Friday, October 3, 2008

Nutrition and Inflammation

Inflammation is the process by which the body's white blood cells and chemicals attempt to protect us.  When we sprain an ankle and tear soft tissue inflammation occurs to set in motion the healing process and clean up the debris.  To reduce inflammation right away we ice it as the body tends to overreact and inflames too much.  Diet plays a key role in this inflammation.  A diet rich in processed foods, sugar, grains, grain fed meats, and dairy cause the inflammation process to react at a much higher degree than diets high in vegetable, fruits, and omega-3 rich foods.  Eating a diet high in vegetables, fruits, and omega-3 will reduce healing time as the amount and duration of inflammation will be decreased not too mention the pain process will be diminished.  Omega-3 for anti-inflammation can be found in both plant and animal based forms such as flaxseed for the former and cold water fish for the latter.  Eating a diet high in omega-3 will reduce inflammation thoughtout the body and reduce pain associated with inflammation.  For those patients with chronic inflammation and pain it is imperative to increase the omega-3 in the diet and reduce foods that cause inflammation as mentioned above.  For the athlete (anyone who is active in any sport) it is also recommended eating a diet low in the foods that promote inflammation and high in those that reduce inflammation. Injuries occur and it is best to have the environment set up before hand to be able to deal with the injury in the most efficient manner.