The Conversation – When our body becomes injured or encounters an infection, it activates defence mechanisms to protect itself. It does this by instructing our cells to fight off the invader. This fighting process causes inflammation, which often presents as swelling, redness and pain.
In the short-term, inflammation is a sign your body is healing, whether from a grazed knee or a cold.
If inflammation persists for a longer time it’s called “chronic”. That can indicate a health problem such as arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, dementia or other autoimmune disorders.
The signs and symptoms of chronic inflammation may be present from several months to years and include:
2.chronic fatigue or insomnia
5.elevated blood markers (such as C-reactive protein)
6.gastrointestinal issues (constipation, diarrhoea, acid reflux)
7.depression, anxiety and mood disorders
8.unintended weight gain or loss
9.frequent colds or flu.
What role does diet play?
The relationship between food and inflammation is well recognised. Overall, some food components may activate the immune system by producing pro-inflammatory cytokines (small proteins important in cell signalling) or reducing the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines.
A “pro-inflammatory diet” may increase inflammation in the body over the long term. Such diets are usually low in fresh produce like fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and high in commercially baked goods, fried foods, added sugars and red and processed meats.
In contrast, an “anti-inflammatory” diet is associated with less inflammation in the body. There is no single anti-inflammatory diet. Two well-recognised, evidence-backed examples are the Mediterranean diet and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet.
Anti-inflammatory diets typically include the following elements:
1.High in antioxidants. These compounds help the body fight free radicals or unstable atoms, that in high quantities are linked to illnesses such as cancer and heart disease. The best way to consume antioxidants is by eating lots of fruits and vegetables. Research shows frozen, dried and canned fruits and vegetables can be just as good as fresh.
2.High in “healthy”, unsaturated fatty acids. Monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish (sardines, mackerel, salmon and tuna), seeds, nuts, and plant-based oils (olive oil and flaxseed oil).
3.High in fibre and prebiotics. Carrots, cauliflower, broccoli and leafy greens are good sources of fibre … READ MORE.