Taste Success Wellbeing: Inflammation

Inflammation is a hot topic at the moment, but what is it and why is it so important to understand?

What is Inflammation?
Inflammation is your body’s natural response to injury. It is part of your first line of defence – your innate immune system. 

The signs of inflammation are redness, heat, swelling and pain. We have all experienced inflammation first hand as a child with a scraped knee. 

The role of inflammation is to bring blood, fluid, and specialised cells and chemicals to the area in order to deal with the issue, keep it contained, prevent infection, and activate healing.

In other words, we need inflammation to survive!

So what’s the problem then?
The problem is that the above picture only pertains to acute inflammation, which should last about 8-10 days. Chronic inflammation is a whole different story, and can contribute to major health problems.

Inflammation and Disease
New research is telling us that inflammation contributes to many common, chronic health conditions

This includes:

  • Allergies - eg: hayfever
  • Autoimmune conditions – eg: Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Coeliac Disease,
  • Rheumatoid arthritis, MS, Lupus
  • Cancer
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Early signs of aging - eg: cataracts, wrinkles
  • Heart and Vascular Conditions - eg: hypertension, atherosclerosis, coronary
  • heart disease
  • Joint Conditions – eg: osteoarthritis, tendonitis, strains and sprains
  • Neurodegenerative conditions- eg: Alzheimer’s
  • Skin conditions- eg: eczema, psoriasis
  • Ulcerative colitis, Crohns disease, and other inflammatory gastrointestinal conditions

What can I do about it?
The good news is that the inflammatory cells and compounds react to their environment - which is influenced by your diet and environment. This means you have some control over your body’s inflammatory load!

Check out our 3 Steps to Reducing Inflammation:

Step 1 - Investigate your dinner plate
The foods you eat have a massive effect on your body’s inflammatory load. We want your body to be able to react to injury and illness, and to effectively use inflammation to get you better, fast. We do not want your body constantly having to produce and then mop up inflammation every time you have a meal!

The basic rule of thumb for reducing inflammation is to eat more plants! More specifically, to eat a wide range of dark and brightly coloured plants, every day. Ideally, half your plate of every meal and snack should be plants.

The Taste Success programme supports this as it includes a wide variety of fresh vegetables and plant foods providing you with anti-inflammatory nutrients over the 12-weeks.

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Step 2 – Move your body
For many years, we have known that physical activity helps to lower the risk of several chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.

We now believe that one of the reasons for this is that regular exercise helps to reduce inflammation in the body

Our bodies are meant to move, and movement is meant to be joyful! So don’t just slug it out at the gym if you hate it. Find some way to bring activity into your life that you find fun. Here at Taste Success we love trying new types of physical activity, and encourage our clients to do the same. What kind of activity do you always enjoy?

  • An early morning beach walk with a friend? 
  • A yoga or pilates class? 
  • How about dance or zumba? 
  • Bike riding? 
  • Or do you love the exhilaration of a sweaty gym session? 

There is no right answer, but we bet there is something that you like to do – so get out and do it!

Step 3 – Stress Less
We know, we know, people are always telling you that stress is bad for your health. Well that’s because it is. 

While we can’t obliterate stress from our lives completely, we can learn skills that help us manage it better.

Here are some simple strategies that go a long way to reduce your stress levels and therefore your inflammatory load:

  • Regular yoga – especially restorative and gentle forms like yin yoga
  • Belly breathing – try taking 10 deep belly breaths, twice daily
  • Take 10 minutes – at the start and end of your day to sit in a quiet place and reflect on the day that’s coming and that’s been
  • Listen to your self-talk – turn around the message you’re sending yourself about your stress levels from “I’m too busy” to “Everything will be done in its own time”

So there you have it – the first few tips to reducing the chronic inflammation in your life. If you’d like to address an inflammatory issue in your life and improve your overall health, book in now for your one-to- one session with one of our friendly facilitators.

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Tracey Loughran