PAIN AND INFLAMMATION

Most individuals are aware of the inflammatory response that occurs after injury. Let’s say you fall and twist your ankle; you feel immediate pain, the area around your ankle begins to swell and it is tender to the touch. That swelling and inflammation that occurs is your body’s natural protective mechanism that will moderate the repair of the tissues around the injury and protect surrounding tissue from further damage. The old acronym RICE is applied; rest, ice, compression and elevation. The swelling will subside and the pain will go away. However, most are probably unaware that there is also an inflammatory response produced by the food that we eat and that many bodily ailments from musculosketeletal aches and pains to heart disease are a product of that inflammatory response. The typical American diet with high amounts of refined carbohydrates and “unhealthy” fats is a biochemical contributor to that process.

The regulation of the inflammatory process is under the control of hormones, such as prostoglandins and leukotrienes which are biochemically influenced by the food choices that we make.  These foods either creating a “pro-inflammatory” (too much inflammation) or and “anti-inflammatory” (reducing inflammation) state in the body.  A diet rich in lean protein, fish, vegetables, fruits and nuts create an anti-inflammatory state through regulation of the Omega -3 pathways in the body. Fish oils, green leafy vegetables and nuts are the best way to come by these nutrients.

For more information see http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/PAG00361/anti-inflammatory-food-pyramid.html