Inflammation is the body’s first defense against infection, but when it goes awry, it can lead to; heart attacks, cancer, Alzheimer’s and a host of other diseases. We all hear the word inflammation on a regular basis. It is thrown around by nutrition experts, doctors and the media. But how well do you actually understand inflammation?
The true test of understanding is being able sum up the explanation in a few sentences; the elevator message.
Here is one explanation…
A fundamental pathologic process consisting of a dynamic complex of
histologically apparent cytologic changes, cellular infiltration, and mediator
release that occurs in the affected blood vessels and adjacent tissues in
response to an injury or abnormal stimulation caused by a physical, chemical, or
biologic agent, including the local reactions and resulting morphologic changes;
the destruction or removal of the injurious material; and the responses that
lead to repair and healing. The so-called cardinal signs of inflammation are
rubor, redness; calor, heat (or warmth); tumor, swelling; and dolor, pain; a
fifth sign, functio laesa, inhibited or lost function, is sometimes added. All
these signs may be observed in certain instances, but none is necessarily always
That is a long elevator ride.
Simply. Think of inflammation like an ant bite. Initially, you feel the bite and it starts to sting. Your body immediately identifies the bite and sends down its best warriors to assess and attack the intrusion.
The ensuing battle leaves an area strewn with casualties on both sides. The bite is now inflamed and obviously red, extruding clear puss. If you are like me, now you start scratching the bite until it bleeds. Generally with a dirty fingernail. Now the bite is infected and highly inflamed. In the following days, the body begins the long fight to regain its edge and clean up the battlefield. The scab eventually forms to cover up the whole mess and as time marches on, the wound heals.
But what if you never removed the ant?
Inflammation is not the result of the bite, but rather the direct consequence of the body’s reaction to the bite.
The scary inflammation is the battle that is taking place within our skin, the silent, non-observed battles. It is these battles that directly affect our physical well-being.
Picture all the veins in your body pumping blood every second throughout your entire life. These veins are highly susceptible to inflammation. As they become irritated they behave differently and the body reacts defensively. This natural process is the basis for heart disease, by weakening the internal protective lining of our veins we allow damage to occur. If we don’t remove the causes the body stays in a constant state of inflammation.
There exist a number of factors that cause internal inflammation and the majority are completely avoidable. Food plays an enormous role in the creation of inflammation within our body. Chemicals, pesticides, food additives play the role of a foreign army invading and stressing our natural defensive capabilities. Pollution in the form of smoke, inhaled chemicals, air quality also take their toll as well as good old-fashioned stress.
The other word everyone throws around is antioxidant. For a long time I thought antioxidant was a marketing gimmick, I could not have been more wrong. Natural antioxidants exist to remove the foreign invaders. These antioxidants occur abundantly in a plant-based diet and throughout the entire spectrum of fruits and vegetables. In fact, to focus on one antioxidant to purge the body is short-sighted. Almost every plant-based food offers a degree of cleansing ability.
There is an endless amount of information on inflammation. Think of the ant bite. The evidence is quite clear, when we abuse our system the body reacts by fighting.
Elevator Message: No fighting, no inflammation, no problems.
The Inflammation Buster
I put this juice together, attempting to add extremely potent ingredients that have not been a consistent part of my daily diet.
Ginger: Ginger contains very potent anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols.
Tumeric: Early studies suggested that turmeric may help prevent atherosclerosis, the buildup of plaque that can block arteries and lead to heart attack or stroke.
Beets: Beets are a unique source of phytonutrients called betalains. Betanin and vulgaxanthin are the two best-studied betalains from beets, and both have been shown to provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification support.
Cayenne: Cayenne, contain capsaicin, which in addition to giving cayenne its characteristic heat, is a potent inhibitor of substance P, a neuropeptide associated with inflammatory processes.
Lemons & Limes: Lemons and limes are an excellent source of Vitamin C, one of the most important antioxidants in nature. Vitamin C is one of the main antioxidants found in food and the primary water-soluble antioxidant in the body.
For a definitive article on diet written by Dr. Dean Ornish, check out this link at the New York Times:
The Optimal Diet: Eating for health not weight. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/23/opinion/sunday/the-optimal-diet.html?_r=0