If you’ve ever had your fingers cut or your hand twisted, you’ve had inflammation. Science believes that inflammation is the key player in chronic diseases such as diabetes and atherosclerosis.
What exactly is inflammation?
Inflammation is a natural response of the immune system aimed to protect the body from invaders. It happens as the response to injury or infection, or flight or fright scenarios. As the result, cell signaling molecules are produced to aid the cell-to-cell communication for the healing process to be initiated. It is completely a normal and essential process for the body to function optimally. Acute inflammation is commonly severe but a short process in which the symptoms may last for few days and several weeks.
As opposed to this, chronic inflammation that occurs slowly and lasts for months or years can lead to a wide spectrum of chronic diseases.
Symptoms of inflammation
Symptoms might vary on individual and not all symptoms appear at the same time.
These common symptoms might give warning signs of inflammation:
Loss of function (eg; inability to move the inflamed joint)
Gastrointestinal problems (eg; diarrhea and constipation)
Unintentional weight gain or loss
Causes of inflammation
Inflammation can result from:
Cut or wound
Unresolved causes of acute inflammation
Autoimmune disorder; a condition in which the immune system mistakenly processes healthy tissue as a threat.
Exposure to the low level of irritants in a long-term period
Recurrent episodes of acute inflammation
Inflammatory and biochemical inducers trigger and amplify the production of oxidative stress and free radical molecules.
How to reduce the inflammation?
The good news is that, in addition to medication prescribed by a doctor, we can fight inflammation naturally by simply modifying our lifestyle.
Fuel up your diet with anti-inflammatory foods such as nuts, berries and healthy oils.
Try to reduce the intake of refined sugars and processed foods
Eat more greens. Antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables help to scavenge the free radical species that triggers the inflammation.
Be physically active
According to Dimitrov et al., (2017), 20 minutes of physical activity with moderate intensity is enough to trigger the immune system to produce an anti-inflammatory response.
It also helps to improve our mood and relieve stress by increasing the secretion of endorphin (happy hormone)
Manage your stress
Constant and prolonged stress could trigger inflammation in our bodies. Learn to control and manage our stress helps to reduce the inflammation
Getting enough sleep
Lack of sleep would make you more vulnerable to catch an infection. In addition, sleep deprivation could trigger stress which favors inflammation.
Dimitrov, S., Hulteng, E., & Hong, S. (2017). Inflammation and exercise: Inhibition of monocytic intracellular TNF production by acute exercise via β2-adrenergic activation. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, 61, 60–68. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.BBI.2016.12.017
InformedHealth.org [Internet]. Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2006-. What is an inflammation? 2010 Nov 23 [Updated 2018 Feb 22]. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279298/
Noland, D. (2017). Inflammation and the Pathophysiology of Chronic Disease. In L. K. Mahan & J. L. Raymond (Eds.), Krause’s Food and Nutrition Care Process (pp. 30–31).
Roma, P., Amandeep, G., Pankaj, B., & Ishwarlal, J. (2021). Chronic Inflammation – StatPearls – NCBI Bookshelf. StatPearls Publishing. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK493173/