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How Inflammatory is Your Diet?

19 December 2012

Are you aware that the foods you eat every day may be the cause of chronic inflammation in the body and put you at risk for heart disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis and even some forms of dementia?

Basically there are two types of inflammation that can be present in the human body: acute and chronic. Acute inflammation is most often useful, but chronic inflammation is the root cause of many diseases and ailments.

Inflammation is one of the common natural responses the body has to the healing process. Acute inflammation works great for healing a cut or a bruise. The body’s white blood cells and their chemicals get into the affected area, do their job and get out. But too much of a good thing leads to problems. Chronic inflammation will damage, rather than repair, healthy tissues and cells. When inflammation is too intense and/or prolonged, it produces sickness and disease instead of healing.

When your chosen lifestyle includes an unhealthy or poor diet, you’re setting the stage for chronic inflammation to damage your body, establishing a constant irritation, quite possibly throughout the whole body; damaging arteries, which can lead to heart disease or dementia, aggravating tissues and cells, which can lead to cancer, diabetes, or irritating joints and connective tissue resulting in rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

The sad part is chronic inflammation is a silent condition; you may even have chronic inflammation and not know it.

Foods that commonly cause inflammation:

Are you wondering if your diet is high in inflammation-provoking foods yet? Dietary foods that trigger chronic inflammation in the body include many of the fats in meat and dairy products, refined sugars, saturated and hydrogenated oils, processed and fast foods, bleached and enriched grains, fried foods, pastries, plus processed meats like hot dogs and deli items. A specific omega-6 fat, called arachidonic acid, found in most meats, is a particularly potent inflammation promoter. Check your kitchen supplies and throw out these inflammatory foods, then eliminate them completely from your diet.

Additionally, those who are overweight have an increased risk of chronic inflammation. Most possibly this occurs because the body’s fatty tissues store arachidonic acid, increasing the supply of this damaging, inflammatory chemical.

The solution:

Make antioxidant-rich plant-based foods a staple in your diet and eat more vegetables and fruit. The more phytochemical-rich fruits and vegetables you eat, the more you boost your immune system which naturally defends the body against inflammation and disease. Once you develop an appetite for antioxidants, you’ll feel more energy and notice an almost immediate improvement in overall health. Antioxidants are the key to disease prevention and the reduction of inflammation. Extra-virgin olive oil, fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, nuts, whole grains, things like green tea and certain spices (e.g.; turmeric and ginger), prevent much of the tissue damage that would otherwise trigger an inflammatory response. Proper food selection insures that you’re getting the best dietary sources of antioxidants, like vitamin C, beta carotene, and thousands of essential phytonutrients. Antioxidants block free radicals (highly reactive oxygen fragments) that if allowed free reign, would damage the genetic code, cell membranes and proteins, leading to heart disease, cancer, dementia and more.

Additionally, you should also know that no amount of dieting will drastically improve your health unless you also adapt and maintain a healthy lifestyle. You’ll find it very helpful to exercise daily, cut back on stress and reduce your exposure to toxins as much as possible; if you do this, your body will repay you a thousand-fold.

So…What are you waiting for?

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