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What is inflammation?

by | Sep 13, 2017 | Blog

what is inflammation?


A friend just commented: “I don’t really know what inflammation is.” We were talking about the increasing evidence for depression being an issue of inflammation in the brain. But what is inflammation, exactly?

As I spend a lot of time talking about this, I  thought I should clarify!


So what is inflammation?

Inflammation = redness, heat, swelling and pain


It’s essentially your tissue’s response to anything that’s not quite right. And part of the process that brings your body’s emergency services to the area to repair any damage. Once that’s done, the inflammation should go down.

So, for example:

  • You sprain your ankle.
  • Chemical and electrical alarm bells ring (including pain signals).
  • Your blood brings healing substances to the area.
  • Your ankle swells up and gets hot (inflammation), and your blood vessels dilate so the substances can get to the affected area.
  • The damage heals, new tissue cells are created, and white blood cells munch up the debris.
  • The inflammation calms down and you are pain-free once more.

You have probably seen inflammation with various bumps and scrapes you’ve had over the years. It can happen pretty much anywhere in your body, and is an amazingly clever process.

Chronic inflammation

However, if:

  • a) there’s a persistent irritant, or
  • b) you don’t have enough resources to resolve the initial problem, or
  • c) your body is in long term stress and therefore not responding to anti-inflammatory messages,

you can end up with chronic inflammation. This is long-term, often low-grade, inflammation that doesn’t seem to completely go away. Chronic inflammation underpins pretty much every chronic illness you can think of: heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, cancer… and depression. It can be in your gut, your blood vessels, your lungs, your joints, your brain – actually, usually it’s in your gut PLUS one or more other areas.

Dealing with chronic inflammation

So anti-inflammatories – whether drugs, or nutrients such as curcuminoids in turmeric – may only be part of the solution. There turmericmay also be persistent irritants to address. You may need to ensure your body has enough of the right nutrients to resolve the situation. And/or you may need to add in nutrients and ways of eating that calm your adrenals and other stress mechanisms. In any case, there is LOTS you can do nutritionally that most people don’t realise.

If you come and see me for a one-to-one consultation, then I’ll take a detailed case history to assess what kind of approach is most suitable for you. Plus put together a tailored nutrition plan that takes into account your lifestyle, likes and dislikes.

More blogs on inflammation

You may be interested in some of the other blogs I have written on inflammation. Some of these describe its effects, and some provide anti-inflammatory recipes.

Seven Top Tips for Improving Digestion

Five Golden Milk Recipes

Jelly Sweet Treat Recipes to Heal Your Gut

The Sugar-Inflammation-Disease Connection – and how to stay healthy

Joint Health, Inflammation and Diet


Workshops and Courses:

Please visit the links below for more details

Online workshops:

What is an Anti-Inflammatory Diet?
Inflammation is a key feature of many illnesses and conditions, so an Anti-Inflammatory Diet is often recommended. But what is an Anti-Inflammatory Diet, and how can you put yours in place?
Available on demand at: kirsten-chick.cademy.co.uk

Nutrition for the Menopausal Mind
Learn a nourishing approach to help manage and regulate stress, anxiety, memory, concentration, brain fog and sleep.Understand why these can be a problem around perimenopause and menopause, and how nutrition can help.£6
Available on demand at: kirsten-chick.cademy.co.uk


Introduction to Integrative Oncology for Healthcare Professionals (online)
11 pre-recorded modules by 11 different Course Presenters
£99 (for a limited time only)
Book: yestolife-horizons.org

Other Events:

Yes to Life Annual Conference 2023: You & Your Cancer Team
I co-hosted and presented at both the online and in person events this year, alongside some wonderful professionals, who came together to bring you the best practical support possible.
Recordings of the key speaker sessions are available to buy now: www.yestolifeshop.org/annual-conference-2023

Your Life and Cancer conference
Kirsten was invited back to this year’s event, appearing in an interview with naturopathic oncologist Dr. Heidi Kussman and on two Q&A panels – download the recordings from both weekends here: www.yourlifeandcancer.com

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