Inflammation is a process by which the body’s white blood cells and chemicals protect us from infection and foreign substances such as bacteria and viruses.
Inflammation is part of the complex biological response of vascular tissues to harmful stimuli, such as pathogens, damaged cells, or irritants. Inflammation is a protective attempt by the organism to remove the injurious stimuli and to initiate the healing process.
Inflammation is not a synonym for infection, even in cases where inflammation is caused by infection. Although infection is caused by a microorganism, inflammation is one of the responses of the organism to the pathogen.
Without inflammation, wounds and infections would never heal, causing cell and tissue damage.
But, chronic inflammation fuels ongoing cell/tissue damage, leading to progressive destruction of the tissue, which could compromise the survival of the organism.
In addition, chronic inflammation can lead to a variety of diseases, such as hay fever, periodontitis, atherosclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and even cancer (e.g., gallbladder carcinoma). It is for that reason that inflammation is normally closely regulated by the body and must be addressed if it is out of control.
Normally, inflammation is helpful in assisting the body in healing cuts and bruises and occurs in the body when there is cell/tissue damage that needs to be repaired.
Consequently, inflammation is good when you have a cut or injury because it is the body's natural defense in fighting off bad bacteria and promoting healing.
However, cellular or chronic inflammation is a condition that happens when the body is in a continuous cycle of inflammation (without healing) or is trying to repair cells that are not damaged.
Chronic inflammation is a long lasting inflammation (months or even years) due to persistent aggressive stimuli and is characterized by active inflammation, tissue destruction and repair. It can follow acute inflammation or can be chronic right from the beginning.
Eventually the once healthy area becomes damaged and susceptible to various diseases such as heart disease, cancer, arthritis, osteoporosis, hypertension, MS,and Alzheimer's.
Poor diet, stress, a weak immune system, and a sedentary lifestyle are all contributing factors to cellular inflammation.
As depicted in the diagram above, prolonged inflammation, known as chronic inflammation, leads to a progressive shift in the type of cells present at the site of inflammation and is characterized by simultaneous destruction and healing of the tissue from the inflammatory process.
And, over a long period of time, this type of prolonged inflammation can lead to organ/tissue damage that can lead to health problems and diseases such as heart disease, cancer, Type 2 diabetic complications, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, autoimmune diseases, mitochondrial-related disorders, thyroid dysfunction, accelerated aging, ulcers, slow-healing bruises, frequent infections, etc.
And, to further complicate matters, most of these health problems and diseases cause more inflammation, creating a vicious cycle that leads to more tissue damage and additional health problems.
Refer to the Inflammation & Oxidation web page for more details about how inflammation develops.
Given that chronic inflammation is harmful to our cells and tissues, it becomes important to use anti-inflammatory foods and nutrients to reduce the damage caused by oxidation and help with reversing Type 2 diabetes.
An anti-inflammatory diet can help prevent and treat many health problems, including:
-- Alzheimer's Disease
-- Crohn's disease
-- Eosinophilic esophagitis
-- Hashimoto's thyroiditis
-- Heart disease
-- Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
-- Metabolic syndrome
-- Rheumatoid arthritis
Additionally, eating an anti-inflammatory diet can help reduce the risk of certain cancers, including colorectal cancer.
Here is a list of anti-inflammatory foods that help to reduce cellular inflammation (and oxidation) in your body. these foods can help to prevent diabetic complications and even reverse Type 2 diabetes:
- Vegetables: Cruciferous vegetables (i.e. broccoli, cauliflower), dark green vegetables, kale, chili pepper, red cabbage, peppers, parsley, artichoke, Brussels sprouts, green beans, spinach, red beets, onion, sweet potatoes.
- Fruits: Berries (Cherry, blackberry, strawberry, raspberry, cranberry, blueberry, bilberry (wild blueberry), avocado, black currant, pomegranate, grape, lemon, lime, orange, plum, pineapple, kiwi fruit, grapefruit.
- Legumes: Kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans.
- Nuts and seeds: Pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts, ground nut or peanuts, sunflower seeds.
