Inflammation is the greatest health problem that we are facing as Americans today. It underscores every degenerative/aging issue including cardio-vascular disease, cancer, arthritis, diabetes, dementia, auto-immune diseases, and more.
What is inflammation?
Our bodies are geared for survival and when there are imbalances – the body will fly into action. For example: if we eat too many processed or sugary foods, our brain will respond by telling the pancreas to produce more insulin in order to reduce blood glucose to normal range again. Insulin pushes glucose through the cell membrane where it is used to make real energy in the mitochondria. But too much insulin bombards the cell membranes, damaging the insulin receptor sites and causes inflammation to all cell membranes. This is a major inflammatory response and it will cause a host of other problems. We have 70 trillion cells and our cell membranes need to remain healthy to protect our health. Cell membranes regulate the intake of all nutrients, glucose and oxygen and elimination of toxins and Co2. Also fluids: our cells should look like grapes, not raisins!
Another form of inflammation happens when we take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), like Ibuprofen or Motrin. Regular ingestion of NSAIDS cause the small intestine to become overly permeable. The small intestine now cannot regulate what passes through to the bloodstream. Undigested molecules of food and environmental toxins are unrecognizable to the immune system causing another form of inflammation. So depending on the “physiologic weakest links”, there are many possibilities of what gets irritated or inflamed due to these unbroken-down molecules of foods/toxins. This is a form of mal-absorption, and can cause various G.I problems including bloating, but also skin problems like excema, and virtually almost any form of inflammatory conditions including the auto-immune response. NSAIDS ARE NOT ANTI-INFLAMMATORY –in fact they may cause inflammation and kidney problems in the long run.
What can we do?
Cultivate anti-inflammatory eating as your way of life. Fresh, unprocessed foods, lots of vegetables, some fruits, healthy oils that contain plenty of omega 3-rich sources, healthy forms of protein, very minimal processed foods and processed grain products. Go with yams, squashes, quinoa, brown rice for carbs.
Focus on these foods as medicine:
Half of our plates: all green leafy veggies, broccoli family, all veggies, colorful peppers, tomatoes, avocados, mushrooms, pineapple, papaya, cherries, berries, red grapes, green tea, extra virgin olive oil, hemp seeds, chia seeds, and flaxmeal. The brighter the natural color, the greater the anti-inflammatory effect.
These supplements may be helpful:
Curcumen – powerful anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. The Journal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine published research stating that Curcumen worked as well as NSAIDS in soothing osteoarthritis of the knees.
Fish oils – supports the health of the cell membranes, and pulls omega 6 fats off an inflammatory pathway.
Alpha Lipoic Acid – Universal anti-oxidant, works in fat soluble and water soluble conditions in the body. Supports the management of diabetes, I have seen Alpha Lipoic reduce HgbA1C in many of my clients.
CoQ10 – plays a critical role in oxygen utilization and energy production, converting food into energy. It is a powerful anti-oxidant that scavenges free radicals which are inflammatory. It is found in high concentrations in the heart and brain. It is even recommended by doctors for supporting cardiovascular system, and may slow the progression of dementia. CoQ10 is a must for those taking statin drugs.