With so many trending diets on the media it is hard to filter through them and figure out what you really need. You’ve probably heard your doctor talk about inflammation, or seen foods and supplements promoting anti-inflammatory properties in the grocery store. Is this just another trend? How do you know if you’re experiencing inflammation anyways?
What is inflammation?
Our immune system has various layers protecting our bodies from our environment. When we’re exposed to physical stress, trauma, infections, or chronic disease, our immune system triggers an inflammatory response. This response releases eicosanoids and cytokines which are signaling molecules, to aide in the inflammation. Inflammation may be characterized as either acute or chronic.
Acute inflammation occurs as a result of an injury or infection and is short-lived, lasting anywhere from minutes to days. During an acute inflammatory response, there may be increased blood flow and an accumulation of white blood cells. This results in a physical response including redness, heat, and pain at the site. These minor effects result from new cells synthesizing and healing the affected tissue.
A chronic response, on the other hand, is long-term inflammation which can last months to years due to a weak inflammatory response during the acute phase. Other common factors that play a role in chronic inflammation are the aging process, environmental toxins, and poor nutrition. Chronic inflammation will eventually lead to symptoms of other disease states. (1)
Chronic inflammation will affect the organs in our bodies in several different ways. Inflammation at the brain will cause symptoms such as fatigue, cognitive dysfunction, and sleepiness. At the Endocrine system, it will cause an increase in metabolic rate, leading to muscle wasting. At the muscles, it will cause insulin resistance and hyperglycemia. At the gastrointestinal tract, it will cause a decrease in motility. Inflammation may also occur at the kidneys, heart, pancreas, and reproductive system. (1,2) (Krasue 163)
In several studies, an anti-inflammatory lifestyle has shown to reduce inflammation. (3) Consuming more anti-inflammatory foods will have several benefits. What are anti-inflammatory foods? These are foods that are high in nutrients, phytochemicals, and antioxidants. Phytochemicals are compounds found in plants that protect the plant from predators and work in similar ways when we consume them. Antioxidants are compounds, including vitamins and minerals such as vitamin E, carotene, and selenium. They fight against free radicals; toxic chemicals in our body which are caused as a result of environmental stresses and toxins. (4, 5)
Common sources are fruits, vegetables, nuts, spices, herbs, and even teas. In several studies, specific herbs like ginger and turmeric have shown to be beneficial in promoting a healthy inflammatory response.
While increasing these foods, you want to make sure that you’re also limiting foods that can cause inflammation. Whether you’re looking to increase consumption of anti-inflammatory foods or not, it’s good to have a balance of foods. Saturated fat, cholesterol, and trans fat are nutrients that will lead to increased inflammation; foods that are highly refined and processed will contain these nutrients.
No one has the perfect diet. We do what we can. But thanks to advances in science and technology, we have the option to use supplements when needed. Here at Persona, we’ve got you covered. (6,7) We’ve done extensive research on the following supplements, all of which support a healthy inflammatory response:
- CBD Hemp Extract
- DHA w/ Vitamin D
- Omega-3 w/ Biocurc®
- TRU NIAGEN®
- Vegan DHA
Whatever dietary practices you choose to take, there’s always room for more anti-inflammatory foods. Take initiative now to be prepared if/when your body needs the support.