Matilda Green kindly joined Ben at BePure HQ for a live chat all about inflammation. Thanks to the questions you sent us, it went so wonderfully!
A lot of handy info and insight was packed into just over half an hour. If you haven’t yet seen it, or if you’d like to rewatch or share with friends, you’ll find the replay right here.
However, if you have watched it, we’re prepared a little quiz to test your newfound knowledge on inflammation! Here are the questions, answers and explanations follow further down. Ready?
True or false…
All inflammation is bad.
Eczema is a sign of inflammation.
Inflammation can’t be tested for.
Omega-3s are anti-inflammatory.
Sugar is inflammatory.
All inflammation is bad. True or false?
Inflammation is a natural response from the body that occurs to keep us safe, and it's involved in the body’s rebuilding process.
Chronic, low-grade inflammation is the one we’re talking about (most of the time) when we say inflammation, which is heavily lifestyle and diet related.
It’s this kind of inflammation in excess that underpins many modern day diseases such as heart disease, and even a physiological contributor to depression and anxiety.
The good news is that once we have the knowledge, there’s a lot we can do about it day-to-day with relative ease.
Eczema is a sign of inflammation. True or false?
True. Eczema is an indication of elevated inflammation levels in the body.
You can actually use this to your advantage as an ongoing meter of inflammation. If you have a patch of eczema, you can watch how it changes in response to certain foods, moods, stress, and exercise.
Our bodies are constantly communicating their needs, likes, and dislikes to us, and this is one way we can pay attention and listen.
The most telling sign of inflammation, however, is actually aches and pains in your joints and throughout your body.
As we mentioned above, inflammation is a natural response from the body to keep you safe. An example of controlled inflammation yielding achy joints is when you get the flu or a nasty cold.
That kind of inflammation, and those kinds of aches and pains are perfectly normal, and actually beneficial. Similar to delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) after an intense workout—the discomfort is a healthy amount of naturally occurring inflammation to support the recovery and growth of your muscles.
But if we are experiencing aches and pains with no apparent root cause, that’s a telltale sign, and our body letting us know that chronic, low-grade inflammation levels have crept up beyond what is safe or controlled.
Telltale signs of elevated inflammation:
Aches and pains
Fatigue / constantly being tired despite getting enough sleep
Inflammation can’t be tested for. True or false?
False! While there are signs of inflammation you can see and feel for yourself, blood testing for c-reactive protein can give you full transparency into what’s going on.
The medical ‘safe’ range is 3.0 mg/L, but our BePure safe range—we’re interested in optimal health, not just avoiding illness—is less than 1.0 mg/L, with around 0.37 mg/L being an excellent, low inflammation result.
For additional reference, at 15.0 mg/L, inflammation will be very painful, and above 30 mg/L and it’s very difficult to operate in everyday life.
A test for c-reactive protein can be requested through your local GP or BePure Clinical Consultant.
Omega-3s are anti-inflammatory.
A resounding yes—omega-3 fatty acids are a powerful, anti-inflammatory tool as they make molecules that help turn off, or resolve the inflammation response.
Omega-3s are an essential nutrient that can’t be made by the body, so they must be sourced deliberately from our food, and supplementation too if you choose to.
Inflammation in the body tends to perpetuate, and once it gets going, you need chemical messengers to turn it off, and some of these messengers are made by active omega-3s found in fish oil.
They’re not only beneficial for inflammation, they’re used throughout our entire body and supportive for hormonal imbalance, mental wellbeing, brain health, eye health, the quality of our skin, even a valid treatment strategy for endometriosis.
Given the power of omega-3s found in fish oil, Ben spent three years developing BePure Three (named after the nourishing omegas, not the number of years in development 😉).
With the quality and strength being paramount to its therapeutic value—and given New Zealand’s location in the the South Pacific Ocean—he set out to make a product that was to a standard he personally would like to use, was sustainably sourced, and was more financially accessible than the top product on the market at the time.
Sugar is inflammatory. True or false?
True! Sorry, this one isn’t a trick question.
The food we eat either fights inflammation, or feeds it.
Some foods even have long-term anti-inflammatory properties that mediate, or turn off the inflammation response.
Sugar well and truly sets off the alarm.
To manage inflammation levels, keeping sugar intake to a minimum is absolutely crucial.
As well as sugar, there is research to support that gluten is inflammatory in everyone, not just those with diagnosed coeliac disease. For a collection of reasons, we’ll all have different levels of tolerance. It’s valuable to experiment and find what works for your unique body.
A lot of dairy products can also commonly be inflammatory. Raw dairy products tend to be more nourishing, and less inflammatory, but it’s another instance of needing to find your tolerance levels through experimentation.
But what to eat?
The best way to manage your inflammation levels through diet, is to eat a whole-foods based diet that includes lots of fresh produce—leafy greens, colourful veggies, some fruits, nuts, seeds, whole grains, oily fish, free-range eggs, healthy fats, organic, grass fed meat, and poultry.
Dairy (with some exceptions)
Alcohol (not a food, but worth a mention)
Alcohol-free, Summer Seedlip mocktail, anyone?
Anti-inflammatory, whole foods
Nuts and seeds
Oily fish (salmon, sardines)
Healthy fats (olive oil, avocado, olives etc)
Organic, grass fed meat, and poultry.
As well as diet, lifestyle factors are powerful tools we can utilise to manage inflammations.
Exercising at an appropriate levels specific to your needs
When the above is your baseline living 80% of the time, your default level of living is minimising your inflammation, so when you dip into the 20% zone, you’re not causing any damage that your body can’t efficiently, and easily keep on top of.
So yes, sugar is inflammatory, how about meat?
Both true and false… it depends.
Grass-fed, organic meat has a higher ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 than grain fed and highly processed meat. While both are essential:
Omega-6 dominance is pro-inflammatory.
Omega-3 dominance is anti-inflammatory.
Quality of food does matter, especially when it comes to meat. Free range, grass-fed, organic meat is low in omega-6s and incredibly nutrient-rich. Oily fish too, is effective at supporting inflammation.
What’s the difference between plant sources and animals sources of omega-3s?
Omega-3 fatty acids can be sourced through plant sources, however, only animal sources of omega-3 provide a pre-made molecule that’s ready for us to metabolise immediately.
The enzymes that convert the molecule from the plant sources into an active form that can be utilised by the body, become less efficient as we get older (hence why aches ,pains and arthritis typically start to rear their heads with age), which is why getting enough active omega-3s in the system, either by supplementing or through diet (ideally both!) is incredibly valuable for inflammation mediation.