In 2004, Time Magazine featured an article, “The Secret Killer.” Today, the role inflammation plays in the disease process continues to be ignored by many, including the conventional medical community. I was forced to learn about this silent killer with a cancer diagnosis 15 years ago, and it is a lesson I hope you will never have to learn. A small amount of knowledge on the subject can go a long way in treating and preventing many diseases.
The inflammatory response within your body occurs to heal an injury or illness eliminating bacteria, viruses, fungi and other microbial invaders. On the other hand, chronic inflammation is a constant low-level fire that your body cannot extinguish. It interferes with how cells function and damages tissue. This condition contributes to many chronic diseases like arthritis, allergies or asthma, high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, obesity, digestive disorders, fatigue, skin problems, cancer, Alzheimers and more. The Center for Disease Control estimates that 7 of every 10 Americans die of a chronic disease.
The good news: The causes of chronic inflammation are known, and simple lifestyle choices can eliminate it. You are more in charge of your health than you realize. Living an anti-inflammatory lifestyle is doable when you are curious to learn what your doctors may not tell you and take corrective actions that feel right for you.
In 2007, Victoria J. Drake, PhD, at the Linus Pauling Institute of Oregon State University reported that a diet rich in saturated fats, trans fats and high glycemic index foods (sugar) stimulates inflammation. A Mediterranean-style diet has been found to reduce inflammation. It is rich in fruits and vegetables, nuts, beans, whole grains and monounsaturated fatty acids from olive oil (whole not processed foods). The traditional Western diet is high in omega 6 fatty acids with an imbalanced ratio of about 16:1. A 1.1 ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 will likely reduce the prevalence and severity of inflammatory conditions. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids are fish oils, flaxseeds and walnuts. To learn more, please go to http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/ss07/inflammation.html
Integrative health professionals understand that other lifestyle factors also stimulate inflammation: excessive exercise or inactivity, smoking, excessive alcohol, unmanaged stress, negative emotions, atmospheric pollution and domestic pollutants. A simple C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) blood test can be used to measure inflammation within your body. This test is helpful if you suffer from any chronic disease.
The following corrective strategies support an anti-inflammatory lifestyle:
Food: Minimize SUGAR (all sugars including sugar substitutes), dairy, grains, red meat and PROCESSED FOODS. Eat more fruits, vegetables, raw nuts and healthy fats. Eat high alkaline foods. (To learn more, go to the pH Miracle Alkaline-Acid Food Chart by pH Miracle Living at https://www.phmiracleliving.com/t-food-chart.aspx.
pH levels within the body contribute to health (alkaline) or disease (acid).
Activity: Do moderate exercise that feels right for your body for 30 minutes every day. Inactivity and excessive exercise without proper rest create chronic inflammation within the body.
Digestion: Take PROBIOTICS, digestive enzymes and fiber. These supplements restore healthy flora within the intestines and prevent “leaky gut”—too many toxins being released through the intestinal wall into the body. This syndrome is not yet acknowledge by conventional doctors.
Supplements: Use several of these natural inflammation fighters: fish oil, CURCUMIN, vitamins C and E, quercetin, bromelain, reseveratrol, flax seed oil, ginger, alpha lipoic acid, zinc, boswellia or green tea.
Stress: Manage the stress in your life by keeping things simple, meditating, doing EFT or yoga, exercising, playing and just doing things that give you pleasure.
Thoughts and emotions: 1) Replace rigid critical judgments about yourself, others or life with more love and acceptance. Seeing through the eyes of “acceptance” requires discipline and effort, but this mindset becomes a habit over time. 2) Focus on the positive in your life—what is working. 3) Have gratitude for simple pleasures every day.
The role chronic inflammation plays in the aging and disease process is at the top of my list for health awareness. Become curious about the underlying causes of disease. As you do some research, you might be surprised by how simple it is to take charge of your health and treat or prevent degenerative diseases.
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