrong and the body starts to illicit an immune response much more often than it needs to (or chronically). The result is issues such as acne, fatigue, allergies, poor gut health, ulcers, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease and more.
Systemic inflammation occurs when chronic inflammation moves beyond the tissues and into the lining of blood vessels and organs. Long-term systemic inflammation has been shown to be a possible risk factor for many modern diseases such as cancer, diabetes, obesity, hypertension and heart disease.
As our lives become busier and busier, lifestyle factors that may increase inflammation are on the rise. For many of us, stressful jobs, hectic family life, chronic endurance exercise, coffee addictions and highly processed diets all contribute to the “inflammatory bucket”.
More than ever it is becoming increasingly important to add anti-inflammatory activities and foods to combat this survival mode and allow us to live a big life without the increased risk of disease and burnout.
There are many factors that promote inflammation, but not as many that reduce it. Have a think about your life and all the areas that might be contributing to your current level of inflammation. Also consider the things that you do to reduce it – these include strength training, alkaline foods, meditation, yoga, relaxation and time in nature.
At Primal Junction, our goal is to educate our clients about reducing their inflammatory load as much as possible through a cleaner approach to diet.
There are a number of ways that you can sneak anti-inflammatory foods into your meals and smoothies each day. For example, ginger root is known to contain an abundance of potent anti-inflammatory substances called gingerols. For this reason, ginger is often used as a natural approach to the treatment of arthritis, joint pain and tendinitis and may in fact have a better therapeutic profile and have fewer side effects than non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. When we stress our system during endurance exercise, ginger may help to reduce systemic inflammation and inflammation linked to surrounding recurring injuries. Instead of reaching for a processed pharmaceutical option – why not try some of what nature has to offer?
Stay tuned for an inflammation-fighting recipe later this month, but in the meantime try adding both fresh and cooked ginger to your meals. Maybe a teaspoon of grated ginger in your cup of warm lemon water or whizzed up with your next green smoothie!