What is Inflammation?
Inflammation is your own body's defense mechanism. The process usually happens when there is an injury or infection from bacteria, virus or other organisms. During the inflammation process, the white blood cells try to protect your body by attacking the foreign organisms.
There are two types of inflammation, acute and chronic inflammation.
Acute Inflammation happens when your body is infected by foreign microorganisms. In order to fight against this infection, the body's immune system triggers acute inflammation. Acute inflammation is a short-term process. Once the infection is gone, the body reduces the releases of pro-inflammatory agents. The inflammation process will be reduced accordingly. This will prevent further damage to the body.
When acute inflammation lasts longer than it is supposed to be, it becomes chronic inflammation. It is a sign that the body struggles to fight off the infection.
Unlike acute inflammation, chronic inflammation is not part of the body's healing process. In fact, this type of inflammation has been associated with many diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer's, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and premature ageing skin.
Why Inflammation is Important for Your Body?
The inflammation process is very important as it is a crucial part of your immune system. Without the ability to trigger acute inflammation, your body will not be able to fight against external aggressors.
When the body reduces the releases of pro-inflammatory agents, the body is in the recovery mode. As part of the body's recovery process, various growth factors will be released to renew the damaged cells and tissues.
When Inflammation is Not Good for Your Body?
There are certain conditions that trigger a chronic inflammation such as in cancer, alzheimer's, psoriasis, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis and premature ageing.
In the case of psoriasis, the body's own T cells attack the healthy skin cells that cause the acceleration of skin cells production.
Foods That Trigger Inflammation
According to Harvard Medical School, these following foods can trigger inflammation in your body:
- Refined sugar or carbohydrates
- Fried foods
- Red meat and processed meat
- Margarine, shortening and lard
These foods cause inflammation in your body through the formation of free radicals that trigger oxidative stress in your body. As a respond, your immune system triggers the inflammation.
By limiting the consumption of foods that trigger inflammation, it helps reduce the risk for many diseases. Most importantly, it will improve your general health and quality of life.
Anti-Inflammatory Foods That Reduce and Prevent Inflammation
Foods that are high in antioxidants and polyphenols like a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and fatty fish, help prevent inflammation in your body.
Antioxidants and polyphenols have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, therefore, they help prevent oxidative stress and inflammation in your body.
According to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), these are the top 20 anti-inflammatory foods:
- Dried small red bean
- Wild blueberry
- Dried red kidney bean
- Pinto bean
- Cultivated blueberry
- Red Delicious apple
- Granny Smith apple
- Sweet cherry
- Black plum
- Russet potato
- Dried black bean
- Gala apple
Antioxidants in Skincare Products
Many antioxidants are used in the skincare formulation. My favourite are Rose extract and 24-karat Colloidal Gold. Numerous studies showed that Rose extract contains many antioxidants and polyphenols that help neutralise free radicals. While many other studies suggested that colloidal gold has excellent antioxidant properties too. Rose extract is the main ingredient in Rose & Cacay Hydrating Serum Cream while 24-karat Colloidal Gold is the main ingredient in 24k Gold & Rosehip Rejuvenating Cream.
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Sources: Foods that fight inflammation, Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School; Antioxidant properties of gold nanoparticles studied by ESR spectroscopy, Russian Chemical Bulletin, 57(3):520-523, March 2008; Antioxidant properties of rose extract (Rosa villosa L.) measured using electrochemical and UV/Vis spectrophotometric methods, International Journal of Electrochemical Science, 12 (2017) 10994 – 11005, doi: 10.20964/2017.11.72.