By: Rick Bellanti – June, 2017
Inflammation is the body’s response telling you something is not right and you have a medical issue that’s harmful or irritating to a part of our body. There are five signs of inflammation, Pain (with sensitivity), Redness, Swelling (caused by fluid retention), Heat (because of more blood flowing to the affected area) and Immobility (losing function of the inflamed area). When you have inflammation you may feel discomfort, pain and stiffness depending on the severity of it.
Your risk of having inflammation is much greater if you are overweight. Studies have found that patients who are overweight and unfit had a raised level of white blood cells which will lead to inflammation and discomfort and that it could also lead to other illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes. Your BMI (Body Mass Index) has a direct link to your white blood cells and losing weight and adding in exercise are two direct ways in lowering your inflammation pain. Even though there is no test to find inflammation, you could have a blood test to see what is your white blood cell count as well as your BMI number.
What we put in our bodies as a regular diet has a direct link to inflammation in our bodies. Here are some of the foods we ingest almost on a daily basis that could be causing your inflammation. Sugar and its other names such as Sucrose and Fructose, found in many process foods such as candy, pastries, sodas and fruit juices. Saturated fats, which are foods that mainly come from animal sources, like fatty beef, lamb, pork and full fat dairy products like whole milk and cheeses.
Many baked goods and fried foods can contain high levels of saturated fats. Trans fats, found in fried foods, fast foods and also snack foods like crackers and donuts. Omega 6 Fatty Acids, (surprised me too) because they are an essential fatty acid that the body needs for normal growth and development, but watch the amounts, too much omega 6, may cause inflammation. Refined Carbohydrates, like white bread (white flour), cereals, rice and white potatoes, which are all high-glycemic index foods and will stimulate inflammation. Mono-Sodium Glutamate also known as MSG, which is a flavor enhancer. Gluten, is grain and found in wheat, rye and barley. Aspartame, is an artificial sweetener found in many products including diet sodas (Stay Away!). Alcohol, interacts with many organs in your body (especially your liver). Please use in moderation or eliminate from your diet altogether.
By changing our bodies make up from an acidic state (having an acidic body creates an unwanted environment where illness thrives) to an alkaline state, will help in reducing pain, boost energy and ward of illness. I’m not sure if we can ever eliminate inflammation altogether in our bodies but we can certainly help with the pain and onset of attacks, to help us lead a more pain free productive life.
Studies have recently shown that poor sleep habits, including the quality and duration of sleep in individuals show higher levels of inflammation in the body, so get your 8 hours in.
We can start by changing our diets, such as adding more fresh organic fruits and vegetables and whole grains, low fat dairy, more nuts (like almonds) and having chicken and fish, replacing red meats. You can also add anti-inflammatory spices or supplements to your diet such as turmeric, cinnamon, ginger and cayenne, to name a few.
Rick Bellanti is a wellness columnist and is on a journey himself to lose 240 lbs, and has lost 160 lbs since the start of 2015. If you have any questions or comments, please post them to his Getting Healthy with Rick Bellanti Facebook page and once a month he will address a few of the topics here.