Acute Versus Chronic Inflammation
Although acute inflammation is a healthy, normal response to a cut, infection, or other injury, chronic inflammation is harmful to the body. The symptoms of an acute inflammatory response include redness and heat, swelling, pain, and a loss of movement and function. しかしながら, chronic inflammation often goes unnoticed for years.
Chronic inflammation is a systemic problem and often doesn’t have any symptoms. It contributes toward several diseases including Alzheimer’s disease, 癌, cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, lower respiratory disease, age-related macular degeneration, and osteoporosis. This inflammation is triggered by cellular stress and dysfunction, elevated blood sugar levels, and oxidative stress (free radical damage). Chronic inflammation is also known to cause accelerated aging, earning the nickname “inflammaging.”
Inflammation Risk Factors
Risk factors for chronic inflammation include age (it’s common in older adults), a diet high in saturated and/or trans fat, low sex hormones (they modulate the immune/inflammatory response), elevated blood glucose, obesity, smoking, and sleep disorders (sleep apnea and narcolepsy result in the production of inflammatory cytokines).
Foods/Herbs/Supplements that reduce chronic inflammation:
- cold water fish (for their omega-3 fatty acids – wild-caught salmon, albacore tuna, mackerel, rainbow trout, wild-caught sardines)
- garlic & onion
- gluten free foods
- green tea
- pineapple & papaya (fresh raw, not canned or frozen – their enzymes aid in reducing inflammation and swelling)
- nuts (especially almonds)
- olive oil
- echinacea, ginger, goldenseal, pau D’arco, red clover, tumeric, yucca
If you feel you may be at risk for chronic inflammation, talk with your physician as there are certain blood tests that can be done to evaluate this condition. Even if you choose to forgo testing, including many of the foods above will help improve your overall health, reduce inflammation, and may even make you look younger!
References: (1) Dr. Joseph Mercola; (2) Prescription for Nutritional Healing by Phyllis A. Balch, CNC & James F. Balch, M.D.; (3) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2011; Bastard et al. 2006; Cao 2011, Jha et al. 2009; Ferrucci et al. 2010; Glorieux et al. 2009; Kundu et al. 2008; Murphy 2012; Singh et al. 2011.