Let Food Be Thy Medicine #1: Chronic Inflammation

Acute Inflammation, also called irritation, swelling and tenderness. We have all experienced it.  For the most part, inflammation is necessary; it is a critical part of the immune response system that tells us when there is infection, stress, illness, or injury, acting as our bodies warning system.
Chronic inflammation, however, is an immune system over-response. But it can become self-perpetuating. The body generates additional inflammation in response to the problem inflammation. Occasionally the immune system becomes erratic and generates an unnecessary inflammatory response with no injury or disease process present. This is referred to as an autoimmune condition.
Almost every disease or disorder exhibits some element of inflammation. Inflammation is a major culprit in the manifestation of many conditions such as:

  • ·         Heart disease
  • ·         High blood pressure
  • ·         Arthritis
  • ·         Lupus
  • ·         Chron’s disease
  • ·         Rheumatoid arthritis
  • ·         Alzheimer’s disease
  • ·         IBS
  • ·         Colitis
  • ·         Migraines
  • ·         Tendonitis
  • ·         Chronic fatigue
Anti-inflammatory medications are seen as necessary and potentially life-saving in patients with certain conditions such as cardiovascular disease and auto-immune conditions; Still it is very common for doctors to take on a cavalier approach when it comes to considering inflammation during the investigation of a patients disease process; typically inflammation is regarded as a nuisance symptom, instead of a substantial factor in their condition. This leaves many people with inflammatory conditions feeling disregarded or not listened to during the duration of their care; also, this lack of perception can lead to an aggravation of the disorder and a worsening of the symptoms experienced.  
It is important to note that pharmaceutical medications are not without side effects. One common problem is that in suppressing inflammation, the medicine usually disables the body’s ability to detoxify, repair, and protect itself effectively. Usually, the medication itself is inherently a toxin to the body. The liver, as you may know is responsible for detoxifying our body. When the liver is unable to purify appropriately, then the cells of the liver will become damaged. Liver Dysfunction can lead to liver disease and cirrhosis (liver scarring), compounding the problem.
Luckily there are many things you can do to reduce the impact of chronic inflammation on your quality of life; the first and most important is diet change, let food by thy medicine. By reducing the foods that cause inflammation and choosing to consume foods that benefit the body instead is one the best choices you can make in your recovery. First start by reducing your intake of Trans-fats, Sugar, MSG, High-Fructose Corn Syrup, Preservatives, Additives and sometimes red meat as well as gluten. This is an arduous task, due to the negative state of our food supply and our society’s apathy towards diet.
When you begin to remove the causes of the problems you have, you will notice a decrease in symptoms, as well as an increase in energy. This restored energy is felt because your body does not have to exert as much energy to fight off the inflammation; Instead your body will focus on dispensing energy to more vital and necessary functions.
As your body begins to detox, you will need to begin accumulating beneficial nutrients into your body. Educate yourself on things that can benefit your specific condition, many people find the following things to be very helpful along their journey:
*Hemp: (Cannabis sativa) Hemp has the perfect ratio of Omega fatty acids. Fatty acids work to achieve symbiosis, which keeps cells healthy and strong; this happens by keeping the cell-membranes absorbent for nutrients to easily pass. Omega fatty acids are the components in hemp that have anti-inflammatory properties. The primary pathway of inflammation is constructed predominantly from Omega 3 fatty acids. A diet rich in these natural nutrients assists the body in having a more profound primary inflammatory response while simultaneously minimizing the chronic inflammation responsible for pain and suffering.
* Alfalfa: (Medicago sativa) this plant is widely used for kidney conditions, bladder and prostate conditions, and to increase urine flow. It is also used for high cholesterol, asthma, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, upset stomach, and bleeding disorders
*Flax: (Linum usitatissimum) Not only does Flax contain CBD; Protection of our blood vessels from inflammatory damage is provided by the lignans found in flaxseeds. These lignans can inhibit formation of platelet activating factor (PAF), which increases risk of inflammation when produced in excessive amounts. The overall anti-inflammatory benefits of ALA and lignans in flaxseeds has been further corroborated by studies in which flax decreases of 10-15% in C-reactive protein levels. CRP levels are a commonly used indicator of inflammatory status in the cardiovascular system.
* Papaya: (Carica papaya) eaten as fruit or taken as a supplement, papaya is a natural anti-inflammatory due to the enzymes within, papain and chymopapain. These enzymes have been shown to help lower inflammation and to improve healing from burns. It also promotes digestion and absorption of nutrients after meals.
* Ginger: (Zingiber officinale) Ginger contains very potent anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols. Gingerols inhibit a number of bio-chemicals that promote inflammation, including COX and lipoxygenase pathways. Ginger has been shown to reduce pain from both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
*Valerian root: (valeriana officinalis) is derived from a plant native to Europe and Asia. The root of this plant has been used for thousands of years as a remedy for various ailments including sleep problems, digestive problems, disorders of the nervous system, headaches, and arthritis
*Quercetin: Is a very medicinal plant-derived flavonoid found in fruits, vegetables, leaves and grains. The anti-inflammatory effects of Quercetin seem to come from its ability to diminish the production and activity of pro-inflammatory bio-chemicals such as leukotrienes and prostaglandins. It has been shown to cease the release of histamine, the biochemical that causes allergic symptoms like runny nose and itchy eyes. Quercetin also helps to reduce symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome and other inflammatory digestive disorders
*Bromelain: This protein-dissolving enzyme is obtained from the stem and fruit of the pineapple (Ananas comosus). Bromelain seems to exert its anti-inflammatory effect by altering leukocyte migration and activation. Leukocytes are white blood cells that help fight infection but can also perpetuate inflammation. Bromelain is beneficial for acute injuries or inflammation caused by ongoing injury, such as osteoarthritis, with its ongoing injury to joint cartilage.
*Alpha Lipoic Acid: (ALA) is an organosulfur compound which is also a co-enzyme that possesses many benefits, including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory protection. It is both fat and water soluble, and can regenerate other important antioxidants like vitamins E, C and glutathione. It provides anti-inflammatory protection in blood vessels as well as in the fatty tissues of the brain and nerves. ALA improves glucose metabolism, which promotes good health in diabetes patients. It also shows promise in treating metabolic disorders, and regulating mitochondrial dysfunction, by reducing oxidative stress on the body.  
*Co-enzyme Q10: (CoQ10) is an essential antioxidant that also promotes regeneration of other important antioxidants. Co-enzyme Q is shown to stimulate new cell growth and inhibits cell death. CoQ10 when used in combination with Vitamin E is shown to significantly reduce chronic inflammation and oxidative stress two key contributors involved in the development and progression of vascular diseases. CoQ10 is becoming one of the choice treatments for many rare mitochondrial diseases; It has also proven to prevent migraines, increase energy as well as lower blood pressure.



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