After an accident, how does the human body take care of itself to repair, recover, and grow? “The body’s internal emergency response team is the first one on the scene, responding instantly to biochemical distress signals from damaged tissue,” explained Dr. Vijay Vad, an expert in developing minimally invasive non-surgical treatments for spine, arthritis, and sports injuries. Specialized cells and proteins seal off the injured area, destroy damaged tissue, and kill invading bacteria. This is our body’s inflammatory response at work. The redness and swelling on our bodies are what we see. In essence, inflammation is a good thing right after an injury. But what happens if we face chronic inflammation?
We feel stronger, better, and healthier when we are able to control chronic inflammation, and a good anti-inflammatory diet goes a long way towards accomplishing this goal. Wholesome, unprocessed foods such as olive oil, flaxseed, wild salmon, walnuts, onions, garlic, peppers, dark leafy greens, turmeric, ginger, and green tea are important. In Pune, India, Dr. Vijay Vad saw his grandfather living an active life, doing yoga, and enjoying a diet rich in turmeric. In the US, turmeric is best known as a spice. It’s one of the main components of curry powder. However, in India and other parts of Asia, turmeric is used to treat many health conditions. It is believed to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and perhaps even anticancer properties.
“Curcumin, a substance in turmeric, is a super-molecule with a great future because it may help to reduce inflammation,” explained Dr. Vijay Vad. Several studies suggest that it might ease symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, such as pain and inflammation. Other compounds in turmeric might also be medicinal. Indeed, arthritis has reached epidemic proportions in our country, with over 50 million Americans suffering from this condition. And arthritis isn’t going away any time soon. The Center for Disease Control estimates that by 2030, it will affect one out of every three Americans.
Dr. Vijay Vad is a strong proponent of encouraging his patients to become self-empowered to manage their own pain. He encourages people to adopt an anti-inflammatory diet, which eliminates fried foods, reduces processed sugar, and focuses on fruits such as blueberries. “The absolute enemy is processed sugar,” stated Dr. Vijay Vad, “sugar is the new tobacco.” Sugar spikes inflammation, and this is further exacerbated by sitting all day. In this country, we face excessive sitting and excessive bad food. Nevertheless, we can round out our day with smart exercise: walking for 30 minutes daily decreases inflammation, and aqua therapy and using a stationary bicycle are also excellent options. Becoming an educated patient involves making a commitment to a healthy diet, proper exercise, and keeping a positive mindset. Such actions enable people to live better in their bodies.