Although it can be an important function of our immune system, inflammation can also be a serious problem, especially for athletes. In this article, we’ll take a look at what inflammation is, when we need it, and how plant extracts may help the body best manage it.
Why Inflammation Can Be a Problem
Inflammation, also known as swelling, is one of the ways that the body’s immune system fights injury and infection. It is caused by blood vessels dilating, increasing blood flow to the area, and raising the white blood cell count. Symptoms of inflammation include redness, swelling, tenderness, and sometimes loss of function.
Anyone who has had a sprain, a sore throat or a cut will know how the area can become tender and swollen. This is known as acute inflammation: a localized response to stress or injury. During an acute inflammation reaction, the damaged tissue releases chemicals called cytokines, which tell the body to send nutrients, immune cells, and hormones to that area to promote healing. As such, though acute inflammation can be uncomfortable, it isn’t always a reaction we want to stop.
However, not all inflammation in the body comes as a response to a direct threat like an injury. Sometimes, and often for unknown reasons, the immune system can go into action when there is nothing to fight. Counterintuitively, this immune response can actually contribute to disease, as the white blood cells and hormones begin to attack healthy cells and tissue. Medical studies have even linked chronic inflammation to heart disease, strokes, and certain forms of cancer.
Low-level chronic inflammation can often be symptomless or have vague symptoms like fatigue, pain, fever, mouth sores, and rashes that can be confused with other conditions. However, it can be detected with a blood test that measures white blood cell levels. More serious forms of chronic inflammation show up as conditions like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.
Can CBD Oil Help Inflammation?
The good news is that one of the most recognized uses of CBD oil is for treating, managing and preventing inflammation. In medical tests, CBD has been shown to have a significant effect on reducing chronic pain and inflammation in mice. Anecdotal evidence also shows how many people swear by CBD hemp oil for managing chronic inflammation and pain.
Preventing and Managing Chronic Inflammation with CBD
As with many conditions, when it comes to chronic inflammation, prevention is the best cure. Although chronic inflammation can occur for a number of reasons, not all of which are fully understood by medical professionals, it is generally believed that maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help to reduce the likelihood of developing this condition. See below for more tips on fighting inflammation in a natural way.
The cannabinoids in hemp oil are thought to help the body recover quicker, especially after a workout or during times of high stress. Therefore taking it as a regular supplement could be one way of preventing chronic inflammation from taking hold in the first place.
For people who already suffer from chronic inflammation or related conditions, CBD could also be helpful in managing pain and regulating the immune system to keep symptoms under control.
Other Ways to Combat Inflammation
As we mentioned, one of the best ways to fight inflammation is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Not only will this help to reduce the likelihood of having an inflammatory reaction, but it will also help you to feel better all-round.
Inflammatory and Anti-Inflammatory Foods
What we eat has a huge effect on how our body copes with illness and infection. Certain foods, like leafy greens (spinach, kale, arugula), fatty fish (sardines, mackerel, sardines), olive oil, tomatoes, nuts, and fruits like blueberries, oranges, and cherries are thought to help our bodies fight off inflammation.
Meanwhile, other foods, like red meat, processed carbohydrates, deep-fried foods and processed meats like hotdogs, can actually exacerbate inflammation and make a reaction worse.
Stress and Inflammation
Chronic stress is incredibly bad for our bodies, causing all sorts of negative reactions from stomach upsets to – you guessed it – inflammation. The good news? The same CBD oil that helps to fight inflammation may also help to combat stress and anxiety, all at the same time.
Sleep: the Body’s Healing Mechanism
Getting plenty of high-quality sleep is one of the best ways to encourage our bodies to heal, reboot, and boost our immune systems. However, good sleep can be difficult to come by for people with chronic pain. Once again, CBD can help with this, as the links between CBD and improved sleep quality are becoming increasingly recognized.