The Nature Of Inflammation

There’s a theory that chronic inflammation is at the core of disease, including those that are non-infectious. Even with this realisation, inflammation is usually treated after the fact. In other words, once an inflammatory condition has been identified, only then is something done to alleviate the inflammation.

Testing for inflammation usually involves measuring the presence of C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation in the body. However, a blood test that indicates high levels of CRP does not reveal the location or cause of the inflammation.

Inflammatory Roots

The question is why inflammation starts in the first place. It’s important to know that inflammation can be both healing (acute) and harming (chronic).

For instance, the body responds to a cut on the hand by creating inflammation around injured area to begin the healing process. This acute inflammation lasts for a relatively short period of time as the wound heals. So, on the one hand, there’s the healthy nature of acute inflammation. On the other hand, there’s chronic inflammation that never dissipates, burning like an inner fire that won’t go out.

The central role that chronic inflammation plays in many deadly diseases is well-documented. This goes back to the inflammation theory of disease. Risk factors for chronic inflammation include the aging process, obesity, stress, sleep disorders, free radical accumulation and diet.

Food for Thought

One of the easiest ways to help your body avoid chronic inflammation is through the food you eat.

Pro-inflammatory molecules increase greatly with the consumption of refined sugar, saturated fat or trans fat, so it is important to avoid inflammatory intake that includes red meat, deep-fried food, processed food, baked goods and sugary cereals as well as sugary drinks.

The aim is to primarily consume whole plant foods, rich in chlorophyll such as colourful fruit and vegetables that provide a wealth of beneficial nutrients, including those with anti-inflammatory properties. It’s what your body needs to not only inhibit inflammation but to maintain your overall health.

Important plant nutrients include antioxidants, which prevent free radical damage that can cause chronic inflammation, omega-3 fatty acids—essential for reducing and regulating inflammation—and vitamins, minerals, enzymes and fiber. By eating a mostly plant-based diet, you can avoid chronic inflammation and maintain a healthy foundation that supports good health.