When Inflammation is not Acute, Things Can Sure Get Ugly!

inflammation of kneeI just banged my knee into the coffee table, it's quite red and swollen, and I see a bruise forming.  This injury stopped me in my tracks and got me thinking about inflammation both acute and chronic.  What I just experienced in a sudden and shriek-inducing painful way, is the same thing that can happen inside the body in a chronic, or constant way, rather than acute, like in the case of an injury.  (not like there's anything a-cute about it!!)

When we hurt ourselves, we see and feel acute inflammation in the form of redness, swelling, pain, and heat...kinda like a firework but the oohs and aahhs have a much different meaning! 
When the injury is prolonged, like in the case of continuing to eat foods that we're sensitive to, have undue stress, exposure to environmental toxins, consume too much alcohol (regularly) or eat a diet that's excessive with sugar and deficient in other nutrients, we may experience the symptoms but only on the inside.  Where we can't see them.  Eventually, if the injury persists long enough without amelioration, we will notice things like bloating, pain in our joints or hands, brain fog, headaches, unexplained weight gain and more. Inflammation can manifest itself in so many ways, and it can vary person to person. 

Chronic inflammation is caused by free radicals.  In technical terms, free radicals result when a chemical bond splits in such a way that the molecule is left with an un-paired electron.  Un-paired electrons are very reactive and unstable, so they bond with the first compatible molecule they see, thus making them both unstable.  This is where the damage begins in your body.  If your immune system isn't working at top notch, it can't quite do it's clean up job and things get out of hand, and you have chronic inflammation.  Yikes!  

Think of it this way, when something produces smoke, or fumes, these are oxidants.  So, we need anti-oxidants to put out the fire!Anti-Inflammatory-Foods 

Enter the real-life superheroes: antioxidants.  We may experience the symptoms but only on the inside, where we can't see them.  Eventually, if the injury persists long enough without amelioration, we'll notice things like bloating, pain in our joints or hands, brain fog, headaches, unexplained weight gain and more. Inflammation can manifest itself in so many ways, and it can vary person to person which can sometimes make it pretty tricky to identify. 

So what to do to keep inflammation under control?  Boost your immune system by including these 6 things into your daily diet:

  1. probiotics:  70% of the immune system is in the gut! Probiotic rich, fermented foods are great for any immune supporting protocol
  2. Vitamin A: prevents against infection by maintaining the integrity of our epithileal and mucosal linings and also necessary for the activity and production of certain types of White Blood Cells
  3. Vitamin D: can decrease the severity of autoimmunity
  4. Vitamin C: protects White Blood Cells from the enzymes they release to digest pathogenic microbes.  It's antiviral against almost every virus and helps you to make more antibodies
  5. Vitamin E: anti-inflammatory
  6. Antioxidants: reduce oxidative stress and damage on the body, without them, our immune system will be significantly negatively impacted 

In the face of living in a modern world, where we have:
  • excessive sugar consumption
  • foods that we're sensitive or allergic to
  • excessive alcohol consumption
  • diets deficient in certain nutrients
  • an excessive toxic load 
  • excessive stress
  • trauma from injury or surgery
  • vaccinations or regular antibiotic use
  • or frequent exposure to infectious agents (or kids!!) ;) 
Then we need to call in the SuperHeroes: antioxidants to fight these free radicals.  Preferably, not once the damage is done.  Instead, employ them full time and keep inflammation at bay.

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