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5 Tips to Fight Inflammation

5 Tips to Fight Inflammation

Written by our in-house Naturopath, Holistic Nutritionsit and Medical Herbalist Emma Gibson, from Nala Holistic

“Inflammation” seems to have found its way forward in the health and wellbeing scene, often being called out as a threat to health and performance. In this blog, we offer an understanding of inflammation as one of the body’s natural, essential and restorative processes, plus make clear the difference between healthy acute inflammation, and not-so-healthy chronic inflammation.

Often regarded as being a threat to health and performance, inflammation is an essential and restorative process that enables us to overcome tissue damage, reduce spreading of trauma and infection, and promote tissue repair.

There are two stages of inflammation, the first recruiting specific immune cells that work to protect the affected area, shut down the source of tissue damage, and mop up any mess. This typically causes redness, warmth, swelling, pain, and sometimes compromised function. The second stage is concerned with complete resolution and regeneration… if all is working as it should be.


Acute Inflammation vs. Chronic Inflammation

All going well, acute inflammation responds to and completely resolves damage caused by harmful stimuli within days to weeks. Think about stubbing your toe, the momentary pain, swelling and quick resolve OR having a sore throat that soon heals.

However, if this process is compromised and not effectively responding to triggers, or the triggers are too many for it to keep up, chronic inflammation can ensue and contribute to ongoing health issues. Think persistent joint pain and swelling, recurring ills and chills, and even low mood and energy!

Chronic inflammation is when this otherwise restorative process starts to perpetuate rather than resolve. It is now said that chronic inflammation plays a role in most chronic disease, such as depression, heart disease, diabetes, weight gain, digestive issues, reproductive concerns, autoimmune disorders, and so on (1).

Acute inflammation restores health to the affected area, whilst chronic inflammation leads to tissue dysfunction and more harm than healing.

Why does chronic inflammation occur?! Well, a lot has to do with our modern diet and lifestyle, tending to have a higher amount of pro-inflammatory than anti-inflammatory foods and habits!

So How do we Support Acute Inflammation and Prevent Chronic Inflammation? 

Regular Movement 

Whilst over-exercising can promote inflammation, physical inactivity can contribute to chronic inflammation. Find ways that you love moving, ideally getting your heart rate up and breaking at least a little sweat!

Anti-Inflammatory VS. Pro-Inflammatory Foods

To put it super simply, think about wholefoods in their most natural form, and a variety of colours. Highly processed, refined, and sugar laden foods are like fuel to the inflammation fire! Oily fish like salmon and sardines are particularly anti-inflammatory due to their omega-3 fatty acid content. Whereas dip feeding trans and saturated fats found in things like potato chips, soybean and canola oils, baked goods and pastries will drive chronic inflammation. Avoid alcohol and sodas, making water your main drink of choice.

Up the Antioxidants

Inflammation increases our need for antioxidants, simply focus on colourful fresh fruit and veg. Good antioxidant sources include turmeric, garlic, citrus fruits, and herbs like basil, mint, and thyme.

Curcumin (Turmeric)

Curcumin is one of the many active constituents in Turmeric, used for its far-reaching properties, including being anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.
Turmeric has been used to alleviate mild digestive discomfort and promote proper digestive function in general, as well as in the treatment of IBS, IBD, and indigestion for example. To put it simply, it gently stimulates, protects, and soothes the digestive system (2).

Curcumin has profound anti-inflammatory activity in the joints, assisting with reduction in swelling, morning stiffness, and walking time (3). When compared with voltaren and ibuprofen, it has been shown equally as effective in improving specific symptoms associated with arthritis of the knee (4,5).

In other words, in active people, turmeric may help to reduce inflammation and relieve sore muscles after exercise. And for those with sensitive tummies or who are susceptible to compromised digestion and discomfort, turmeric may help to mediate inflammation in the gut and promote proper digestion. Our Collagen Repair includes curcumin to support recovery and reducing inflammation.

Collagen

Collagen works in a number of ways to regulate inflammation. Namely, strengthening the immune system, bolstering many tissues and organs of the body, and inhibiting the production of inflammatory molecules, to name a few. As a natural part of the aging process, our bodies produce less and less collagen. Given it makes up about 30% of our body’s total protein and plays a key role in the growth and maintenance of bones, joints, and muscles, and other connective tissues, it’s super supportive to keep topping up our collagen levels. Our Bone Broth Protein Powders and Collagen Powders are a great way to do so.
 

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References:

  1. Furman, D., Campisi, J., Verdin, E., Carrera-Bastos, P., Targ, S., Franceschi, C., Ferrucci, L., Gilroy, D. W., Fasano, A., Miller, G. W., Miller, A. H., Mantovani, A., Weyand, C. M., Barzilai, N., Goronzy, J. J., Rando, T. A., Effros, R. B., Lucia, A., Kleinstreuer, N., & Slavich, G. M. (2019). Chronic inflammation in the etiology of disease across the life span. Nature medicine25(12), 1822–1832. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-019-0675-0

  2. THAVORN, K., MAMDANI, M. M., & STRATUS, S. E. (2014). EFFICACY OF TURMERIC IN THE TREATMENT OF DIGESTIVE DISORDERS: A SYSTEMATIC REVIEW AND META-ANALYSIS PROTOCOL. SYSTEMATIC REVIEWS, 3(71). HTTPS//:DOI.ORG/10/1186/2046-4053-3-71

  3. GUPTA, S. C., PATCHVA, C., & AGGARWAL, B. B. (2013). THERAPEUTIC ROLES OF CURCUMIN: LESSONS LEARNED FROM CLINICAL TRIALS. THE AAPS JOURNAL, 15(1), 195-218. HTTPS://DOI.ORG/10.1208/S12248-012-9432-8

  4. THAVORN, K., MAMDANI, M. M., & STRATUS, S. E. (2014). EFFICACY OF TURMERIC IN THE TREATMENT OF DIGESTIVE DISORDERS: A SYSTEMATIC REVIEW AND META-ANALYSIS PROTOCOL. SYSTEMATIC REVIEWS, 3(71). HTTPS//:DOI.ORG/10/1186/2046-4053-3-71

  5. DEPHILLIPO, N. N., AMAN, Z. S., KENNEDY, M. I., BEGLEY, J. P., MOATSHE, G., & LAPRADE, R. F. (2018). EFFICACY OF VITAMIN C SUPPLEMENTATION ON COLLAGEN SYNTHESIS AND OXIDATIVE STRESS AFTER MUSCULOSKELETAL INJURIES: A SYSTEMATIC REVIEW. ORTHOPAEDIC JOURNAL OF SPORTS MEDICINE6(10), 2325967118804544. HTTPS://DOI.ORG/10.1177/2325967118804544

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