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There is a trend in the health industry to make good health seem complicated. The truth is it's not hard to be healthy, it just takes discipline and a couple of areas to focus on.Your body is amazing at regenerating itself. Think about it, every single cell in your body is completely replaced over and over and over again throughout your life. One of the largest health zapper is inflammation, while it is actually an immune response it can have some serious health drawbacks. Reducing inflammation should be a key priority for anyone who wants to keep their body healthy. Read on to learn more about low-grade inflammation and how to improve your health.
Researchers have found that chronic inflammation is involved, to varying extents, in everything from coronary artery disease, cancer, obesity, and type 2 diabetes to Alzheimer’s, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), allergic conditions such as asthma, and autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.
What is Inflammation?
As I stated above inflammation is actually an immune response. Inflammation is extremely important during injury, your body increases white blood cell production and swarms the area to help fight off infection and repair damaged tissue. This is called "acute inflammatory response". This type of inflammation is essential for a healthy life and well being, as well as healing injuries.The inflammation I am talking about is not when you roll your ankle on a hike and your ankle swells up like a balloon. Rather, I am talking about the much more subtle inflammation plaguing your body from poor diet and many other reasons. This is known as a "low-grade systemic reaction". Which seriously harms your health. And is now thought of being a leading cause of many diseases and cancers.The worst part about this is that you wont even know you have this inflammation which is why a diet high in anti-inflammatory foods is essential for your long term health.The harmful inflammation has serveral words you will hear it as:
- Chronic Inflammation
- Low Grade Inflammation
- low-grade systemic reaction
- Chronic sub-clinical inflammation
However they all pretty much mean the same thing.Chronic sub-clinical inflammation is inflammation which has been ongoing for long periods of time with no symptoms. It has been causing damage, but so far has no manifested into an illness.In short chronic inflammation is the slow breakdown of bodily tissues. It sort of like having little fires smoldering in different parts of your body. These fires damage and degrade cartilage, bone, linings of your arteries, etc... In layman's terms, it destroys your health slowly over time.
What are the Causes of Inflammation?
Inflammation is not only caused by trauma - this type is not bad to your long term health unless it doesn't go away. It is also caused by infections and toxins. I will be mostly discussing the toxins aspect because this is what is becoming a massive health problem!Short term inflammation is called Acute Inflammation, again this is usually caused by an infection or injury and is typically not harmful but rather, beneficial - unless it lingers. If acute inflammation lasts longer than many days or a few weeks then it slides into Chronic inflammation.Chronic inflammation can be disastrous to your health! It causes your body to always be on alert and thinks there is a problem when there isn't one. Over time your body's inflammatory response can damage tissues and organs, even messing up some cell's DNA which could cause cancer! Chronic inflammation has had some research as a "Common Soil" ailment that may lead to other, more dangerous health conditions.
Causes of Chronic Inflammation
Chronic inflammation may also be referred to as a low-grade systemic reaction. This is the type of inflammatory response I will be talking about known as "Chronic Inflammation".
There are 3 Main Causes of Chronic Inflammation (the really ugly kind).
- Untreated Acute Inflammation, such as an injury that heals but the swelling stays.
- An autoimmune issue where your immune system attack healthy tissue.
- Long term exposure to chemicals, pollution, toxins etc...
Side note: Inflammation typically worsens with age.It should be no surprise that smoking, heavy alcohol use, and obesity are thought of as aggressors to chronic inflammation but what is more shocking is even if you abstain from unhealthy habits it is likely you may suffer from some form of chronic sub-clinical inflammation.Our food today is hard to even call food. We should call it food products instead. If you look at our food today, you will be surprised to see what are in the ingredients.Take this bread you can easily find at a supermarket, there are like 50 different ingredients in it and I can only pronounce maybe half of them! This alone should tell you something about our food. You don't need this many things to make bread, many of these "ingredients" are preservatives and other artificial chemicals.Food also contains a lot of additives off label, which is anything added to the food as an "additive" meaning they don't need to disclose that it is in food. Such as the disgusting pink slime that we found out was in a ton of our meats!We add a lot of chemicals to our food, drinks, etc... and we have no idea what many of them do long term, in fact just this last year (2018) the FDA banned 7 food additives because they are potentially carcinogenic!View here.This should not come as a shock, I believe that many of the things we put in our foods are likely to be "possible carcinogens" and even if they don't cause more cancer, I am highly skeptical on the idea that they don't harm our health. And even if they don't harm us, they definitely don't add to our health so why use them?Our foods come with so many different chemicals its completely absurd, just look at all of the artificial flavors, colors, preservatives, etc...Top Foods to Avoid for inflamamtion:
- refined carbohydrates (white bread, doughnuts etc...)
- fried foods (french fries, chicken, etc...)
- processed meat (hot dogs, sausage, bologna etc...)
That is just our food, I could probably type for days just on the crap in our food, but then we have our drinks. And then we have the stuff we eat and drink that we know isn't even good for us! Things like candy bars, sodapop, most energy drinks, candy, cookies, on and on and on...The main point I'm trying to make is that even when we are trying to be healthy we are actually coming into contact with chemicals and toxins all day every single day. Toxins and chemicals are not even limited to what we consume, its also in the air. Particles such as smoke from campfires, all the way up to air pollution constantly get into our bodies and likely lead to chronic inflammation.I am not a doctor, nor do I pretend to be one, but I know chronic inflammation poses a serious concern to everyone because I believe we are all affected, though in various ways. Some people are likely fine, or the inflammation doesn't bother them, others might have crippling health effects which haven't manifested yet or are thought to be caused from other things.Chronic inflammation is a common soil ailment, it doesn't necessarily cause health issues but definitely plays a role. The best way to really stay healthy is to reduce inflammation.
