Typical Causes & Symptoms of Inflammation
Inflammation actually gets a bad rep. Inflammation is our body’s natural response to ward off dangerous, foreign, or unhelpful organisms; however, there are times where our body –in response to certain other issues (arthritis, to name one) will initiate an inflammatory reaction despite there not being any unnatural presences within the body.
So, while we typically think that inflammation is some kind of swelling problem that is purely problematic, the reality is that there is actually a healthful purpose for inflammation. Additionally, inflammation is more than just swelling.
Signs of inflammation include:
- Stiffness and lack joint mobility
- Swelling (this is sometimes accompanied by a warmth to the afflicted area, but it does not have to be)
- Redness of the afflicted area
- Fever and chills
- Fatigue / exhaustion
- Lack of appetite
Importantly, signs of inflammation closely mimic signs of a blood clot, which means that it is important to take any indication of an episode of inflammation that is not in response to a bacterial or viral ailment seriously.
Using Diet to Reduce Inflammation
Unbeknownst to many, a chronic condition of inflammation can cause a plethora of medical ailments such as stroke (also symptomatic of blood clot disorders), heart attack, cancer, etc. Though genetics absolutely play a role in your tendency toward inflammation, there are ways for you to take control of your physical health.
The first and most important line of defense is in your diet. We have to eat every day, and as it turns out, there are multiple food products that naturally help the body fight inflammation. These defenders are fruits, vegetables, proteins, and alliums; they should be incorporated into your diet on a regular basis.
- Good Fats: Years ago, fat got a bad reputation, but it has since been discovered that fat is not only essential, but it can also be very, very good. That said, there are healthy fats and unhealthy fats. Saturated fats such as those found in refined sugar products should be avoided. Healthy fats, however, such as those found in fish (like salmon), nuts (such as almonds or walnuts), and cold-pressed oils (like extra virgin olive oil), should be incorporated into the diet.
- Dark, Leafy Greens: When your mother said to eat your vegetables, she was right. Dark leafy greens like kale, spinach, Swiss chard, broccoli, collards, etc. are packed with essential vitamins (E) and with cytokines, which are inflammatory molecules.
- Whole Grains: If you ever wondered if there was a difference between the food items labeled whole grains and those not, you should know that there is, and those items identified as whole grains can help you (further, they have a higher fiber content). So, start branching out and trying healthy alternatives to rice and pasta like farrow and barley and quinoa.
- Spices: Many spices like those found in exotic cuisine (turmeric and ginger, for example) are known inflammatory reducers. Other like basil and parsley are also beneficial, so spice up your menu and reduce inflammation at the same time.
- Alliums: Speaking of spicing up your menu, alliums like garlic and onions are immune-friendly inflammation-reducers. Garlic is known for having similar effects to anti-inflammatory medication while onions have similar mitigating effects.
- Berries: raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries all have distinct positive impacts on reducing inflammation whether it is in the joints or in the digestive tract. Either way, it’s a perfect reason to add a serving of succulent berries to your morning portion of whole grain steel cut oatmeal.
- Low–Fat Dairy: Speaking of digestive inflammation, non- or low-fat yogurt and milk are known for fortifying the body in the fight against rheumatoid arthritis.
- Vegetables: Tomatoes, colored peppers, and other fresh produce selections are beneficial as a part of both a well-balanced diet and as combatants to inflammation. Tomatoes not only provide a delightful burst of umami to the palate, they also contain lycopene and are proven to reduce lung inflammation. Interestingly cooked tomatoes are more healthful than raw ones, though, both are extremely desirable.
A healthy diet can be used preventatively or defensively against inflammation. By eating well, you can reduce your likelihood of suffering from inflammation and suffering the negative, painful effects of inflammation.
With four locations from Crestview to Destin, Florida, the Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy Center is the place to go for sports injuries and for expedient therapeutic recovery. Safe, informed, comprehensive care and preventative treatment are priorities at Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy Center, LLC, so if you think you’re suffering from inflammation, schedule a visit to learn more about your health as well as how you can control inflammation through diet and a healthy level of activity for your body.