What is Inflammation?
Inflammation is our body’s normal and healthy response to injury or attack on the immune system. Inflammation on the surface of the body is commonly described as heat, redness, swelling, and pain. Chronic, low-level inflammation at the cellular level – known as the “silent killer” – develops without pain and can lead to obesity and disease.
This chronic inflammation has also been linked to depression. There are many studies that show a link between markers in the blood that show inflammation (cytokines) and depression. (View studies about depression.) Could depression be a response to inflammation? Or, an even more compelling question, is inflammation a response to depression? I am sure it is much more complicated than we know! But, one thing I know for sure is that when I eat clean and healthy I feel better physically AND mentally.
Many things can cause inflammation: diet, environmental factors, stress, physical injury, illness, genetics. Some things we can not control. But, one thing that we can control is, of course, what you eat. In order to minimize inflammation…
Foods to stay away from…
Trans-fats (partially hydrogenated oils found in a lot of processed food)
Casein (the protein found in milk)
Extra virgin olive oil
Dark, leafy greens
Try it! Eat an anti-inflammatory diet for a week or two. (Dr Weil has a great anti inflammatory diet guide.) Write in a journal every day. Keep track of your food and your mood. See if you notice a difference. I guarantee you will! Share this information with the people in your life who suffer from depression.