Optimal Health Physical Wellness

Inflammation: The Root of all Disease

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Inflammation has been shown to be at the root of all disease. Inflammation can be a good and bad thing. It is the bodies normal response to injury and infection and can therefore actually stimulate healing. On the other hand, chronic sustained inflammation is not good and is the root cause of disease and illness. In this article we will take a closer look at inflammation, causes of inflammation, foods that cause it, foods that prevent it, and ways to measure inflammation in the body.

A Closer Look

In inflammation, chemicals from white blood cells are released into the blood. Some of the chemicals cause a leak of fluid into the tissues resulting in swelling. It goes without saying that cells that are inflamed, leaking, and edematous are not going to do their job effectively. In other words, inflammation damages your bodies healthy cells and tissue and severely weakens your immune system. Consequently, this weakened immune system is the gateway for disease and illness. The bottom line is inflammation can affect all internal organs and prevent them from functioning properly. For example, inflammation of the kidneys leads to elevated blood pressure and kidney failure. Inflammation also plays a key role in heart disease and the progression of atherosclerosis and blood clot formation. These are just a few of many examples.

Causes of Inflammation

  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Stress
  • Lack of Exercise
  • Diet Choices

Foods that cause inflammation

  1. Sugar: Sugar drives inflammation and negates the anti-inflammatory effects of omega 3 fatty acids. Studies have shown that women eating a diet high in sugar developed breast cancer that spread to the lungs at a much higher rate than their counterparts who ate no sugar.
  1. Vegetable and Seed oils: Vegetable oils are high in omega 6 fatty acids which promote inflammation in excess. Omega 3’s is a better option. 
  1. Alcohol: Alcohol leads to bacterial toxins moving out of the colon and into the body. A condition known as “leaking gut syndrome.” This leads to widespread inflammation and subsequent organ damage.
  1. Processed Meats 

Foods that Prevent Inflammation: For the purpose of this article, I cannot go into detail about every food but I challenge you to do your own research in an effort to create and maintain a anti-inflammatory environment in your body.

  1. Berries: Berries contain anti-oxidants known as anthocyanins. These anthocyanins have anti-inflammatory effects that greatly decrease the risk of heart disease.
  2. Fatty Fish: Contains high concentrations of Omega 3 fatty acids which are great anti-inflammatories. Some good ones to eat are salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, and anchovies. 
  3. Broccoli: Best source of a powerful anti-inflammatory known as sulforaphane.
  4. Avocados: Protect against inflammation and have been shown to decrease risk of cancer.
  5. Green Tea
  6. Peppers
  7. Mushrooms
  8. Turmeric
  9. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  10. Tomatoes
  11. Cherries
  12. Fermented Foods: Fermented foods maintain a healthy gut which is where most of your immune system lives. Some good examples of fermented foods are yogurt, kefir, kimchi, and sauerkraut just to name a few. 

Key Inflammatory Marker

C-Reactive Protein (CRP) is a good way to assess for inflammation in the body. I always have my physician include it in my lab work. An elevated CRP level indicates inflammation but is non-specific as to location. It is however found in the blood when systemic inflammation is present making it important to have it checked. Ask for the test. In one study, people with excessive alcohol intake had greatly elevated CRP levels which validates that alcohol is something to limit in our diets.

In conclusion, my 30 years of nursing has allowed me to see the negative implications of chronic inflammation in the body. It has brought an awareness to me of the importance of diet as it relates to inflammation and maintaining optimal health.

Until next time,

Eat healthy, be aware, and be well.

Much love,

Vince

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Vince is a Critical Care Registered Nurse, Published Writer, and Columnist living and loving in Atlanta, Georgia. Enter your email address to receive his bi-weekly educational, inspirational, and thought provoking work straight to your inbox. You can also follow him on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter. Your support is deeply appreciated.

 

 

 

4 comments on “Inflammation: The Root of all Disease

  1. Lisa Owens Shifflett

    Loved reading this Vince,I have Lupus (SLE) ,have a lot of issues.I found this very helpful. Thank You
    Take care! Lisa Owens Shifflett

  2. yuri margossian

    Very interesting reading Vince, thank you.
    I have to admit that some of the words, ie atherosclerosis, were too long for me to comprehend, but I got the jist of it,
    Sugar – we are now told that excess sugar is bad for us, what about sweeteners like aspartame ? Some researchers say that there is a direct connections between some cancers and aspartame. Should we stop all sodas and revert to green tea, which is great, or have tea the old fashioned English way with honey or lemon ? Alcohol, if I’m not mistaken becomes sugar in the system.
    Whilst I’ve read a lot about the positive values of Omega 3, can you shed some light onto the way these fish should be cooked, ie grilled or poached ? I’m assuming that smoked salmon is a general no no, but is ok as a treat once in a while.
    What is actually wrong with processed meats ? Everyone says it’s not good for us but no one actually says why.
    Broccoli, to get the best out of it, should we eat them raw or steamed or boiled ?
    I love avocado, either in a salad or with vinaigrette dressing, but surely this is a very fatty fruit and increases our weight ?
    Obesity, how should this be worked out ? Over here they said that it was your weight x your height = Body mass index. However now they’re saying that this calculation is wrong. So apart from the really overweight people, how can you work out if you’re obese ?
    Sorry I’m asking too many questions.
    I look forward to the next episode of the SC.

  3. Thx Vince,I have been doing the morning apple cider vinegar, for years,and it becomes a vital part of your day,thx for all the other benefits..you’re wonderful 😘

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