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Inflammation is The
Root Cause of Disease

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This page on inflammation is a little long but it's so important that I want to share as much with you as I can.

We'll talk about:

  • The two types of inflammatory processes and their differences.
  • What causes this process and how it's linked to disease.
  • Knowing which foods to eat and which to avoid.
  • Which test to request from your doctor to determine your risk.

Acute

The inflammatory process is your body's way of telling you there is something wrong. 

When you were young, you may have smashed your finger and it immediately swelled up.

Or you got stung and the surrounding area became red, swollen and warm to the touch. These are examples of an acute injury.

Here is the body's normal protocol when an acute injury or infection is present in any organ or tissue. 

Your immune system makes a 911 call to report an injury.  The paramedics, your white blood cells, rush to the scene of the injury where the damaged cells have released various chemicals. 

These chemicals, plasma and protein allow massive amounts of fluid to flood the tissue spaces otherwise known as swelling, heat and redness.  This flooding causes the cells to start drowning. 

The oxygen deprived cells put out a distress call that we notice as pain and you say "ouch".

Normally you would receive some type of treatment for the injury and in a short time you heal and are back to normal.

Chronic

This process is a bit more complicated.  Sometimes the "paramedics" of the immune system may not perform properly and healing doesn't occur. Or maybe the body can't ever heal because of repeated injury as a result of something you are doing, consuming or being exposed to.

This leads to chronic inflammation and it can last indefinitely and lead to disease. This chronic type of inflammation is getting a lot of attention from the medical community lately.

Inflammation is the root cause of chronic disease.

The link between arthritis and inflammation is well known.

But newer research is confirming a definite connection between chronic inflammation and both physical and neurological diseases including:

  • asthma
  • Alzheimer's Disease
  • cancer
  • diabetes
  • digestive disorders
  • heart disease
  • hormone imbalances
  • osteoporosis

Causes of Inflammation

According to the health experts one of the biggest contributors of this condition is our diet.  Other factors play a role, such as emotions and lifestyle , smoking and lack of exercise, but our food choices are the biggest factor.

Healthy choices in our daily diet could have a significant impact. There are two categories when it comes to food choices:

  • Pro-inflammatory, which are foods that cause inflammation.
  • Anti-inflammatory, which are the good foods that help minimize inflammation risk.

Be aware, you could be feeding the problem depending upon what you eat.


Foods That Cause Inflammation

  • highly processed foods
  • sugary foods
  • red meats(from corn-fed cows treated with antibiotics & hormones)
  • un-healthy saturated fats
  • fried foods
  • soda
  • alcohol
  • bread
  • trans fats found in snack foods
  • crackers
  • candies
  • baked goods
  • commercially prepared salad dressings

According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, in a study done in December, the authors states, "Our results suggest that TFA [trans fatty acids] are strongly associated with systemic inflammation in patients with chronic heart failure. This finding suggests a novel potential mechanism whereby TFA intake may affect the health of patients with established heart disease."

Read your food labels, even if it says "trans free", if there are hydrogenated oils listed on the label, it's not trans-free. Minute amounts are allowed and can still be labeled "trans-free".

Others causes that can increase your risk include:

  • stress
  • obesity
  • gum disease
  • existing heart condition
  • family history of heart disease
  • smoking
  • long lasting or unresolved infections

If you suffer from a chronic disease, check out Dr. Weil's Diet Plan.


Good Foods (Anti-Inflammatory)

In striving for an anti-inflammatory lifestyle try to eat a diet rich in:

  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • especially dark green leafy vegetables
  • kale and other greens
  • omega-3 foods
  • wild caught cold water fish
  • fish oil supplements
  • flax seed
  • raw nuts like pecans, almonds and walnuts
  • olive and grape seed oils 

Home made soup made from chicken, turkey, beef or fish stock (made from bones) is a very healthy choice.  The prolonged boiling draws the glucosamine, chondroitin and minerals out of the bones and cartilage and into the soup.

The soup will not only help to reduce the inflammatory process but it will also fortify the joints in your body. Try to increase your antioxidant even if you need to take a supplement.

Another excellent anti-inflammatory food is the acai berry. Dr. Nicolas Perricone listed it as one of the Top Super Foods in his book. Oprah and many other shows have featured this amazing little berry as well.

The acai berry is extremely high in antioxidants.  Try to find one of those tasty juice blends that contain this berry. 


C-Reactive Protein  Test

There are some tests your doctor can perform to determine the level of the inflammatory process going on in your body.

First is a test called a C-reactive protein (CRP) blood test, it may or may not be covered by insurance, but it typically is not a very expensive test.

