Did you know that inflammation is the common link between such debilitating conditions as cancer, Alzheimer's, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and even autism?
And what if you could prevent these by simple changes in your diet and life style?
Inflammation is a buzz-word these days and for a good reason. If you reduce inflammation, you can prevent many of these diseases.
As Barry Sears, MD says, "What we see as heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer's are not different diseases, but simply different manifestations of long-term damage caused by a continued inflammatory attack on your organs."
There are two kinds of inflammation. Inflammation that you feel - like the acute pain in your knees, or a bump on your head - and the one that you probably would not even notice - the chronic inflammation in your vascular system.
We don't often equate inflammation with cancer, heart disease, diabetes, or many other chronic and deadly illnesses. But the fact is, chronic internal inflammation can contribute to nearly every major illness of our time. This kind of inflammation is the one we call silent inflammation.
This silent inflammation could be happening to you right now. And you are not even aware of it!
Imagine you have two laboratories in your body: one that produces inflammatory chemicals and one that produces anti-inflammatory chemicals. You are fueling the first one and you are under-fueling the second. The result? Chronic low level inflammation.
What Causes Inflammation?
Everything that irritates your body:
- environmental toxins (mold, heavy metals like mercury in flu vaccines and amalgam fillings, air pollution .. etc)
- chronic stress and trauma
- infections, especially hidden, bacterial and viral
- unhealthy diet
- lack of healthy amounts of exercise
- undiagnosed food allergies and sensitivities (both acute, like a nut allergies, but delayed, which may not affect us up until 72 after ingestion)
The Standard American Diet (that is often referred to as the SAD diet) causes inflammation due to its high levels of sugar, processed foods, grains, and omega -6 fatty acids and vey low levels omega-3 fatty acids.
Too much omega-6 , without balanced omega-3, seems to be causing some of our most common and serious health problems. We do need omega-6 fatty acids but we need almost as many omega-3 fatty acids, which are much harder to find.
The ideal ratio is 1:1 and 2:1, omega-6 (pro-inflammatory fatty acids) to omega-3 (anti-inflammatory fatty acids) - the exact ratio you would find in the diets of hunter-gatherer societies, which were free of the diseases of aging.
In the typical US diet, this ratio is 15:1, with some estimates putting it even higher. But with that 15:1 ratio, you are just asking for pain.
Some of the serious consequences of too much omega-6 are that by unbalancing omega-3 oils, it contributes to inflammatory and autoimmune problems, such as rheumatoid arthiritis, asthma, Raynaud's, ulcerative colitis, osteoporosis, cancer and Alzheimer's disease.
Omega-3 fatty acids are most important, as they reduce inflammation, bring balance to our hormones, regulate our blood sugar, prevent blood clotting, keep our cholesterol and triglycerides in balance, relax our blood vessels, and make our cells healthy and resilient.
This ratio speaks for itself. It spells danger and what it shows is that we are silently killing ourselves. This chronic smoldering inflammation can slowly destroys our organs, our ability for optimal functioning and leads to rapid aging. We may feel healthy, but if this inflammation is raging inside of us, then we have a problem.
Fortunately, a great deal of this is under your control. If you can put out the "fire within", or at least stop it from spreading, you'll be ahead of the game.
How do you do it?
By reducing foods that turbo-charge our inflammatory production pathways and increasing foods that have precisely the opposite effect.
The primary sources of omega-6 fats are vegetable oils. I know this might come as a surprise as we have been brought up to believe that vegetable oils, where most of our omega-6s come from, are supposed to be good for health. Well, they are not.
If we examine this imbalance closer, it is easy to see why it's so prevalent. After all, these so called "heart healthy" vegetable oils such as soybean, sunflower, safflower, corn and cottonseed oil are found in almost every food we eat.
How Do You Tilt the Omega Fats Balance in Your Favor?
Can't we just eat more fish, or pop some fish oil capsules?
Well, it is a good start. But you need to lower your omega-6 to omega-3 essential fatty acid ratio to
Now at this point you might think, that omega-6 is the bad guy and would want to completely eliminate it. This is not the case. Every nutrient has its place, including omega-6 fats, and should not be eliminated altogether.
How to Lower Omega-6 Fats Intake
- Get an oil change. Top offenders are cottonseed, sunflower, safflower, corn, soybean and canola oil. Stop using these oils. Other harmful sources are - hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats, margarine and shortening.
- Reduce the intake of deep-fried food.
- Cook more at home. The majority of restaurants will use cheap vegetable oils. By making most of your meals at home, you can be in control.
- Limit processed foods. This is one of the best ways to cut your omega-6 intake. Most processed foods are made with these inexpensive oils. Just go to your pantry or cupboards now and pull out a few items. Check the ingredient list. You will see what I mean. It is in everything.
- Become a label reader. Check for sugar, carb count, sodium and those nasty vegetable oils when you shop for groceries. Make your selections carefully.
- Reduce the intake of grain-fed meat (grain-fed meat or feedlot raised meat can have ratios that exceed 20:1 whereby grass-fed beef is down around 3:1).
- Reduce the intake of farm raised fish. They contain much higher amounts of pro-inflammatory omega-6 fats and less usable omega-3 fats than wild fish (especially tilapia).
Incorporate foods that are good sources of omega-3 fats:
- wild salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines, anchovies
- walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds
- wild game like venison
- free-range or pasture-fed meats
- eggs and dairy products from pastured animals
- leafy greens
Few More Practical Tips to Cut Down Inflammation
- Eat a whole foods, high fiber diet which is inherently anti-inflammatory. That means unprocessed, unrefined, real food.
- Drastically cut back on bread, pasta, rice, cereal, milk, corn, soy, peanuts and gluten
- Reduce all types of sugar for good! This is a must for good health.
- Choose foods on the low glycemic index
- Up your fruits and veggies that are bright in color
- Drink lots of water
- Use anti-inflammatory herbs like ginger, turmeric, oregano, garlic
- Break your bad habits. Alcohol, caffeine and nicotine place a heavy burden on your system
- Switch to green tea
- Reduce stress levels
- Get plenty of sleep
- Move your body regularly
- If you have food allergies or sensitivities, find out what they are and stop eating them (this is crucial. Food sensitivities are a major cause of inflammation. Go on an elimination diet.
- Take probiotics to help your digestion and improve the balance of healthy bacteria in your gut, which reduces inflammation
- Practice a gentle detox or cleansing program a couple of times a year (Enroll in our gentle fall detox happening this month ... wink- wink :) )
After all your body is the only permanent home you have - it only makes sense to heed your inner smoke alarms.
Make the decision that your health is a priority! The side effects are feeling good!, weight loss!, increased energy!, happiness!, anti-aging effects!, and much more...