Inflammation is a process in the body that is now believed by medical experts to be involved in all known disease processes from heart disease to cancer to Alzheimer’s disease. Most of you will have experienced inflammation before. Have you ever got a splinter in your finger? It got red and swollen, it may have bled a little and it was certainly hot and painful – all the classic signs of inflammation. Now inflammation is actually a normal response to an injury like this and it serves us well. It helps to kill bacteria, parasites and viruses that try to invade us and this inflammation keeps us healthy. This type of inflammation usually demonstrates a 100 fold increase in immune system markers, such as white blood cells and cytokines like IL-6, TNF alpha, or C reactive protein (CRP).
However there is another, darker inflammatory response that happens in the body – what Dr Barry Sears calls “Silent Inflammation”. This type of inflammation doesn’t elicit the pain, swelling, redness and heat associated with classic inflammation and may only demonstrate a 4-5 fold increase in immune system markers – so can often be hard to detect. It can take years or even decades to develop and slowly but surely damages DNA and leads to disease. Unfortunately modern medicine is not very good at treating this type of silent inflammation. It is the result of poor lifestyle choices and changing lifestyle and nutrition is a much better tactic than using anti-inflammatory drugs.
The causes of silent inflammation are multi factorial:
- Over nutrition
- Excess alcohol
- Poor diet
- Poor sleep
- Stress / depression
- Drug use
Here is a short inflammation questionnaire developed by Dr Barry Sears
- Are you overweight?
- Are you taking cholesterol medication?
- Are you taking blood pressure medications?
- Do you wake feeling groggy each day?
- Do you get carbohydrate cravings?
- Do you suffer from fatigue?
- Dou you have brittle nails?
If you answered YES to 3 or more questions you are likely suffering from Silent Inflammation. One of the primary sources of silent inflammation in the body is excess body fat. Inflammation is also caused by consuming highly processed foods; excess processed fats and a diet heavy in meat and lacking in vegetables (as per alkalising). Therefore lose weight and eat as per you should to alkalise. Also consume foods such as fish and fish oils rich in omega 3 fats; onions, berries, apples, tea and wine for the nutrient quercitin; and turmeric, ginger and garlic – all great anti-inflammatory foods.