22 February, 2012 04:26

From The Washington Post

Fighting chronic inflammation

Vegetarian Times, “Tame the Flame Within,” March

When you sustain an injury, your body sends a host of white blood cells to repair the damaged tissue, which can become red and swollen; then there is chronic inflammation where a variety of triggers cause your immune system to go into overdrive.

“What makes low-grade inflammation deadly is that it can operate in stealth mode for years until it reveals itself as a heart disease or stroke,” according to Christopher Cannon, a cardiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

Chronic inflammation is also associated with diabetes, arthritis and lupus.

According to nurse Monica Reinagel, “a major player is a diet that is more pro-inflammatory than anti-inflammatory.” To minimize inflammation, dietitian Matthew Kadey suggests avoiding trans fats, sugary drinks and fruits grown using pesticides; instead, choose inflammation-fighting foods, such as extra virgin olive oil, whole grains and dark leafy greens, as well as turmeric, hemp seeds and ginger.

Another potential cause of inflammation is a food intolerance, such as to gluten or lactose, because the body perceives these as foreign invaders that the immune system must fight off. If you feel sensitive to certain foods, Kadey recommends removing them from your diet for at least two weeks to see if you notice a decrease in inflammation.

— Whitney Fetterhoff

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