Inflammation

Inflammation is in important topic for me, like roughly 54 million other people in the US, I have arthritis. More specifically, I have osteoarthritis, which affects roughly 30 million Americans. According to the World Health Organization (WHO),

  • “Worldwide estimates are that 9.6% of men and 18.0% of women aged over 60 years have symptomatic osteoarthritis.
  • 80% of those with osteoarthritis will have limitations in movement, and 25% cannot perform their major daily activities of life.”

This is something that I will continue, like everyone else in this camp, to maintain for the rest of my life.

We all have inflammation. It is the body’s defense mechanism to protect us from infections and injury. What typically happens, is our inflammation ebbs and flows with the different situations we all find ourselves in. It seems the long lasting way of looking at it was a natural state, but increasing research shows it is actually the harbinger of bigger problems. It is thought inflammation may be what drives cancer to grow, it certainly is what causes a host of illnesses.

Many people believe there are foods that promote inflammation, must commonly believed are foods in the nightshade family, such as tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, bell and chili peppers, which are in the solanaceae family. Yet for some people they do not aggravate inflammation and the American Arthritis Foundation states they do not cause inflammation. Many people swear by the Mediterranean Diet, which is a proponent of eating tomatoes and eggplant.  I don’t claim to have an answer to that debate, but I will say from experience that I do feel a change when I eat a lot of nightshades, so I eat them sparingly and pay close attention to what my body tells me after eating them.

Other foods contain solanines that don’t fall into the nightshade family, including goji berries and blueberries. But we find that the other beneficial properties of these foods outweigh the small amount of solanines they contain, and balance is the key to maintaining equilibrium.

The number one cause of inflammation is sugar.

You read that right. Sugar not only affects your dopamine levels (it’s highly addictive that way), but it causes inflammation. On the list are also simple carbohydrates and alcohol. Both of those things are basically sugar as far as your body is concerned.

If you suffer from arthritis you are acutely aware of your inflammation, if you’re lucky enough not to be affected by it, you should still be aware of reducing inflammation in your system, it could save your life.

 

Additional resources

https://www.arthritis.org/Documents/Sections/About-Arthritis/arthritis-facts-stats-figures.pdf

https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/Inflammation_A_unifying_theory_of_disease

https://www.britannica.com/science/inflammation

https://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/arthritis-diet/foods-to-avoid-limit/food-ingredients-and-inflammation-2.php

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