- Cold-water fish: Wild salmon, sardines, cod (Omega-3 EFAs)
- Plant oils: Extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil
- Herbs & Spices: cayenne, basil, cloves, cinnamon, oregano, parsley, gingko biloba, garlic, thyme, turmeric, sage, ginger
- Beverages: raw juices, green smoothies, green tea, white tea, wheatgrass juice
Note: Most of these foods are also antioxidant-rich foods that help to prevent excess oxidation.
The following is a list of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant foods and nutrients , and how they can benefit your health, including reversing your diabetes.
Acai Berries: Food sources: The acai berry. Most often used for: general health needs.
Alpha Lipoic Acid: Food sources: Organic meat. Most often used for: Diabetes and glaucoma.
Astaxanthin: Food sources: wild salmon. Gives salmon the pink color. 500 times stronger than Vitamin C.
Beta-carotene: Food sources: Dark Green and orange-yellow vegetables such as carrots and tomatoes. Most often used for: Night blindness, macular degeneration, immune system booster, photosensitivity, alcohol withdrawal support, gastritis, and HIV support.
Note: Beta-carotene natural form is comprised of two molecules. The synthetic form only has one molecule. Therefore, natural food sources are best. Some beta-carotenes include cryptoxanthin, alpha-carotene, zeaxanthin, lutein, and lycopene.
Bilberry: Food sources: The bilberry fruits and leaves taken fresh, dried, and as tinctures, decoctions or infusions. Most often used for: Eye health, maintaining flexibility of red blood cell walls thereby extending the life of the cell, keeps blood vessel walls strong and flexible, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, anti-carcinogenic, anti-diarrhea and also to decrease blood sugar.
Note: Bilberry as an herbal tincture is absorbed better than capsules.
Blueberries: Food sources: The blueberry. Most often used for: general health needs.
Cherries: Food sources: The black cherry. Most often used for: general health needs. Also, used to treat gout.
Note: Gout is a form of arthritis caused by uric acid build-up in the blood and joints. Gout is extremely painful and symptoms include redness, stiffness, and inflammation around the joints. The foot, big toe, ankles, wrists, fingers, and elbows are areas of the body typically affected by gout. NSAID pain relievers are often used to treat the pain and inflammation associated with gout but often come with side effects. Certain foods can offer relief from gout flare-ups and are a safe and natural alternative to these medications.
Besides cherries, other options include: apple cider vinegar, celery seed, potato skins, baking soda, and filtered water.
Berries, seem to have properties which are very effective in relieving the pain and inflammation of gout. Blueberries contain anthocyanins, which reduce inflammation and pain. Black cherries or black cherry juice can provide fast relief of symptoms, usually within 48 hours. One of the most well-known foods for gout relief is fresh or frozen cherries. When eaten at the onset of a gout episode, cherries can neutralize the uric acid that builds up in the joints. Strawberries and grapes can also relieve pain and inflammation from gout.
Celery seeds are quite effective in removing uric acid from the body and contain several anti-inflammatory compounds to aid in pain relief. You can prepare a celery seed remedy at home by boiling the seeds in water, straining the seeds and drinking the water. These seeds do tend to have a bit of a diuretic effect, which is why pregnant women should avoid using this treatment.
Some spices are great for relieving gout. Cayenne pepper is useful for pain relief when boiled in vinegar and applied directly to the affected joints. Garlic has many of the same anti-inflammatory properties as the berries mentioned above. You can keep gout symptoms at bay by consuming at least one clove of raw garlic per day. This remedy is even more effective when mixed with black cherry juice. Parsley has diuretic properties and is good for reducing swelling. Red clover is good for detoxifying the body as well as thinning the blood, which can be helpful for gout relief.
The best way to limit or eliminate the painful gout condition is to follow an anti-inflammatory diet such as the Death to Diabetes Diet. This will reduce the uric acid in your body, creating a healthier weight level, and preventing future gout attacks. You don't have to follow the diet perfectly to realize excellent results, just taking it day by day and doing your best will give you great health benefits.
Coconut oil (Extra virgin): Food sources: Coconut oil. This oil has antiviral and anti=inflammatory properties. Other products include coconut milk, coconut water, coconut cream, etc.
