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Inflammation – what is it? And how we can help it naturally through Food?

Inflammation is the body’s natural reaction to a stimulus that is causing a response to injury, infection or stresses and strains.

Inflammation can be either acute or chronic, and local or systemic, ie it can be either a short term inflammation localised in one part of the body or long term in one part of the body or inflammation which is long lasting and present throughout the body.

Inflammatory responses are as a result of an increase in blood flow to an area, which is the body’s way to help heal itself. This increase in blood flow then causes an area to be red, hot, tender and swollen, and often have a deep ache associated with it.

Acute and chronic inflammation in the musculoskeletal system are often caused by different conditions. For example a sprained ankle will lead to acute localised inflammation at the ankle joint. Whereas a bulged disc in the lower back with associated joint degeneration, muscle spasm may lead to chronic inflammation because of the nature of the injury and bulge which may never be “fixed”. Other systemic musculoskeletal inflammatory conditions can include arthritis can lead to local or widespread chronic inflammation of one or more joints as well as have an affect on other systems within the body.

As well as hands on treatment and approach, as osteopath’s we also believe in lifestyle management to help combat inflammation and pain. This can include pharmaceutical medication prescribed by you GP or specialist. It can also include being active with gentle exercise such as walking, bike riding and swimming, as well as taking natural supplements such as magnesium, fish oils, vitamin D, K, E and B.

There is also a very important step that allows you to take control of your own inflammatory state within your body by choosing what foods may help your inflammatory levels.

Food to eat to help reduce inflammation: 

  • Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines, snapper and cod – all high in omega-3 fatty acids
  • Use of olive oil in cooking
  • Nuts such as walnuts and almonds also high in omega-3 fatty acids
  • Fruits such as blueberries, oranges, strawberries and cherries
  • Green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, broccoli
  • Green tea
  • Whole grains such as quinoa, oatmeal, brown rice and beans
  • Adding spices such as tumeric, cumin, garlic and ginger
  • And remember to stay hydrated with lots of water!!

What to avoid? 

  • Refined carbohydrates like pasta and white rice,
  • Processed sugars
  • Nightshade vegetables such as eggplants
  • Red meat should be eaten very minimally and should be very lean! so avoid processed meats!!
  • High salted foods
  • Alcohol

A well balance diet, gentle exercise, appropriate medication if required as well as hands on osteopathic treatment is a fabulous way to help combat inflammation!!

Categories: General Information