For many years, researchers have suspected a link between low-grade chronic inflammation and many critical diseases. Numerous studies have pointed to it and now one, in particular, may finally provide the evidence needed to prove it.[i]
Ten thousand subjects were tested with an anti-inflammatory drug to see if it would lower the rate of heart disease. It did. But the surprise was that it also reduced lung cancer mortality by more than 77% and reports of gout and arthritis!
I’ve read many articles regarding the ill effects of low-grade inflammation in the body, but none was as succinct and as simple to understand than The Cure for EVERYTHING, in a recent AARP Bulletin. I think the information is worth sharing:
Two Kinds of Inflammation
Not all inflammation is bad. On the contrary, acute inflammation is a necessary part of the healing process our bodies innately know to call upon in the event of injury or trauma to the body.
If you sprain an ankle and it swells up, or you cut your hand resulting in pain and redness, or become infected with a flu virus that causes a fever to spike – these are all signs that your body is responding to the need for healing chemicals to be released to help remedy the situation. Once the condition improves, the inflammatory process ends. All good.
And then there is acute inflammation’s troublesome cousin – chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is caused by a misfiring of the immune system that keeps the body in a constant state of alert.
The danger with existing in this chronic state of inflammatory alertness is that eventually all healthy cells in the body are damaged.
The culprits in this destructive attack are the neutrophils, the second line of defense that the body releases when inflammation just won’t go away. They are referred to as the ‘hand grenades of the immune system’. And for good reason. They destroy all cells, not just sick or damaged ones, but healthy ones as well.
The linings of your arteries or intestines are attacked, as well as the tissue in your brain, pancreas, liver, muscles, and joints. Cellular damage can trigger diseases such as diabetes, dementia, heart disease, cancer, arthritis, and depression.
Nothing to sneeze at.
Reducing Chronic Inflammation
There is a lot written about diet and lifestyle choices that affect the level of inflammation in the body. Suffice to say, it is worth investigating for yourself and implementing some of what is suggested. Remember that internal inflammation is not something we can see or even feel, even though it may silently be mounting a lethal attack on our tissues.
Here are some commonly-referenced suggestions for lowering a chronically inflamed environment in the body:
- Eat plenty of anti-inflammatory foods, such as cold-water fish (salmon and tuna are examples), tofu, walnuts, flax seeds, soybeans, garlic, olive oil, black tea, ginger, rosemary, and turmeric. Load up on fruits and veggies.
- Cut back or eliminate foods that create inflammation: red meat, and anything with trans fats, such as margarine, corn oil, deep-fried foods, and most processed foods.
- Control sugar intake. Avoiding ‘white foods’ will do much to cut out the highly-refined simple carbohydrates that spike blood sugar and play havoc on the pancreas.
- Exercise regularly. Do anything – something – doesn’t matter what. Exercise helps to prevent inflammation.
- Manage your weight. Excess weight carries with it more inflammation.
- And, finally, manage your stress. Living with chronic stress releases a cascade of hormones in the body that inflame and damage our body’s tissues.
Make stress reduction a regular part of your healthcare strategy. Pick your medicine: meditation, yoga, walks in nature, intentional breathing, tub soaks by candlelight, and of course, reflexology and massage.
The above measures will pay off over time. Your health will improve, and you will reduce the risk of chronic disease.
[i] ‘The Cure for EVERYTHING’; AARP Bulletin November 2019