CoQ10 (Ubiquinone): Food sources: Fish (esp. mackerel, salmon and sardines), organic beef; organ meats (especially heart muscle); peanuts and spinach. Most often used for: Cardiac insufficiency (it strengthens the heart muscle itself), high blood pressure, tissue oxygenation, increases energy production within the cell, counteracts histamines so is good for allergies, asthma and in respiratory disease; also, used as an anti-aging nutrient.
Note: Practitioners have also used CoQ10 for schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, obesity, candidiasis, multiple sclerosis, stomach ulcers, angina, infertility, periodontal disease, reducing the side effects of chemotherapy and in diabetes. The supplement is expensive and should be taken with a bit of oily food to improve absorption.
Note: For supplements, make sure it's not synthetic. Try ubiquinol, or liposomal CoQ10 for better absorption; desiccated liver/heart.
Curcumin: Food source: Turmeric. Most often used for: Dense connective tissue cancers, helps liver to secrete bile, eases stomach pain and nausea, good for car sickness, liver disease, menstrual cramps, athlete's foot and as an anti-inflammatory for arthritis, asthma and eczema. See more info under Turmeric (below).
Note: This herb thins the blood, so do not take it if you are on a blood thinner like Coumadin.
Cysteine: Best Food Sources -- Eggs, meat, dairy and some cereals. Most often used for: Radiation damage, liver damage due to drugs, alcohol or smoking, hardening of the arteries, promotes healing after surgery or with burns, helps iron to be absorbed into the system and helps in lung diseases such as bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and emphysema.
Note: Diabetics should avoid taking this as a supplement, as it may inactivate insulin, making insulin unavailable.
Ginkgo Biloba: Best Food Sources: The Ginkgo leaves and seeds in capsule, tincture or infusion form. Most often used for: Increasing memory and circulation to the head, asthma, wheezing, urinary incontinence, vaginal discharges, thinning mucous and for excessive urination.
Note: This herb thins the blood, so do not take it if you are on a blood thinner like Coumadin.
Glutathione: Best Food Sources -- There are none, but sulfur foods (cruciferous vegetables), N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), lipoic acid and bioactive whey protein (also called denatured whey protein) are pre-cursors. Glutathione is a protein produced by the liver and can be purchased in supplement form -- look for L-Glutathione. Most often used for: Defending the body against cigarette smoke, alcohol, chemotherapy and radiation damage, helps detoxify heavy metals, is used in anti-aging, and is good for blood and liver disorders.
Note: Avoid most glutathione supplements. Try liposomal glutathione or acetyl glutathione for better absorption.
Green Tea: Best Food Sources -- The green tea leaves themselves. Most often used for: Fluoride supplement, stomach and skin cancers, insect bites, immune system booster, hepatitis, high triglycerides, and Crohn's disease.
Mangosteen: Best Food Sources -- The mangosteen fruit, organic mangosteen juice. Most often used for: general health.
Melatonin: Best Food Sources -- There are none. Melatonin is a substance produced by the pineal gland. It can be obtained through glandular form or pill form. The best dose seems to be 1-2 mcg. Larger doses do not work well. Those people over the age of 40 produce less melatonin so they sleep less. To nourish the pineal gland, the Nikken Sleep Mask and sublingual melatonin may help. Most often used for: Insomnia, jet lag, glaucoma, tinnitus, and as an immune regulator for reproductive forms of cancer (prostate, uterine and breast).
Oligomeric Proanthocyanidins (OPCs, Pycnogenol): Fifty times more potent than Vitamin E and twenty times more potent than Vitamin C. Best Food Sources- - Pine bark and Grape Seeds. Most often used for: Reducing histamine production for allergies and inflammation, and for heart disease.
Olive Leaf: Best Food Sources -- Olive leaf capsules, tinctures and infusions. Most often used for: Lowering blood pressure by helping circulation, mild diuretic, bladder infections, diabetes (lowers blood sugar) and mild external abrasions.
Omega-3 EFAs: Best Food Sources -- Wild salmon, nuts/seeds. Have many health benefits for arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, etc.
Pycnogenol: Best Food Source -- Pine bark, Grape seeds. Most often used for: Prevention of free-radical damage and as an anti-inflammatory for allergic reactions.
