The following is a brief overview of the six main underlying causes of inflammation. I am a nutritionist, so my book focuses on healing with food, but the Meals That Heal Inflammation program works best in conjunction with other complementary therapies. No matter what, I always recommend that you consult a physician to ensure a proper diagnosis of your personal symptoms—especially for pain management. Also, consider seeking out the services of a trained physiotherapist, osteopath, chiropractor, rehabilitation personal trainer and/or emotional therapist to get to the root of your pain.
Cellular injury is caused by constant exposure to various irritants such as a chemical or physical agent (for example, radiation, cyanide, asbestos, pesticides, alcohol, drugs and tobacco smoke). Inflammation ensues to heal and protect cells from these toxins.
A pathogenic organism, such as a yeast, fungus, virus, bacterium or other parasite, attacks the body. The immune system responds with inflammation to fight the infection and heal infected tissues.
During an allergic reaction, the immune system overreacts to a substance that may be harmless (such as natural food) or potentially harmful (such as synthetic chemicals) and creates an inflammatory response to protect the body. Immune reactions range from mild rashes to anaphylaxis and, if left unchecked, can contribute to autoimmune diseases.
NUTRITIONAL DEFICIENCY OR EXCESS
Nutritional imbalances may lead to hormone disturbances, a strained immune system and chronic inflammation. A nutritional deficiency of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals deprives the body of the materials required for proper repair. On the other hand, an excess of certain compounds or nutrients can cause an imbalance, which stresses the organs and tissues. Cell injury can be caused by genetic factors, but nutrition and lifestyle choices, as well as other environmental factors, play a key role in determining if and when these factors are expressed.
Inflammation is part of the natural process of repairing cell or tissue damage caused by a physical injury.
The body follows the mind: mental distress can affect human physiology. Elevated adrenaline and cortisol that are released during stress can lead to hormonal imbalance and unresolved inflammation.
Excerpted from Meals That Heal Inflammation by Julie Daniluk, R.H.N. Copyright © 2011 by Daniluk Consulting. Photographs Copyright © 2011 by Julie Daniluk. Excerpted by permission of Random House Canada. All rights reserved.
(ebook also available)
JULIE DANILUK, RHN, hosts Healthy Gourmet, a reality cooking show that airs on OWN (the Oprah Winfrey Network). Julie has appeared on The Dr. Oz Show, The Right Fit and The Marilyn Denis Show. Julie has been a co-operative owner of one of Canada’s largest health food stores, The Big Carrot. She creates one healthy recipe a week for Chatelaine.