In a nation obsessed with youthfulness, it is perplexing to find such a large percentage of the population needlessly succumbing to chronic inflammation – a condition known to age the body prematurely. Although willing to spend a great deal of money to artificially and temporarily mask the signs of aging, many seem reluctant to make substantive changes necessary to quell the flames within. These flames can affect all organ systems of the body. In truth, a few simple dietary and lifestyle changes could seriously slow down the biological clock.
The bigger question is this: Why are we all so inflamed?
The surprising thing about inflammation is that it is at the core of virtually every disease. In fact, if you were to look to medical journals in just about any medical specialty you would find numerous articles citing inflammation as the root cause of disease. However, instead of creating patients in need of prescription drugs that too often simply mask, but do nothing to cure, the cause of inflammation, shouldn’t we be looking for the latter?
Inflammation is absolutely critical to survival. Yet it is not meant to burn unchecked. If you suffer from chronic inflammation, your body is sending you a message that you have not yet eliminated the cause of its pain. Inflammation is not an evil interloper needlessly afflicting you with pain, but rather a faithful friend trying to properly warn you that your house is not in order. If you improve your health by finding and eliminating the trigger of inflammation, you are much more likely to see the disease symptom disappear.
Unfortunately, the broader picture of health has grown grotesque under the tutelage of a Western lifestyle, which has turned sedentary, and a diet comprised mainly of processed foods. The American people, even the very young, are like children who are experiencing life on a teeter totter with a 10 ton stone affixed to the opposite side. There is no balance in their lives. Yet, balance is exactly what is needed.
Four steps to help reduce inflammation.
1. Increase consumption of polyphenols. Dark skinned vegetables and fruit are a rich source of polyphenols. These foods have powerful anti-inflammatory capabilities as well as the ability to regulate energy metabolism.
2. Consume healthy oils rich in Omega 3 fatty acids. Opt for oils such as extra-virgin olive oil; include fish from pristine waters; and consume flax and hemp seeds. For situations of chronic inflammation, supplementing with quality fish oil is helpful. These steps will help balance your Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio, thus reducing inflammation.
3. Decrease consumption of red meat and consume more vegetable protein. The high iron content of red meat acts as a catalyst for free radical production in the body.
4. Exercise. Exercise is a very important factor in reducing inflammation. It can reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, depression, and mental decline. It has also been proven to be effective against neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, as well as several forms of cancer.
A cynic might believe drug companies rule the medical profession and merely wish to market a plethora of anti-inflammatory drugs and pain medications rather than to address the core issue of inflammation. Billions can be made because of the collective ignorance of a nation made up largely of unquestioning and trusting patients. The road to health, however, may be far simpler – and cheaper. Heed the warning signs of inflammation in their earliest stages by listening to your body. And then try eliminating the cause of inflammation/disease before medications ever become necessary.
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