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Volume 20 Issue 2
July/August 2014

Bountiful Berries
Colourful, Juicy-sweet Summer Gifts

Chronic Inflammation: The Overlooked Culprit of Chronic and Degenerative Diseases

Release Your Back With Antigym®

The Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music

Use Your Mind to Control Your Life – Why Clinical Hypnosis Can Help You

The Four Levels of Intuition

Reclaiming One’s Spiritual Self Through Mystery School Traditions


Chronic Inflammation: The Overlooked Culprit of Chronic and Degenerative Diseases
by Ola Awoyomi

According to Statistics Canada (2011), the leading causes of death among men and women in Canada are cancer, heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease, diabetes mellitus (diabetes), Alzheimer’s disease, influenza, and pneumonia and kidney diseases8. Chronic inflammation is the root cause of chronic diseases or conditions from diabetes to arthritis to fibromyalgia. Heart disease, cancer, and dementia are also linked to chronic inflammation6. Inflammation can either be acute or chronic. Many of us are familiar with the signs of acute inflammation: redness, heat, swelling, pain, and loss of functions. Acute inflammation happens as a result of tissue injury from exposure to heat, chemicals, physical trauma or infection by viruses, parasites, bacteria, or fungi4. Acute inflammation occurs for the purpose of tissue repair and healing. Acute inflammation can last from some few hours to days.

Complete acute inflammatory response is meant to be protective. Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, is not protective and can be damaging to the body. Chronic inflammation can occur in the body without showing symptoms and can lead to diseases over time6. Many of the causes of chronic inflammation in the body arise from unhealthy eating and from daily exposure to toxins or waste. You may have heard of the phrase “garbage in, garbage out.” The daily food choices we make can affect our health in a positive or negative way. Pro-inflammatory foods are foods that can cause chronic inflammation in the body.

Pro-inflammatory foods include1

  • Saturated fat, such as those in lard and fatty meats
  • Full-fat dairy products, such as cheese
  • Partially hydrogenated fat or trans-fat found in margarine, chips, cookies, and junk foods
  • Refined sugar or foods containing refined sugar
  • High fructose corn-syrup–containing foods
  • Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame
  • Processed foods

Avoiding pro-inflammatory foods is essential to preventing or managing chronic inflammation in the body. Exposure to environmental toxins in the air or water, tobacco, or cigarettes can also promote chronic inflammation in the body. While it may be challenging to control our daily exposures to environmental toxins such as car exhaust fumes, we can control our daily consumption of anti-inflammatory foods. Anti-inflammatory foods are foods that help to reduce chronic inflammation in our body.

Examples of anti-inflammatory foods include1

  • Omega-3 fatty acids and fish oils: Foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acid include flaxseeds, walnuts, wild-caught fish such as sardines, salmon or tested and contaminants-free fish oil supplements1. Omega-3 fatty acid helps reduce inflammation and relieve pain associated with osteoarthritis4.
  • Tumeric: Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory food that has been found to have pain-relieving properties especially among those who suffer from joint pain, arthritis, stiffness, muscle spasm, and symptoms associated with fibromyalgia5. Turmeric stops inflammation and also reduces nerve-related pain5.
  • Anti-oxidants: these are organic compounds which are found in many bright coloured vegetables such as tomatoes and carrots; leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale, and broccoli; berries such as blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries. Anti-oxidant rich foods protect the body from oxidative stress which promotes chronic inflammation. Oxidative stress occurs when oxygen molecules in the body become unstable leading to the formation of damaging free radicals6. Anti-oxidants help to stabilize or neutralize free radicals in the body6.
  • Curcumin: this is an anti-oxidant extract found in turmeric root which reduces inflammation and has anti-cancer properties3.
  • Co-enzyme Q10: this is an antioxidant for the maintenance of proper cardiovascular function. Co-enzyme Q10 is beneficial to those who suffer from heart disease3.
  • Alpha-lipoic Acid: is a fat and water soluble antioxidant that is naturally produced in the body and can also be found in spinach and broccoli. Alpha-lipoic acid is used therapeutically for diabetes, liver disease, heart disease, and multiple sclerosis3.
  • Green tea: green tea is an anti-oxidant that can help reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, and other diseases.
  • Vitamin C and vitamin E are also good sources of anti-oxidants.

The effect of chronic inflammation is cumulative. It can occur in the body on a daily basis and eventually lead to chronic or degenerative diseases. Remember that whatever abuses our body goes through on a daily basis from unhealthy eating to unhealthy lifestyle practises to exposures to environmental wastes add up. Incorporating anti-inflammatory foods in our diet on a daily basis is a good way to protect our body from chronic inflammation. Avoiding pro-inflammatory foods is also a good way to manage many chronic and degenerative diseases.


  1. Bonnie Minsky. How to reduce inflammation to be healthier. Retrieved from www.wellofcourse.net
  2. Heart and Stroke Foundation. Dietary fats, oils and cholesterol. Retrieved from www.heartandstroke.on.ca
  3. Herbs, Vitamins & Nutraceuticals. Retrieved from www.vitazan.com
  4. Life Extension Foundation for Longer Life. Inflammation. Retrieved from www.lef.org
  5. Natural News. Five natural alternatives for banishing fibromyalgia pain and inflammation. Retrieved from: www.naturalnews.com
  6. Natural News. Reduce inflammation effortlessly by taking these top antioxidants Retrieved from www.naturalnews.com
  7. Stammers T, Sibblad B, Freeling P. Fish oil in osteoarthritis. Lancet. 1989. Aug 26;2(8661):503.
  8. Statistics Canada [2011]. Leading causes of death by sex (both sexes). Retrieved from www.statcan.gc.ca

Ola Awoyomi is a Natural Health Practitioner at Choice Nutrition in Saskatoon. With her education and knowledge in the life sciences and public health, she promotes health through health education and with natural health practices. Her education: B.Sc. (Life Sciences)—McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario; B.A. (Sociology)—McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario; MPH (Master of Public Health)—University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon. Ola is Certified in Live Blood Analysis and Integrative Microscopy and practises at Choice Nutrition in Saskatoon. For contact information, see the Choice Nutrition Directory of Services ad on page 25 of the 20.2 July/August issue of the WHOLifE Journal.


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