Selenium (Se): Best Food Sources -- Parsley, blackstrap molasses, mushrooms, nuts, salmon and other seafood, sesame seeds, vegetables, wheat germ, chicken, nettles, yarrow, raspberry leaf, garlic and whole grains. Most often used for: Immune system stimulation, asthma, thyroid disease, heart disease, high cholesterol, cancer, liver diseases, and macular degeneration (Standard Process™ brand Chezyn® contains chelated zinc, copper and selenium in a natural food-based formula).
Superoxide Dismutase (SOD): Best Food Sources -- Barley Greens, barley grass, broccoli, wheat grass, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and most green vegetables. Most often used for: anti-aging. SOD is a free-radical scavenger enzyme that revitalizes cells and reduces the rate of cellular destruction.
Sweet Potatoes: provide a large amount of Vitamin A along with important nutrients such as vitamins C and B6, calcium, potassium, and fiber. But sweet potatoes have more of these nutrients.
Other orange vegetables are nutrient-rich and packed with phytochemicals as well. Carrots are famously high in vitamin A, while butternut and acorn squash are tops in vitamins A and C.
Turmeric: Containing high amounts of curcumin and used for centuries as an anti-inflammatory and detoxifier/cleanser. The roots (rhizomes) are used in curry and all kinds of dishes. It's been studied for it's anti-cancer, tumor suppressing properties as well as its antioxidant ability. Because of its bitter qualities it is a good liver protectant. Over 5000 papers have been written on curcumin with studies of it being used as an anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal and anticancer properties associated with diseases such as diabetes, allergies, arthritis and Alzheimer's disease.
Vitamin A (Retinol): This is true (active) Vitamin A. Best Food Sources -- Beef liver (grass-fed), unprocessed cod liver oil; Supplements: Desiccated liver; Standard Process Cataplex A®. Most often used for: Immune booster, eye problems of all kinds such as night blindness and dry eye, acne and many other types of skin disease, sinusitis and reproductive difficulties.
Carotenes: This is inactive Vitamin A that is supposed to be converted to true Vitamin A in your body, but, it usually isn't. Best Food Sources: Parsley, sweet potatoes, watermelon, nettle leaf, broccoli, carrots, dark leafy greens, eggs. Supplements: Avoid Vitamin A carotene supplements -- they're synthetic and they're not true Vitamin A! Most often used for: Immune booster, eye problems of all kinds such as night blindness and dry eye, acne and many other types of skin disease, sinusitis and reproductive difficulties.
Vitamin C: Best Food Sources -- Broccoli, strawberries, citrus fruits, rose hips, fresh fruits and vegetables of all kinds, parsley, and nettles. Whole food source supplements: Camu camu is the best; also, acerola cherry; Cataplex C®. Most often used for: Respiratory infections, bleeding gums and other dental problems, bruising, eye diseases of all kinds, and for people who smoke (because smoking really uses up a lot of Vitamin C).
Please Note: Ascorbic acid is not Vitamin C! Ascorbic acid is a component of Vitamin C. Also, most ascorbic acid supplements are synthetic, made with GMO corn!
Vitamin E: Best Food Sources -- Wheat germ, eggs, nuts, leafy green vegetables, wild salmon, and berries. Most often used for: Heart diseases of all kinds, reproductive problems and diseases, allergies and other immune dysfunctions, arthritis, and for pregnancy (prevents pre-mature delivery).
Please Note: Alpha tocopherol is not Vitamin E! It is a component of Vitamin E, which consists of 4 tocopherols and 4 tocotrienols.
Wild Salmon: This cold-water fish is a super food with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds (e. g. Omega-3 EFAs, astaxanthin, selenium, Vitamin E), other nutrients (e. g. biotin, potassium, Vitamins A, B-6, B-12), and quality protein to support blood glucose stabilization and cell/tissue repair.
Zinc: Next to magnesium, this may be the most common mineral deficiency as well as the most common antioxidant deficiency. Best Food Sources: Raw, hulled pumpkin seeds and other nuts, oatmeal, eggs, parsley, wheat germ and Standard Process™ brand Chezyn®. Most often used for: Prostate health and benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH), healthy immune function, impotence, menopause and perimenopausal health, hormone balancing, memory, skin disease, pancreas and thyroid health, macular degeneration and other eye disorders, and bowel dysfunction.
