One of the major causes of this chronic pervasive inflammation is the change in our diets, particularly the composition of fats and low levels of antioxidants. Healthy inflammation is a healing process and essential to our survival. But there is a dark side to inflammation that is linked to a whole range of serious diseases.
When we cut ourselves, we expect it to heal. This is due to the finely organised sequence of events called 'inflammation'. The visible signs are pain, swelling and redness.
Healthy inflammation is essential to our survival. It is local to the area of injury, and ends when the injury is healed. However, science is learning that there is a dark side to inflammation - this sinister unhealthy inflammation silently extends far beyond the original injury.
Unhealthy inflammation actually speeds up wear and tear on vital organs, and many scientists now believe it underlies accelerated ageing and degenerative organ decline.
Diseases states implicated include:
arteriosclerosis (leading to heart attack and strokes)
. . . and others
Over the years, the amount of pro-inflammatory fats in the diet has increased substantially, while anti-inflammatory fats have decreased. Instead of a 1:1 ratio between these fats, the ratio is now 30:1 of pro-inflammatory fats over anti-inflammatory fats in the Western diet. The result is that the body can't turn off its inflammatory response, which sets the stage for chronic inflammation.
The fats which increase unhealthy inflammation are the omega-6 family, found in corn, safflower, and other common cooking oils. The good anti-inflammatory fats are the omega-3 family, found in fish, flaxseed and leafy green vegetables. Trans fats, found in most fried foods and margarines, complicate the situation by inhibiting enzymes which process the body's omega-3 fats.
There is also a lack of antioxidants in the modern diet as most of us do not consume enough fruits and vegetables, which are the main dietary sources of antioxidants. Antioxidants are anti-inflammatory. They quench free radicals, which are involved in inflammatory reactions.
So what can we do to reverse this unhealthy trend?
First of all, we need to make good food choices. A list of 14 dietary principles have been suggested in the book "The Inflammation Syndrome" by Jack Challem.
Even adopting just a few of these fundamental dietary principles will go a long way in reducing unhealthy inflammatory tendencies, thereby reducing your risk of degenerative illness.
Here are the 14 principles described in this book.
Eat a variety of fresh and whole foods Eat more fish, especially coldwater varieties Eat grass-fed lean meats, and game meats Eat a lot of colourful vegetables Use spices and herbs to flavour your foods Use olive oil as your primary cooking oil Identify and avoid food allergens Avoid conventional vegetable cooking oils Avoid or limit intake of all refined sugars Avoid or limit intake of refined grains Limit your intake of dairy products Snack on nuts and seeds When thirsty, drink water When possible, eat organically raised foods
The Inflammation Syndrome: The Complete Nutritional Program to Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, Arthritis, Diabetes, Allergies and Asthm
Every disease process is either caused by or strongly influenced by inflammation. Nearly everyone knows that inflammation is the underpinning of arthritis, allergies, and other "-itis" diseases. In recent years, cardiologists have revised their thinking on the causes of coronary artery disease, and they now believe that chronic low-grade inflammation is at the root of heart disease. Fuelled partly by a relatively inexpensive blood test for high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, a marker and promoter of inflammation, doctors around the world have found that inflammation promotes disease complications in obesity, diabetes, cancer, and many other chronic and catastrophic diseases. The Inflammation Syndrome was the first book to connect the dots and explain how inflammation promotes arthritis, allergies, heart disease, Alzheimer's, cancer, and many other diseases. In this landmark book, Jack Challem describes an anti-inflammatory diet and anti-inflammatory supplements to help people improve their health.