Inflammation is crucial to healing, essential for our survival, and not necessarily an indication of something gone wrong. It helps protect our bodies from infection and injury, but it can also cause severe damage and contribute to disease when the inflammatory response is inappropriate or excessive. Chronic inflammation has been found to promote cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, obesity, periodontal disease, allergies, asthma, depression and osteoporosis.
The body’s internal pharmacy produces inflammatory and anti-inflammatory products that are distributed throughout the body. Inflammation brings body fluids to a site to provide necessary nutrients and healing substances, and removes waste. The body’s normal healthy inflammatory response should be offset by a normal healthy anti-inflammatory response. Inflammation can also be a result of body pollution and toxicity or the result of a ‘skewed response’ that the body/mind is making due to a past association (injury). Toxic chemicals contained in personal care, household and laundry products can cause chronic inflammation, in part due to your body’s attempt to remove them. Resolving body pollution and reprogramming the body’s faulty responses can help remedy these types of inflammation. Inflammation produces free radicals.
Inflammation – the diet factor – fats:
The body requires a mix of both saturated and unsaturated fats in the diet to be healthy. Omega-6s are pro-inflammatory, while Omega-3s have an anti-inflammatory effect (1). It isn’t a matter of one is “good” and the other is “bad.” Each fat performs distinct biological functions and offer their own unique health benefits. You need a mix of plant and animal-derived fats for optimal health.
For healthy, symptom free longevity, it is important to have a balance of healthy fats including essential fats in our diet. The ideal recommended ratio is 2:1 of omega 6’s to 3’s instead of the standard American diet which is more like 20:1! The need for essential fatty acids (EFA) will vary for everyone, depending on age, health status and other factors. People eat much less Omega-3, but they are eating large amounts of processed seed and vegetable oils, which are loaded with Omega-6. Large body fat stores of Omega-6 fatty acids are a part of the overall body pollution with resulting symptoms and it can take years to get rid of them.
Omega-3’s, with the anti-inflammatory effect, plays an important role in brain function as well as in growth and development. They are highly concentrated in the brain and appear to be important for memory and performance. They are found abundantly in flax, fish such as salmon and walnuts. The best and healthiest way to increase your Omega-3 intake is to eat seafood once or twice per week. Fatty fish like salmon is a particularly good source. Wild caught fish is best, but even farmed is better than no fish at all. Plant sources of Omega-3, like flax and chia seeds contain a type of Omega-3 called ALA. Humans are inefficient converters of ALA into the active forms, EPA and DHA.
The standard American diet is excessively high in Omega 6’s as a result of grain fed meat and processed oils such as corn oil, safflower oil, cottonseed oil, peanut and soybean oil, which are primarily 6’s and found in many processed foods. Processed foods also contain high amounts of unhealthy partially hydrogenated oils and trans fats.
Animals are usually fed grain-based feeds with soy and corn which reduces the Omega-3 content, so the polyunsaturated fats in the meat are mostly Omega-6. Some conventionally raised meats like chicken and pork are particularly high in Omega-6. To bring your intake of Omega-6 down as much as possible choose the leaner portions of those meats. Grass fed meat is a healthier choice. Buy pastured or Omega-3 enriched eggs, which are much higher in Omega-3 compared to eggs from hens that were fed grain-based feeds.
Inflammation in the brain:
A high Omega-6 intake is associated with violence and depression, possibly due to the inflammation that it causes throughout the body, while Omega-3s reduces inflammation, linked to almost all brain problems like autism, ADHD, Alzheimer’s, depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
David Perlmutter, M.D., F.A.C.N., is a board-certified neurologist and fellow of the American College of Nutrition, author of the Grain Brain. In his book Dr. Perlmutter aims to expose the surprising truth about wheat, carbs, and sugar – your brain’s silent killers. Dr. Perlmutter advocates a gluten free, sugar free and low carbohydrate diet for disease prevention including dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Essential Oils for Inflammation:
Essential oils are a safer option for symptom relief, including inflammation and pain, to over the counter and prescribed medication which comes with potentially harmful side effects.
Frankincense is considered the best essential oil to handle inflammation both topically, internally and diffused. Research shows that it can actually cross the blood brain barrier. Melaleuca, eucalyptus, oregano and soothing blend are also recommended for inflammation. For pain associated with inflammation deep blue, peppermint and marjoram are recommended. Use only 100% pure third party certified essential oils for therapeutic use. Learn more about managing inflammation contacting me
Elisabeth Hines, C.N.C.C.B.P., Holistic Wellness Practitioner, www.mybodycanhealitself.ca
The Ultra Mind Solution, Mark Hyman, M.D., SCRIBNER, A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020
 J. South, America’s Inflammation Epidemic. The new “plague” of our times. Vit Res News. November 2006; 2011.