Note: For more information about antioxidants, food sources, and nutritional supplements, get the DTD Nutritional Supplements and Super Food -- Brand Names ebook.
Be proactive and prevent the onset of diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems by getting one or more of the following author's books, which address inflammation, oxidation, toxic load, etc.:
- ^ Ferrero-Miliani L, Nielsen OH, Andersen PS, Girardin SE (February 2007). "Chronic inflammation: importance of NOD2 and NALP3 in interleukin-1beta generation". Clin. Exp. Immunol. 147 (2): 061127015327006––. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2249.2006.03261.x. PMC 1810472. PMID 17223962. http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?tool=pmcentrez&artid=1810472.
- ^ Abbas A.B.; Lichtman A.H. (2009). "Ch.2 Innate Immunity". Basic Immunology. Functions and disorders of the immune system (3rd ed.). ISBN 978-1-4160-4688-2.
- ^ a b Stedman's Medical Dictionary (Twenty-fifth ed.). Williams & Wilkins. 1990.
- ^ Rather, L. J. (1971). "Disturbance of function (functio laesa): the legendary fifth cardinal sign of inflammation, added by Galen to the four cardinal signs of Celsus". Bull N Y Acad Med 47 (3): 303–322. PMC 1749862. PMID 5276838
- ^ Wiedermann U et al. (1996). "Vitamin A deficiency increases inflammatory responses". Scand J Immunol. 44 (6): 578–584. doi:10.1046/j.1365-3083.1996.d01-351.x. PMID 8972739.
- ^ Hargrave, B. Y.; Tiangco, D. A.; Lattanzio, F. A.; Beebe, S. J. (2003). "Cocaine, not morphine, causes the generation of reactive oxygen species and activation of NF-κB in transiently cotransfected heart cells". Cardiovasc Toxicol 3 (2): 141–151. doi:10.1385/CT:3:2:141. PMID 14501032.
- ^ Montiel-Duarte, C.; Ansorena, E.; López-Zabalza, M. J.; Cenarruzabeitia, E.; Iraburu, M. J. (2004). "Role of reactive oxygen species, glutathione and NF-κB in apoptosis induced by 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine ("Ecstasy") on hepatic stellate cells". Biochem Pharmacol 67 (6): 1025–1033. doi:10.1016/j.bcp.2003.10.020. PMID 15006539.
- ^ Pedersen BK, Hoffman-Goetz L. Exercise and the immune system: regulation, integration, and adaptation. Physiol Rev. 2000 Jul;80(3):1055-81. Review.
- ^ a b Ploeger HE, Takken T, de Greef MH, Timmons BW. The effects of acute and chronic exercise on inflammatory markers in children and adults with a chronic inflammatory disease: a systematic review. Exerc Immunol Rev. 2009;15:6-41. Review.
- ^ Nicklas BJ, Hsu FC, Brinkley TJ, Church T, Goodpaster BH, Kritchevsky SB, Pahor M. . Exercise training and plasma C-reactive protein and interleukin-6 in elderly people. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2008 Nov;56(11):2045-52.
- ^ Timmerman KL, Flynn MG, Coen PM, Markofski MM, Pence BD. Exercise training-induced lowering of inflammatory (CD14+CD16+) monocytes: a role in the anti-inflammatory influence of exercise? J Leukoc Biol. 2008 Nov;84(5):1271-8. Epub 2008 Aug 12.
- ^ Harv Ment Health Lett. 2008 Aug;25(2). Anti-inflammatory drugs may not protect cognitive function
- ^ Rogers J., J Periodontol. 2008 Aug;79(8 Suppl):1535-43. The inflammatory response in Alzheimer's disease'
- ^ Sano M, Grossman H, Van Dyk K, CNS Drugs. 2008;22(11):887-902, Preventing Alzheimer's disease : separating fact from fiction.
- ^ http://www.drweil.com/drw/ecs/pyramid/press-foodpyramid.html
- ^ http://www.naturalantiinflammatory.org/anti-inflammatory-foods.html
- ^ Hyman, Mark: "Ultra-Metabolism", page 137. Scribner, 2006
- ^ http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2010/09/how-fish-oil-fights-inflammation.html
- Anti-Inflammatory Foods: The Complete Guide to Treating Inflammation Through Diet
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