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Protecting yourself from any illness: Immunity and Inflammation

Protecting yourself from any illness: Immunity and Inflammation

In continuation to our last post regarding the importance of immunity, “This is how you protect yourself from any illness” we continue with the correlation between immunity and inflammation.

Inflammation is the body’s response to protect itself from injuries and infections, and immunity is the body’s resistance to disease.  Inflammation is one part of the immune response to heal a wound.

Inflammation is a mixture of biological responses to a harmful stimulus to initiate the healing process. The first sign of inflammation is irritation and then the healing starts, followed by suppuration where the discharge of pus takes place. The last response is called the granulation stage where wounds are formed.

Inflammation is a part of innate immunity. Innate immunity is one which is naturally present in our body, while adaptive immunity is the immunity which is gained artificially by vaccines.

The two types of Inflammation:

1. Acute inflammation: Acute inflammation is one that occurs immediately. There are five signs of acute inflammation:

  • Pain
  • Heat
  • Redness
  • Immobility
  • Swelling

2. Chronic inflammation: Chronic inflammation occurs over a long period of time and causes several diseases like cancers, arthritis, hay fever, and atherosclerosis.

Three phases of inflammation in healing

  1. Acute Inflammatory phase: In this phase the acute vascular inflammatory response starts immediately after the injury occurs and lasts 3-5 days. Here, the signs and symptoms are pain, warmth and swelling which occurs to increase the blood flow to the injured area in order to start the healing process. The damaged cells are removed.
  2. Repair and Regeneration: The duration of this phase is 2 days to 8 weeks. Here, the symptoms are less warmth and swelling, stretching the tissue causes pain. The collagen is laid to replace the damaged tissue in an unorganised manner where weak links are present in between each of them.
  3. Remodelling phase and Maturation phase: In this phase healing increases. Collagen addition is stopped but the reorientation of the collagen fibres takes place in alignment to the stress to resist it and the bond becomes stronger. Here, the strength and movement increases.

LIFESTYLE

Our lifestyle influences inflammation and immunity to a great extent. The food we eat, the movement we indulge in and the stress that we deal with, all affect our susceptibility to illnesses and the level of our healing. Therefore, the good news is that we can control this to a great extent. Our health is in our hands!

Relation between inflammation and acidity and alkalinity

Acidic foods like coffee, tea, sugar, meat and alcohol increases inflammation, whereas alkaline foods such as apples, apricots, avocados, almonds, bananas and green leafy vegetables decreases inflammation. An alkalinity-acidity balance will help maintain healthy weight and keep inflammation at bay. Refer to the image below to know which foods fall under the acid and alkaline range.

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Relation between inflammation and exercise

Exercise creates an anti-inflammatory effect. Epinephrine and norepinephrine are hormones released during exercising which activates receptors called beta-2 adrenergic receptors present in immune cells and this helps reducing inflammation.

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Relation between inflammation and stress

Psychological and physical stress increases the cortisol level in the body.“Inflammation is partly regulated by the hormone cortisol and when cortisol is not allowed to serve this function, inflammation can get out of control,” said Cohen, the Robert E. Doherty Professor of Psychology within CMU’s Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Therefore in order to reduce inflammation it’s necessary to exercise your mind and body.

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Therefore, we understand that inflammation has both the negative as well as the positive side. Acute inflammation is the body’s response to heal, while chronic inflammation has to be treated because it signifies certain diseases. Exercising, following alkaline and acidic balance and distressing are the keys for maximizing immunity.

To access some free videos on health and nutrition along with meditations and yoga asanas you can follow click HERE. 

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