Inflammation is our body’s innate or inborn tendency to pad or put fluid at a site of injury or problematic area in the body. The inflammatory process also occurs when the body is dealing with bacterial or viral infections. It is believed that some level of inflammation is important for your body to stay healthy. Without any inflammation, healing would be very difficult.
So short term, or acute inflammation, is normally not a problem. This type of inflammation helps protect and heal us. In most cases, short term inflammation is considered a good thing. It is when the long term, or chronic inflammation, occurs that we have a problem. In Alzheimer’s Disease, chronic inflammation is thought to destroy brain cells. In autism, we often see inflammatory autoimmune reactions that can harm the brain.
There are many causative factors for chronic inflammation in the body. Unhealthy lifestyle choices are one of the main culprits. These poor choices include: little to no exercise, diet high in sugar and white flour, diet high in foods we are allergic or reactive to, smoking, and high mental stress levels. What we do to our body and what we put into our body really does matter.
In many of our chronic health condition cases we help manage, we look at inflammatory factors. These factors are determined by blood work. If you are dealing with any chronic health condition, I encourage you to ask to have your inflammatory markers run. We routinely address chronic inflammation in our office with our patient base.
One way we dampen inflammation is with fish oil. Fish oil is made up of substances called EPA and DHA. Both of these substances are important. Fish oil with a higher EPA content is often best. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported the correct amount of omega 3 is 3500mg for a person eating 2000 calories per day (3000 calories per day would consume around 5000mg per day).
Proper food choices also make a difference. As do exercising, not smoking, optimizing vitamin D levels, proper gut health and keeping our weight within normal limits. Some of my favorite anti-inflammatory foods include: salmon, leafy green vegetables, blueberries and garlic. My favorite spices that have anti-inflammatory properties include: turmeric, rosemary, ginger and cloves. I also like the curcumin (an herb) for its anti-inflammatory properties.
The answer to the question above is that inflammation is both friend and foe, depending on the situation.
If you have any questions or we can help in any way, feel free to call us at The Martin Clinic at 770.237.3970 or check us out at www.themartinclinic.com.