· By Kaya Turner
Why inflammation is the root of most health concerns
Why inflammation is at the root of most health concerns
No doubt you’ve heard about the negative impacts of inflammation and how certain foods are beneficial due to their ‘anti-inflammatory’ status. The term inflammation is vast and vague, so this blog hopes to answer any questions you may have about what exactly inflammation is and discuss some of the health issues that can arise as a result of it.
What is inflammation?
Generally, inflammation has a bad reputation, but it actually plays a vital role in the healing process. When our immune system detects harm (a virus or physical injury) it launches a biological response in order to defend the body. For example, if you burn your finger on the hob it will turn red and swell up; this is acute inflammation and is actually a necessary process that works to remove dead cells and foreign microorganisms, preventing infection and hastening wound healing. Similar developments occur when we suffer a viral infection.
If the body continues to trigger inflammation responses when there is no longer an injury or virus present it becomes what is known as chronic inflammation. Our immune system essentially turns against us; chronic inflammation can result in more serious diseases and long-term health conditions. Often, the exact cause of chronic inflammation can be difficult to determine although there are some lifestyle factors that can make us more susceptible to chronic inflammation.
What triggers chronic inflammation?
Inflammation can occur as a reaction to toxins. In most circumstances the body detoxes itself sufficiently; the liver and kidneys work hard to expel unwanted substances. However, prolonged exposure to toxins can trigger chemical reactions in the body that lead to chronic inflammation. Often, this is a result of the following:
* Ultra-processed foods
* Food and drink that is high in sugar and fat
* Foods lacking adequate fibre
* Smoking / vaping
* Drinking alcohol
* Lack of sleep
* Overexposure to certain chemicals found in cleaning products or cosmetics
* Exposure to a virus or bacteria
Health issues attributed to inflammation
What’s confusing is that inflammation is both a symptom and a cause of numerous chronic health problems. In many cases, it is something foreign that initially triggers the inflammation - such as the aforementioned lifestyle factors. However, if the original cause is taken out of the picture and inflammation continues to remain, it is then the inflammation that requires treatment.
Chronic inflammation is to account for more than half of deaths worldwide. Below is a short discussion on the three most deadly health conditions and how they can be linked to chronic inflammation…
1. Heart disease
Research shows that high levels of inflammation are associated with an increased risk of heart attacks. Unhealthy lifestyle habits can lead to a build-up of plaque within our arteries. The unwanted build-up triggers an inflammatory response and the body tries to defend itself by walling off the plaque from flowing blood. There is always a chance that this wall may rupture and the plaque is then released into the blood, forming a clot. This is how the majority of heart attacks occur.
German physician, Rudolf Virchow, was the first to explore the relationship between inflammation and cancer. He hypothesised that cancer originates at places in the body where there is chronic inflammation. Over 100 years later and this theory has since been supported by most scientists and doctors, with recent research suggesting that inflammation creates the ideal environment for tumours to grow.
3. Lung diseases
Environmental pollutants and lifestyle choices such as smoking can trigger inflammation in the lungs. Persistent inflammation can cause lung congestion, making it difficult to clear mucus and get enough oxygen. This only exacerbates the inflammation, and can eventually cause chronic lung diseases. Data also suggests that there is an underlying link between lung inflammation and heart disease; chronic inflammation of the lungs can thus lead to further problems with the heart.
What Hippie Turtle products can help with inflammation?
* Both our Active and Vitality supplement powders are packed with antioxidants that have specific anti-inflammatory properties.
* CBD; When we consume CBD it interacts with our bodies’ endocannabinoid receptors helping to reduce inflammation with the aim of returning the body to its natural state.