Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Inflammation and Its Effect on Ageing and Skin Condition

Inflammation is part of the complex biological response of vascular tissues to harmful stimuli, such as pathogens, damaged cells, or irritants.

Inflammation is a protective measure made by the organism to remove pathogen and initiate the healing process. The symptoms of inflammation include redness, heat, swelling, pain, and dysfunction of the organs involved. Heat is a very important symptom of inflammation.

Many pathogens can only exist and thrive at a specific temperature range. By raising the temperature of the infected area, the body is hoping to destroy it. Inflammation is a stereotyped response and considered a part of the body’s innate immunity, opposed to adaptive immunity, which is specific for each pathogen.

Without inflammation, wound and infections would never heal. But inflammation in excess amounts can compromise the survival of the organism. Chronic inflammation can lead to many other diseases, such as hay fever, atherosclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and even cancer (gallbladder carcinoma).

Inflammation can be classified as either acute or chronic. Acute inflammation is the initial response of the body to harmful stimuli and is achieved by the increased movement of plasma and white blood cells from the blood into the injured tissues. Prolonged inflammation, known as chronic inflammation, leads to a progressive shift in the type of cells present at the site of inflammation and is characterized by simultaneous destruction and healing of the tissue from the inflammatory process.

Inflammation seems to underlie many of the world’s leading chronic illnesses, including diabetes, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s and heart attack.

Ageing:

Changing levels of oestrogen, progesterone, and testosterone have a role to play in age-related inflammation. It appears that a decrease in oestrogen corresponds with a rise in the cytokines interleukin-1 and interleukin-6. This changes the rate at which new bone is formed, a leading indicator of osteoporosis.

It is believed that before menopause the balance of hormones has a calming effect on inflammation, but hormones work on so many levels that it is difficult to identify the exact process. What is known is that symptoms of chronic inflammation often become more apparent during and after menopause. The hormonal changes leading up to menopause also contribute to weight gain And there is clear evidence that extra fat cells, especially around the middle of the body, add to systemic inflammation by creating extra cytokines (protein molecules) to the system.

Skin Condition:

Acne

In the basic chain of events that leads to acne inflammation, the oil glands will begin to produce excess oil, normally stimulated by stress or hormones, which will mix with dead skin on the surface of the complexion to clog the pores. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the p. acnes bacteria will enter the scene by triggering infection, leading to irritation and inflammation around the acne lesion. This acne inflammation is exhibited in symptoms of swelling, redness, discomfort, and warmth, and it is actually the result of your immune system naturally fighting against a foreign invader. In essence, inflammation is necessary to keep your skin protected from outside damage, but you can stop these painful problems before they start by attacking your inflammatory acne at its source.

An anti-inflammatory diet would include anything high in antioxidants such as berries and dark green leafy vegetables. Essential fatty acids are also anti-inflammatory. Certain types of fish, like salmon and tuna, are high in omega 3 fatty acids. You should also stop eating, or at least cut back on, foods that raise your blood sugar quickly because when your blood sugar rises too fast your body will produce too much insulin (to bring your sugar back down again). And this in turn will cause inflammation. So it is important to avoid that contains a lot of refined sugar; examples include candy, soda, ice cream, and artificially sweetened fruit juices. Also in the pro-inflammatory category are foods made with white flour, like white bread, pasta, and pastries.

The symptoms of rosacea include patchy skin, flushing, redness, and inflammation, particularly on the cheeks, nose, forehead, and around the mouth. The nervous and circulatory systems of the face are unique and provide numerous triggers for inflammation.  Emotional blushing is a common trait among those who progress to rosacea, even though this type of vasodilatation is not easily observed with some facial characteristics.  Thus, many people with rosacea claim to have never flushed before their first outbreak, but tests of skin circulation indicate that these individuals had skin types that prohibited display of the blushing.  The face is also adapted to control brain temperature, so changes in body temperature, physical activity, etc. can also trigger flushing.

Cellulite

Inflammation is the body’s signal for repair. Chronic inflammation, however, has a negative effect on the body. The substances the body releases to control inflammation can cause free-radical damage and cell wall deterioration. A cellulite-preventive diet should include plenty of vegetables, beans and fruits to prevent and reduce inflammation. Eat foods containing the anti-inflammatory acid, such as broccoli, spinach, lettuce, peas and beans. Generally, the best anti-inflammatory foods include cold-water fish, olive oil, tofu, soy cheese, seeds (flax and hemp) and nuts.