INFLAMATION AND HEALTH
Inflammation is a general response from our bodies as a result of exposure to pathogens, cuts, and other external causes. There are two kind of inflammation, acute and chronic. Acute is beneficial because it acts as a line defense pertaining to our bodies. It is short lived and results in the elimination or resolution of whatever condition that precipitated it. The three general aspects of what happens during the acute inflammation start at the dilation and increased permeability of blood vessels, so phagocytes (type of white blood cells that engulf pathogens) can migrate to the affected area to do their job, and then tissue repair follows. In spite of the benefits that come from acute inflammation from a microscopic point of view, chronic inflammation can cause damage to tissues resulting in disease or death. The food that we eat is information to our cells. Healthy food allows them to work properly; however, unhealthy food will contribute to poor cellular function that can damage the body and its tissues with inflammation. Furthermore, chemicals, additives and toxins change the cell function.
Andrew Weil, MD, explains that the events that turn on inflammatory responses are not only microbial invasion or injuries as explained previously but also the diet. When inflammation is not resolved, it turns into chronic cellular inflammation leading to fibrosis. Moreover, chronic diseases associated with cellular Inflammation are: obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s asthma, allergies, inflammatory conditions (“itis”). Moreover, food triggers the release of inflammatory molecules and antibodies IgE, IgG, and IgA.
The ways to reduce cellular inflammation are avoiding high glycemic foods like soft drinks, juices, foods made with white flower and processed sugar, candy, cookies, ice cream, etc. Instead have a balance diet of protein and a low glycemic index food. Glycemic Index refers to a number that gives you an idea about how fast your body converts the carbs in a food into glucose. Moreover, two foods with the same amount of carbohydrates can have different glycemic index numbers. The smaller the number, the less impact the food has on your blood sugar. For example: 55 or less is considered low, so it is in the good category. 56-69 fall in the category of medium and 70 or higher is considered bad because it is too high.
Starting with low-fat protein, examples: Fish and seafood (wild Alaskan salmon, Alaskan black cod, herring, sardines) Legumes: beans (anasazi, adzuki), peas (black, chickpeas, black-eyed peas), lentils soy foods: edamame, tempeh, tofu, soymilk, soy nuts Nuts and seeds (almonds, walnuts, hemp, flax, chia).
Colorful carbohydrates, examples: Barley, basmati rice, brown rice, buckwheat, groats, quinoa, steel-cut oats, and wild rice. Vegetables, Dark leafy greens (spinach, collard greens, kale, swiss chard), cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, bok choy), carrots, beets, onions, peas, squashes, sea vegetables, Asian mushrooms. Low glycemic fruits like raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, peaches, nectarines, oranges, pink grapefruit, red grapes, plums, pomegranates, blackberries, cherries, apples, and pears. Also healthy fats such as low doses of omega-6, saturated fats, extra virgin olive oil, and expeller-pressed organic, canola oil, walnut oil, hazelnut oil, organic expeller-pressed high oleic, and sunflower or safflower oil. Plus healthy sweets like plain dark chocolate (at least 70 % pure cocoa), raw cacao and pure water.
Furthermore, the Mediterranean diet is the blueprint for hormonal balance and the anti-inflammatory supplements are fish oil and polyphenols. Fish oil has many benefits to combat heart disease, cancer, depression, attention deficit disorder, multiple sclerosis, brain trauma, Alzheimer’s, chronic pain, osteoporosis, skin disorders, fertility, and fat loss. Inflammatory genes can be turned on and off based on the quality of your diet.