Tiina Talks: Inflammation

Inflammation is a normal healthy response in the body. It’s basically a response by the body to things that irritate it – be they ‘bugs’ like a cold or a flu, air borne irritants, or even a broken bone. It’s a process designed to kill any such irritation, or to engulf it by way of a protective buffer to allow healing to occur. Just think of someone who breaks a bone – the area around the break immediately swells in an attempt to protect and cordon off the area to enable healing to begin. Akin to a construction site when we erect scaffolding to keep passers by at bay and from damaging it whilst construction is underway.

Interestingly, the word ‘inflammation’ is based on the Latin words to ‘set on fire’. In our bodies, inflammation can thus be seen as somewhat a biological fire, burning away these ‘irritations’.

Essentially, inflammation has 2 stages. The first is the initiation stage, when the process begins. It’s a response to acute events – a ‘bug’ enters, we break a bone, twist an ankle, etc. This is a stage that allows that protective buffer to surround the break / irritation / etc.

Then we have the next stage of ‘resolution’. This should happen once the initial threat has been attended to or sufficient healing of a break / twist / etc has occurred for healing to continue on by itself.

Common (and possibly problematic) initiating factors these days however, can be more related to diet, lifestyle and stress. Things that can lead to chronic inflammation if not attended to early enough. Chronic inflammation is associated with many chronic diseases and takes a big toll on our health.

It’s been linked to conditions including arthritis, some cancers, lung diseases, heart disease, dementia, Parkinsons disease and even premature ageing, a phenomena coined as ‘inflammaging’. So yes – if you don’t want to look, be and feel old before your time, then perhaps getting inflammation under control is a very good thing to do!

Inflammaging consists of symptoms that are quite hard to spot. Many people may have low lying inflammation going on and they don’t necessarily ‘feel’ anything problematic. Inflammaging consists of chronic, low grade (so ‘flying under the radar’), systemic (meaning everywhere in the body) and most importantly, asymptomatic symptoms – ie: you dont actually feel that anythings amiss!

Unlike the symptoms of acute inflammation (eg when we twist our ankle) where we experience pain, heat, redness, swelling and possible loss of function, the signs of inflammaging are much harder to spot. This kind of on-going inflammation is not just a driver leading towards premature ageing, but due to the metabolic changes and tissue damage it can cause, it may lead to chronic disease.

When considering inflammation, always start with food. All foods can be either pro-inflammatory, in that they create more of it, or they can be anti inflammatory, as in they help to ‘put the fire out’ so to speak.

Pro-inflammatory foods include excess sugar, processed / refined foods, artificial colours, preservatives, alcohol, excess coffee, even things like herbicides and pesticides (ie: any ‘non organic’ foods).

Anti-inflammatory foods include fish such as sardines and salmon (sustainably sourced is always best), avocados, raw & preferably organic nuts and seeds, and spices such as ginger, garlic and turmeric..

The health of our gut is also an important consideration when it comes to inflammation. Our gut is a source of inflammation from everything it comes into contact with each and every day. A strong and healthy gut, with a healthy level of good bacteria, can play a part in helping to prevent inflammation throughout the body.

Other products such as fish oils, and many herbs including curcumin (which you’ll probably know as turmeric) can also help to potently dampen down inflammation in our bodies.

To help get your inflammation under control, we are offering a March special of 15% off when you purchase both a fish oil and a probiotic in one transaction. Come in and talk to us if you have any questions pr concerns about inflammation. We will happily recommend which of our therapies and supplements may help to provide relief to your particular concerns.

With a whole lotta lurrvv… Tiina xx