The Difference Between Healthy and Harmful Inflammation
Inflammation is your body’s natural defense against injuries, infections, and irritants. This process is necessary and helpful for healing—that’s good, right? Well, too much of a good thing is often a bad thing, and chronic inflammation leads to serious illness if not properly managed.
Here’s what you need to know (and what you can do) about inflammation:
Acute vs. chronic inflammation
Acute inflammation comes on rapidly, and the symptoms are noticeable (and sometimes severe): pain, redness, swelling, heat, and loss of function. You’ve likely experienced this, such as a reaction to a bee sting or the swelling and pain of a sprained ankle. The good news is that acute inflammation usually resolves in a few days or weeks.
Chronic inflammation is tricky because its symptoms are subtler and can be overlooked or misinterpreted: fatigue, fever, mouth sores, and abdominal pain. Chronic inflammation may last months or even years, and you might be experiencing it for a long time before you’re even aware.
Causes of chronic inflammation
Some people experience chronic inflammation due to an autoimmune disorder, where the body’s immune system attacks healthy cells by mistake: think of rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel syndrome.
Other causes include untreated acute inflammation and consistent exposure to chemicals and pollutants.
Some factors increase your risk of developing chronic inflammation, such as smoking, obesity, alcohol, and sustained stress.
Chronic inflammation is bad news
Over time, chronic inflammation damages healthy cells and DNA without you even knowing. It can cause weight gain, depression or anxiety, gastrointestinal issues, and fatigue. Even worse, chronic inflammation can lead to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, or Alzheimer’s disease.
Inflammation is a problem for which eating can really help! Just make sure you’re choosing the right foods. Some foods aggravate inflammation, particularly refined sugar and carbs, trans fat, and processed meat. Other foods fight it: berries, fatty fish, avocados, and broccoli.
Adequate and high quality sleep is also a great way to fight inflammation. Sleep is when the body recovers and restores itself.
A turmeric supplement can also be a helpful hit of anti-inflammatory power. The main compound in turmeric (which gives it its yellow color) is curcumin, a potent antioxidant. Circumin supports your body’s natural inflammatory response, and some research indicates that it may be as powerful as some over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs.
You’ll need a turmeric capsule because it has a much higher concentration of curcumin than does the spice in your cupboard. Pro tip: take your turmeric with black pepper, or eat food sprinkled with black pepper soon after taking a supplement. Consuming black pepper with turmeric improves your body’s absorption of curcumin by 2000%.
Chronic inflammation is no joke. Left untreated, it can cause serious illness and disease. The threat of harmful inflammation should motivate you to eat better, sleep better, and lose a little weight if you have to. The good news is that with just a little knowledge and willingness to make adjustments, you can easily start to control inflammation.
Let’s get healthier, together,
Your friends at Santo Remedio
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