Anti-Inflammatory Food, Herbs and Inflammation Part 1 of 3

 

Inflam1o3
What is all the fuss about?  Anti-inflammatory remedies and diets are everywhere you look, in the news, in magazines, in books on how to avoid inflammation.  Inflammation and anti-inflammatory remedies may be the most recent buzz, but most people are really unclear as to what inflammation is.

According to Richard N Mitchell, MD, PhD and Ramzi S. Cotran MD inflammation is:

“a protective response intended to eliminate the initial cause of cell injury as well as the necrotic cells and tissues resulting from the initial insult. “

To be clear, inflammation is not caused by infection or injury, inflammation is the body’s way of responding to them.  Basically inflammation describes the increased blood flow, the release of chemical mediators and the build up of defensive cells at the site.

Inflammation is the body’s first line of defense in injury or infection, however, when inflammation becomes chronic it can also become life threatening.  Chronic Inflammatory diseases include:

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Atherosclerosis (plaque build up in the arteries)

Aging

Anxiety

Allergies

Cancer

Alzheimer’s

Lupus

Brain Fog

The list is enormous.  For a comprehensive list visit The Marshall Protocol Knowledge Base Autoimmunity Research Foundation 

With such an enormous list it is important to understand the various causes of the inflammatory response.  Injury and infection play a big role.  Unfortunately the food we eat can add to the inflammatory response within our bodies.

As usual refined sugar is one of the culprits.  Sugar intake (including simple carbohydrates) floods your system with stress hormones and insulin which in turn trigger inflammation.  For a deeper explanation visit Organic Excellence

Trans-Fats damage the cells lining of the blood vessels.

Dairy Products are also culprits helping to increase inflammation.  While a small amount of low fat milk seems to be OK, higher fat milks are harder to digest which can trigger an inflammatory reaction.

Alcohol also adds to inflammation.  Again a small amount can have a beneficial effect but overuse of alcohol makes it easier for bacteria to move around our bodies.  Alcohol also has a high sugar component which triggers inflammation.

Are we at the mercy of our immune system?  Do we have to cut out everything we like?  Fortunately the answer to these questions is a resounding NO.

There are a large number of anti-inflammatory herbs that can be used both internally and externally to combat inflammation.  These herbs, their properties and uses will be the topic of part 3 of this blog.  For part 2 let’s talk about some great food alternatives that will allow us to change our diet and still enjoy eating.

Reference:Kumar Vinay, MD, FRCPath, Cotran, Ramzi S, MD, Robbins, Stanley L, MD, Basic Pathology 7th edition, SAUNDERS Philadelphia London Toronto Montreal Sydney Tokyo