Inflammation the Modern Day Epidemic

Inflammation the Modern Day Epidemic

Last month I talked about ways to tackle the dreaded middle age fat around the middle. It’s a priority for many women (and men). It is not just a matter of vanity either. Fat around the middle has health implications. It makes inflammation more likely and inflammation is bad news.

Inflammation underlies so many chronic health conditions. From heart disease to dementia, type 2 diabetes to asthma, allergies, skin conditions, arthritis and auto immune disease, even depression; chronic inflammation is the common thread behind these health issues.

Inflammation makes your immune system less efficient too, not helpful in these COVID times

However, take heart as there is SO much that you can do to prevent inflammation with food and lifestyle.

What is Inflammation?

Inflammation is a defensive response kicked off by your immune system. For example, typical signs are redness of the skin, heat, pain or swelling.

As a short lived response in response to, for example, a bacteria or injury, inflammation is a natural and necessary part of the healing process.

Inflammation becomes a problem if the inflammation response is not switched off. It then causes damage to the body. This then further stimulates the immune response and a vicious circle follows, increasing our susceptibility to chronic disease.

In rare, but worst case scenarios such as when people are very ill with coronavirus, inflammation triggers life threatening immune reactions.

How do you know if you have inflammation?

Sometimes you don’t know if you have inflammation. If you have raised levels of something called C Reactive Protein (CRP) in blood test results from your GP, that is one way to measure it.

What can be done to prevent chronic inflammation?

There are many things you can do to prevent inflammation, starting with your diet.  Here are a just a few to start with:

  • A healthy gut flora helps prevent chronic inflammation. Keep your gut bacteria healthy with a varied diet and the help of a probiotic or probiotic foods such as yoghurt, kefir and fermented foods (use caution if you have existing IBS though). Bacterial or fungal overgrowth in the gut contributes to unhealthy gut flora. This can be tested for and treated
  • Food intolerances e.g. to gluten or cow’s milk, can cause chronic inflammation
  • Keep your healthy fats up, particularly omega 3. Omega 3 fats are converted into substances which help regulate inflammation. Good food sources of omega 3 fats are oily fish such as salmon and mackerel, cold pressed oil such as linseed (flaxseed) or hempseed oil
  • Increase fruit and vegetables. Us nutritionists are always going on about this but it’s so important! Keep looking for the rainbow. Whether this be through getting more on your plate with salads and sides or through smoothies and vegetable juices. Pineapple, cherries and turmeric are super anti inflammatory foods
  • Cut down on sugar. If you feel a sugar craving coming on try my low sugar, gluten free Chocolate Courgette Muffins Recipe You get the added benefit of increasing your daily veg intake too!
  • Book a one to one nutrition consultation with me and we will plan a personalised strategy to address what is going on in your body
  • Keep hydrated. Check out this informative article from Nutri Advanced which goes into the science of how drinking water helps your immune system
  • On a non nutritional note, pinpointing and dealing with sources of stress in your life is pretty important when it comes to inflammation. Not always an easy task but very necessary! Long term stress produces a high amount of free radicals which cause oxidative damage. There is a lot of evidence now to show that oxidative stress and chronic inflammation are linked

To book a one to one nutrition appointment email penny@nutritionistlondon.co.uk or call 07761 768 754