It is not a routine test, but if requested it can be done right along with your cholesterol test.

The C Reactive Protein inflammation levels can be used as a marker of inflammation in the arteries. If you have an elevated level of CRP it is also a good indicator that you may be at risk for a stroke or heart attack.

Another test your doctor can perform is a fasting blood sugar test. It not only screens for diabetes and heart disease, but a higher insulin level indicates that your body is experiencing a higher inflammatory process.


Managing Chronic Inflammation

If you already have chronic symptoms, the following may be helpful:

Dietary

  • Eat lots of fruits and green vegetables (preferably non-starchy) and eat organic, it's proven to have more nutrients and be healthier for you.
  • Eat cold water, wild caught fish 2-4 times per week or take a take a good pharmaceutical grade fish oil daily.
  • When using oil, choose a good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • Try to decrease your grains.
  • Avoid white flours and sugar, high fructose corn syrup, trans fats, milk products.
  •  Don't overeat, don't skip meals and eat meals at home and not at fast food restaurants.

Supplements

  • Daily vitamin/mineral supplement for good basic nutrition.
  • Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids have been shown to be anti-inflammatory in both acute and chronic inflammation.  It's a necessary supplement unless you eat a lot of fish.
  • Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) not only helps with glucose conversion but it's also  shown to be an anti-inflammatory, particularly for the heart and brain.
  • Curcumin from the spice turmeric has both anti oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.  This has been helpful in my family for those suffering with arthritis.
  • Quercetin another anti oxidant with the ability to decrease a systemic inflammatory response. I used this to stop my skin flare ups due to my gluten intolerance while I was detoxing.

Environment

Since we live and work in closed environments with recirculated air instead of fresh air, it's wise to limit your toxin exposure as much as possible.

While you may not realize the amount of toxins that you come in contact with, they are everywhere in your daily living:

  • synthetic carpeting and pads
  • drapes
  • fabrics
  • wall coverings
  • paints
  • cleaning products
  • air fresheners
  • glues
  • pesticides
  • sealants
  • skin and hair care products

By living and working in closed environments with toxin exposure, people are experiencing a low level chronic inflammatory condition that is leading to all types of ailments ranging from fatigue, headaches, memory loss, skin rashes, just to name a few.

So get fresh air as much as possible, open windows and doors, roll down your car windows. Even with the concerns of air pollution, you really may have more risk indoors than out.

Lifestyle Adjustments

Avoid:

  • Smoking & chewing tobacco
  • excessive alcohol
  • excessive calories
  • tight clothing
  • over exercising
  • under exercising 
  • un-managed stress

Do:

  • develop healthy relationships with encouraging and supportive people
  • Be aware negative habits and thoughts
  • start making healthier choices one step at a time
  • take responsibility for your health, nobody cares more about you than you.

The Link To Illness and Disease

When you mention heart disease, many think of clogged blood vessels due to a plaque build up in the vessel walls.  To prevent this from happening, people are prescribed cholesterol lowering drugs.  But that's not really the answer, you need to find out why the excess plaque is forming.  

When a blood vessel gets "injured" which can be from any number of reasons like, high blood pressure, smoking or an inflammatory process, our body's paramedics rush to the injured vessel and try to patch up the wound.

Unfortunately, these inflammatory cells create further damage and  sometimes they are responsible for further plaque build up and/or the rupturing of plaque which could result in a blood clot leading to heart attack or stroke.

Controlling your inflammation could minimize your risk of heart disease.

The process may vary within the differing body systems, but the scenario is basically the same.

Many health care professionals now believe that inflammation contributes to:

  • cancer
  • diabetes
  • asthma
  • arthritis
  • osteoporosis
  • Alzheimer's Disease
  • migraines
  • fibromyalgia
  • periodontal disease
  • thyroiditis
  • bowel disease
  • dementia
  • chronic fatigue syndrome
  • metabolic syndrome

That's quite a list!

Thank you for reading down to the bottom of the page. I hope you found this information helpful.

Below you will find a section with Additional Resources that you may find helpful.  You can also sign up for my "e-zine" to get more information by e-mail.


Additional Resources

Understanding Lactose Intolerance and Inflammation

Information on the anti-flammatory benefits of the Acai Berry

Healthy Eating Guidelines

Stress

Fun Exercises

Cardiovascular Health

Heart Health

Home Made Bone Broths Reduce Inflammation

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This is a well done article and I can really relate to it. As a sufferer of celiac disease, I know very well the effects of chronic inflammation. Celiac …

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