By following the programme over the past couple of weeks your inflammation levels will have been reducing. We all have inflammation within us, but it needs to be regulated.
Inflammation can arise when your exposure to environmental toxins exceeds your body´s ability to detoxify properly. As the body struggles to deal with the influx of toxins the detox pathways become clogged up, enabling them to accumulate like garbage in the body.
Whilst these get stored in fat cells, or float around the body they start activating the immune system and trigger inflammation as well as messing up the endocrine system and mimicking, blocking or slowing down hormones that should be in action.
Inflammation is a natural immune response that the body creates when under stress, or when there is tissue damage. It is an extremely complex process involving numerous chemicals and mechanisms. Although inflammation is essentially a protective mechanism, prolonged, chronic inflammation is not a healthy state and is now believed to be a contributory factor for numerous health disorders.
In modern society, many factors can contribute to inflammation and often, people are living with low grade chronic inflammation, which leads to tissue damage and dysfunction and can drive chronic disease processes. Chronic inflammatory diseases are very common. Inflammation is indicated in arthritis, cardiovascular disease, dementia, diabetes, fibromyalgia, autoimmune conditions, this list is not exhaustive, these are diseases of modern times.
Inflammation can be caused by many factors that are associated with modern life, including western diet (high omega 6, low omega 3, high in processed foods including trans fats, low fibre, high sugar and refined carbohydrates), stress, digestive dysfunction, insulin resistance, hormone imbalances and exposure to environmental pollutants, to name a few.
Eating unnatural foods in large amounts can trigger high blood sugar, weight gain and inflammation. For example, processed foods are often high in pro-inflammatory omega 6 fatty acids and low in anti-inflammatory omega 3.
Many people are eating a disproportionately high ratio of omega 6 fats to omega 3s. Some are even as high as 30:1. This imbalance can activate inflammatory molecules called cytokines, which contribute to chronic inflammation.
Omega 6 fatty acids are found in meat or eggs. They are also essential fatty acids that must be present in a balanced diet, but just as Omega 3s are precursors of anti-inflammatory agents, Omega 6s are precursor molecules for inflammation, vasoconstriction and increased platelet aggregation.
Oily fish is the best animal source of omega 3, and chlorella, seaweed the best vegan source.
The change in dietary habits of the last 100-150 years has led to an increase in the consumption of saturated fat and Omega 6, while the intake of Omega 3 has been drastically reduced, with highly unbalanced Omega 6.
Many studies show that the healthy recommendations between the Omega 6: Omega 3 ratio is 1: 1 or at most 2: 1 (2 Omega 6 for each Omega 3 consumed), since an excess of Omega 6 can lead to problems for human health.
Diet and anti-inflammatory support
Olive oil is the ultimate pillar of the “our” Mediterranean diet. It contains potent antioxidants like oleocanthal and oleic acid which has been shown to reduce levels of important inflammatory markers like C-reactive protein. A review looking at the Mediterranean diet as a tool to combat inflammation was published in the Journal of Biomedicines in 2020. It found evidence it could reduce disease activity, pain, and stiffness in patients with inflammatory arthritis.
Helping a strong anti-inflammatory response is achieved by eating foods predominantly high in omega 3, found in oily fish, flaxseeds, chia seeds and walnuts and/or a supplement containing EPA. EPA is found in oily fish, another omega 3, alpha linolenic acid is found in flax and chia seeds and dark leafy green vegetables and can be converted to into anti-inflammatory prostaglandins.
Obtaining good levels of vegetables (six to eight per day), including dark leafy greens high in anti-inflammatory phytonutrients and antioxidants. Vitamin E has been shown to suppress inflammatory markers (IL-6, TNFα and NO) and down another inflammatory marker called NF-kB. Sources of vitamin E are avocados, almonds, green vegetables and olives.
Avoiding refined carbohydrates and high glycaemic index foods will support healthy blood sugar levels, which in turn modulates inflammation.
Some of the well-researched anti-inflammatory ingredients include:
Turmeric and the curcuminoids found within this spice have been heavily researched for their potential role in helping maintain proper inflammatory response. Turmeric also possesses potent antioxidant properties.
Ginger contains active constituents, including gingerol, shogaol and paradol, which have been shown to inhibit and reduce inflammation in the body.
Vitamin D deficiency is associated with higher rates of inflammatory health conditions and studies show that having sufficient levels of vitamin D is associated with a reduction in inflammatory markers.
Keep following the plan and reduce your inflammatory response even more!