After a recent talk I gave – this question was asked “How does inflammation lead to chronic disease?”
Chronic inflammation is a long-term physiologic response – lasting weeks, months, or years – to one or more factors, including exposure to environmental toxins, microbial or viral infection, processes related to aging, or stress, but most often to poor nutrition.
Chronic inflammation is activated when the mechanisms of acute inflammation fail to arrest infection or heal an injury. Left unchecked, prolonged chronic inflammation generates a series of destructive reactions that damages cells and eventually leads to clinical symptoms of disease.
Ultimately, chronic inflammation is a failure of the body’s immune system to maintain a healthy homeostatic state.
Inflammatory Biomarkers include:
Obesity, Metabolic Syndrome, Type 2 Diabetes, Atherosclerosis, Cancer, and Rheumatoid Arthritis
Key Thought – Food Can Reduce Inflammation
Most persons with diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension, and other chronic health problems have high levels of inflammation in their bodies that occur over time when the immune system tries unsuccessfully to repair cells and rid itself of harmful toxins.
The right foods can help reduce the amount of inflammation in the body and improve health. Here are some suggestions for clients and patients on ways to use clean eating to decrease inflammation:
1. Boost your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables. Aim to eat five to seven servings each of fruits and vegetables daily. Choose fruits and vegetables that are deep green, orange, yellow, and purple, since these have the greatest nutritional value. Ten to 14 servings per day may sound like too much, but serving sizes are small: one medium fruit, 1/2 cup frozen fruit, 1/2 cup cooked vegetable, 1/2 cup cut fresh fruit, and 1 cup leafy raw greens.
2. Cook without oil as much as possible sauté with water or veggie broth.. Make a quick and easy dressing using 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 1/2 clove minced garlic, spicy mustard, and 1 T each of chopped fresh parsley and chives. (Use 1/2 tsp dried herbs if fresh herbs aren’t available.)
3. Snack on walnuts instead of chips. Walnuts provide fiber, minerals, antioxidants, and the kinds of fatty acids that are good for your brain and heart.
4. Eat whole grain cereals such as oatmeal or flax flakes for breakfast, and replace refined grains with whole grains, as in choosing brown rice over white rice.
5. Eliminate all animal products – meats, fish, milk, cheese, chicken and eggs.
6. Eliminate fast foods. Cook at home. Make meal time a family focus for health and renewal. Prep in advance, cook more to freeze some, and for lunches later in the week.
7. East more potatoes, especially sweet potatoes. They’re high in vitamins and delicious when baked with a little sea-salt, pepper, garlic, and rosemary.
8. Cut out sugary drinks. Instead drink more water, sparkling water, home-juiced juices, herbal teas and green teas. With lemon wedges.
9. Eat more lentils and beans. They’re good sources of protein and is a great replacement for red meat at meals. Try black beans and brown rice sautéed with onions and garlic and seasoned with cumin.
10. Munch on dark chocolate and fresh raspberries for dessert. Both are loaded with antioxidants. Or try my favorite dessert, frozen bananas with berries and nuts.
If you make these simple changes, you’ll lose weight, your skin will improve, you’ll have more energy, sleep better, and life will continue to get better and better.