The Learning Centre


Inflammation 101

By Genuine Health

Inflammation is needed in the body. It serves as the cornerstone to the healing process bringing more nutrients and immune activity to the site of injury or illness. It is when this inflammatory response is left unchecked and serves no purpose to the healing process that it becomes an issue. In this situation inflammation can damage the tissues of the body causing pain and stiffness in the joints and may eventually lead to many more serious illnesses and ailments like asthma, crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease and even cancer.

There are many things that can lead to chronic inflammation such as stress, lack of sleep and environmental toxins, or a chronic irritant of low intensity that persists, such as a dietary sensitivity. While reducing or limiting these factors in your life is important, diet (what you put in your body and what you don’t) is one of the biggest ways you can put the brakes on chronic inflammation.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways to help reduced inflammation in your body.

Limit sugar and white flour

White flour and sugar break down into glucose molecules in the mouth with the help of digestive enzymes. High amounts of sugar in the diet cause advanced-glycation end products (AGEs) which are proteins bound to glucose molecules resulting in damaging cross linked molecules. As the body tries to break down these molecules, immune cells secrete inflammatory messengers known as cytokines. Depending on where the AGEs occur, and your genetic disposition, these molecules could lead to arthritis, cataracts, heart disease, poor memory and wrinkled skin.  

FIX: Choose whole, unprocessed grains that have a low glycemic index. Try replacing white flour in baked goods with spelt, and sweetening your favourite foods with natural sweeteners like maple syrup, honey, or coconut sugar.

Avoid foods you might be sensitive too

Eating foods that we are sensitive to causes an inflammatory response in our digestive systems. Over time this causes damage to the lining of the intestines leading to what is known as “leaky gut syndrome”. When the intestine becomes inflamed and damaged toxins, undigested fats and proteins, as well as bacteria can “leak” through the intestinal wall entering into the blood stream, an immune response is ignited. This can lead to bloating, excessive gas, fatigue, joint pain, skin rashes and autoimmune disorders.

FIX: Most people are sensitive to a few common allergen including corn, dairy, wheat, gluten, soy.  Try avoiding some of these main culprits from the diet and see if your pain and discomfort is reduced, or work with your nutritionist or naturopathic doctor to see if an elimination diet is right for you.

Increase intake of essential fatty acids

Humans have two essential fatty acids that we need to get through our diet – linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acids (omega-3). In the “ideal diet” these are balanced and consumed in a ratio of 1:1 or 2:1, however in most people’s diet this ratio is way out of whack at around 10:1 (sometimes even as high as 20:1!),  as the typical western diet is high is omega-6 containing oils such as safflower/sunflower and corn oils. Linoleic Acid is used to produce Arachidonic Acid which is a precursor to inflammatory prostaglandins (signaling molecules) and key inflammatory mediators.

Eicosapentaenoic Acid (the long-chain omega 3 derived from the diet or via the metabolism of alpha-linolenic acid) on the other hand, is highly anti-inflammatory stimulating signalling and immune modulators that help calm the inflammatory response.

FIX: Include foods like walnuts, flax, fatty cold water fish (tuna, sardines, salmon and anchovies) in your diet multiple times a week and be sure to include a quality fish oil supplement like omega3 daily.

Anti-inflammatory supplements

If you are suffering from pain as a result of inflammation there are some amazing natural products that will help to not only reduce inflammation, but decrease the pain, stiffness and discomfort that result from it.

Natural eggshell membrane is a potent anti-inflammatory that is also a whole food source of glucosamine, chondroitin, hyaluronic acid and type I collagen, that help to repair damaged inflamed joints. Better still, this ingredient is research-proven to improve joint pain and stiffness in as little as 10 days!

Bromelain, an enzyme found naturally in pineapples is another great way to tackle inflammation, and has been shown to work wonders on all sorts of inflammation from more chronic ailments like arthritis to more acute problems like sinusitis. Bromelain is great on its own, but works even better when paired with natural eggshell membrane mentioned above.

FIX: Look for products like fast joint care+ and fast arthritis relief+ that contain the research-proven amounts of natural eggshell membrane, and in the case of fast arthritis relief+,  prove you with the powerful combination of both!