Archive for June, 2011

Dealing with Inflammation

Treating Inflammation

Exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle can sometimes help reduce inflammation.

While everyone’s body is different, we usually respond to inflammation in the same type of way. We just don’t feel well. Some of us experience pain, swelling, or redness. Others experience inflammation with more flu-like symptoms. When inflammation occurs, it’s usually an indication that there’s something foreign in our bodies. However, if you suffer from a condition like asthma, arthritis, allergies, or an autoimmune disorder, inflammation is just a normal part of the problem.

Now, treating inflammation can be just as varied as the symptoms it produces. Typically, inflammation can be dealt with in the following manners:

  • Healthy lifestyle, including diet and exercise.
  • Medications as prescribed by a healthcare professional
  • Anti-inflammatory supplements
  • Lifestyle changes, specifically avoiding things that aggravate the condition
  • Ice or cool water (for injury-related inflammation or pain management)
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs, such as NSAIDs (aspirin, naproxen, etc.) or ImSAIDs
  • Corticosteroids, like prednisone
  • Herbs, such as willow bark, turmeric, and ginger

Depending on your specific needs or preferences on treatment, you may deal with inflammation using a variety of these methods. The key to treating inflammation is to recognize when it’s happening and then addressing it appropriately. Part of that process is understanding the difference between acute and chronic inflammation.

Acute inflammation is the initial response of the body to harmful stimuli. It usually occurs within a few minutes or hours and gradually fades away or ceases as the harmful stimulus is removed. Redness, swelling, heat, pain, and loss of function are usually the first and classic signs of acute inflammation, but the good news is that these often pass quickly. If they don’t, it’s best to seek out the advice of a medical professional.

Chronic inflammation is prolonged inflammation that can lead to a shift in the type of cells present in a specific area of inflammation. If one suffers from an autoimmune disorder or arthritis, this can be the typical type of inflammation that one experiences. When chronic inflammation occurs, it means that the body is both destroying and healing tissue at the same time.  Over time, damage can be done to your body, especially damage associated with the natural aging process.

The keys to dealing with inflammation, both acute and chronic, is to reduce it naturally.




What is Inflammation?



If you’ve been reading about the effects of antioxidants, the benefits of a healthy diet, or the results of an infection, you’ve probably seen the term inflammation. While inflammation may manifest itself in a variety of ways, it’s important to know exactly what inflammation is and how it may be affecting your body.

First and foremost, inflammation is the process by which your body protects itself from infection. In most cases, that means that white blood cells and chemicals are released in order to fight off foreign substances like bacteria and viruses. When you experience inflammation, it can come in a variety of forms. Some people see redness, swelling, joint pain, joint stiffness, or  more flu-like symptoms like fever, chills, fatigue, headaches, loss of appetite, or muscle stiffness. All of these symptoms are indicators that your body is working to fight off infection, which is a good thing.

Inflammation can be caused by a variety of things. Usually, it’s caused by infection of some sort. However, if you have an auto-immune disease or other medical condition, inflammation can occur more frequently or be misdirected.  Conditions like arthritis, gout, bursitis, asthma, or polymyalgia rheumatica can also produce more frequent or misdirected occurrences of inflammation. Injuries, burns, frostbite, or trauma can also cause inflammation. Even allergies can cause inflammation!

When any of these conditions experience inflammation, the results can range from mildly annoying to deadly. For example, inflammation of the bronchial tubes may cause an asthma attack. Inflammation of the kidneys may cause high blood pressure or kidney failure. Inflammation of the large intestine may cause cramping or diarrhea.

Inflammation is good for us when we’re experiencing an infection caused by an outside substance, like bacteria or viruses. However, for many people, inflammation is just one of the side effects of arthritis, asthma, or another medical condition.

In our next post, we’ll talk a little bit more about inflammation and how it is best treated.


A Gluten-Free Lifestyle Doesn’t Have to Be Flavorless

Gluten Free Diet

Gluten-Free Doesn't Mean Flavorless!

Anyone who is already on a gluten-free diet already knows that there are plenty of options when it comes to food.  While gluten is in so many of the things we come in contact with, limiting our gluten exposure can be simple with the right dietary choices. Today, there are countless cookbooks, restaurants, and food aisles filled with gluten-free foods, but the million dollar question is: does a gluten-free diet actually good? The answer is yes!

At, we’re well acquainted with a gluten-free diet. While we may not enjoy wheat products, we can still take advantage of many wonderful foods that everyone can enjoy. Take fresh fruits and vegetables for example. There’s nothing more delicious than a crisp summer salad or a refreshing bowl of fruit with breakfast. All of these things are gluten-free and incredibly tasty, so don’t think that you’re limited on variety. Gluten-free diets still mean that you can enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein, dairy products, fish, potatoes, rice, millet, quinoa, buckwheat, chia seed, teff, soybeans, nuts, gram flour, lupin, chocolate…the list goes on and on!

Now when it comes to gluten-free products, it’s all a matter of preference. Some people prefer a particular brand of gluten-free cracker or gluten-free cereal. Others look for certain ingredients. The key to finding a flavorful and happy medium in a gluten-free diet is to try new things and see what you like best. Ready-to-eat meals, pastas, flours, cereals, snacks, cookies…the list of gluten-free foods available in any grocery or health food store is very long. The great news is that gluten-free products have come quite a long way. Instead of tough or tasteless baked goods and breads, gluten-free products are now just as delicious as their wheat-containing varieties – and that’s something that’s important to remember.

If you’ve ever gotten the impression that a gluten-free diet is tasteless or flavorless, think again! Professional chefs, celebrity gourmets, food blogs, and even The New York Times have indicated that gluten-free diets can be flavorful, delicious, and nutritious!

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