Inflammation and Aging
Chronic sub-clinical inflammation typically worsens with age and has now been thought to be a leading cause for some - if not most - age related illnesses.People who have a higher quality of life in their later years have in most cases had lifestyles that generally reduce inflammation, whereas people who have terrible health have maintained a lifestyle that either doesn't lower it or worsens it.There was a study done by the Canadian Medical Association. The study had found a strong link between higher levels of chronic inflammation and a decreased likelihood of “successful aging”. This was defined as optimal physical and cognitive health and the absence of chronic diseases. The study had found that higher levels of inflammation appeared to reduce the odds of successful aging by 50% over the next decade! It also significantly increased the odds of cardiovascular disease and even death!The study measured inflammation by the amount of interleukin-6 in the blood.No matter how old you are now, if you want less pain, more overall well being and better longevity then you need to work on reducing inflammation right now.
Having an Anti Inflammatory Diet
Luckily, reducing chronic systemic inflammation is not very difficult, yes our foods make it much worse because of all the chemicals in them but...there are lots of food which have natural properties of reducing inflammation.Simply adding these foods and supplements to your diet will go a long way to reducing your chronic systemic inflammation and likely add to your overall longevity.
Chronic Inflammation and Omega Fatty Acids
One of the hot nutrition topics have been the omega fatty acids. There are 3 main groups: omega 3,6, and 9. However, not all of them are great for your health and, it turns out, is actually rather bad for us.This goes in line with what I had alluded to earlier about our diets. This is massively true with the Western Diet that is killing us!
Omega 6 Fatty Acid
While omega-3 is anti inflammatory, omega-6 is pro-inflammatory and worse still is that we consume it in huge quantities! Omega-6 is known to increase your body's production of inflammatory proteins.The tough thing with omega 6 is that it is essential to good health, so we shouldn't cut it our of our diets totally, but we should keep it in the safe range.Omega-6 has been found as a major cause of low-grade inflammation which as we read above, is the worse kind. This is the inflammation which causes our health to deteriorate over a lengthy period with no or minimal signs.
How Much Omega-6 Should we Consume?
Finding out how much omega-6 to eat is a little complicated, but should really be looked at in terms of how much omega-3 we are getting.Western diets have changed dramatically over a very short period of time. We use to get a 1:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 but not anymore.To sum it up shortly: Consume more Omega 3 and less Omega 6. But to take it farther you should aim to consume 06 to 03 in a maximum of 4:1 ratio. That is 4 omega-6 for each omega-3. This is what I would deem the max, I would actually aim to lower it even more In fact anti aging experts recommend it as low as 1:1. However, I would not go lower than that.There is a lot of important information on this topic so I would highly suggest reading my omega guide here to learn more about this.Omega-6 has never really been an issue for humans in the past, the reason omega-6 is such a problem now is because it is plant based (especially corn). Before the modern food era we couldn't eat a super high level of omega 6's but now we can. This is because it is in nearly everything most of us eat.Omega 6 is in meat and dairy because we feed the cows with corn mostly nowadays, so they have a high amount of it in beef and cows milk (not sure about goat's).Think of everything we consume now that uses "high fructose corn syrup" instead of sugar. Not that sugar is a lot better but it definitely is when compared to corn syrup. But the corn syrup contains omega-6.High fructose corn syrup is in literally EVERYTHING. From soda, to bread, to nearly everything else we buy at the store. This is the major problem.Omega-6 is also found in many of the cooking oils we use, especially at fast food places, most notably are the vegetable oils such as corn. However oils like olive oil and palm oil are significantly better. The best i've seen is coconut oil. Coconut oil has amazing benefits for your health.From wikipedia,
The ratios of omega−6 to omega−3 fatty acids in some common vegetable oils are: canola 2:1, hemp 2–3:1, soybean 7:1, olive 3–13:1, sunflower (no omega−3), flax 1:3, cottonseed (almost no omega−3), peanut (no omega−3), grapeseed oil (almost no omega−3) and corn oil 46:1!
Because of all this corn we are getting artificially, disastrous levels of omega 6, and at the same time we are getting very low amounts of omega-3!In fact, the average American is getting about 20:1! That means we are eating 20 times the amount of omega-6 vs omega 3! The maximum recommended is 4:1, so we are 5 times over what is recommend! It should come to no surprise that chronic low-grade inflammation is at record levels and at the same time our health is wavering. This is pretty serious stuff but luckily because we can identify the problem, we can identify the solution easily.
How to Reduce Low-Grade Inflammation
The solution for this is to eat more omega-3, foods like oily fish (salmon, sardines, anchovies) but I would not eat more than a few servings a week due to heavy metal toxins... Also eggs, milk (grass fed), walnuts etc...However, omega 3 is most easily consumed with a specific supplement and that is how I would guarantee a certain amount, then eat food which contain it as well so we can also get a natural source of O3. Click here to purchase the omega-3 supplement I use daily. Or click here to learn more about omega-3 supplements.Going on an anti-inflammatory diet would be the best way to reduce chronic inflammation, and for sure choosing to eat more anti inflammatory foods even if you can't commit to a specific diet would do wonders for your health and well being.So the real key to reducing inflammation is by lowering the amount of omega-6 you eat, while simultaneously increasing your omega-3 (unless you already take a supplement) as well as eating plenty of antioxidants. Antioxidants are not only anti-inflammatory but they are also essential for your health because they block free radicals.I hope this was an eye opening read and I hope you enjoyed it, if you did please share on social media and comment! I love to hear from you!