Healthy Food Guide (Australia)
WAYS TO REDUCE INFLAMMATION
Inflammation is the body’s natural immune response to injury and infection, so a bit of swelling is not usually a big deal. But what happens when it doesn’t go away? Or when we can’t see it? HFG investigates.
Ongoing, low-grade inflammation can become a bigger medical issue if left unattended. HFG investigates.
The human body comes equipped with the most amazing immune system that gives it the ability to heal itself from everyday ailments. Get bitten by a mosquito or twist an ankle and you’ll notice a bit of swelling as blood flow increases to the area so that infection-fighting cells and nutrients can help with repair. A similar response happens when you get an infection, cold or the flu. While you may notice symptoms such as a runny nose, redness, swelling and pain, these all subside before too long as you heal.
But sometimes inflammation doesn’t end when it is supposed to, and the body doesn’t return to its usual healthy state. Instead, the swelling stays around in a low-grade, ongoing or chronic form. This type of inflammation is cause for concern.
Chronic inflammation effects
When you experience chronic, low-grade or
‘silent’ inflammation, the body’s continued release of inflammatory chemicals can destroy healthy cells in your arteries, organs, joints and other areas, causing disease. Since this is all happening inside your body, rather than on the surface where it can be seen, this type of inflammation is often undetectable. Unfortunately, it can cause irreversible damage long before anyone is aware that something is wrong.
Auto-immune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease are classic examples of inflammation gone wrong. In these instances, the immune system starts attacking healthy cells, tissue and/or organs, instead of damaged ones. In fact, chronic low-grade inflammation is linked to a range of conditions, including heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes, as well as osteoporosis, osteoarthritis and neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.