The Health Series: Inflammation and Your Health
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The Health Series: Inflammation and Your Health

This article should not be construed as medical advice, but is provided for informational purposes only.

Have you noticed what's popular for Thanksgiving this year? I saw bacon-wrapped turkey, for Pete's sake. Remember Twinkies? There was an over-the-top craze of batter-dipping and deep-frying them. I remember when chili cheese fries were big. As if that were not enough, people were pouring ranch salad dressing on them. These "delicacies" were called heart attack specials for a reason. Connoisseurs of this fine dining laughed and scoffed at people who warned them about the dangers of eating foods like these, at least, until they were faced with life threatening health conditions.It certainly is no laughing matter.

The foods we eat, among other things, leads to chronic inflammation. Essentially, if you can wear a t-shirt, shorts, and sandals and be comfortable in the winter, you probably have chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation is a raging fire which will eventually consume you.



What is inflammation and what causes it?

Inflammation is our bodies' response to injury or intruding bacteria and viruses. White blood cells and prostoglandins are our security system that helps us heal from and injury, get well from a virus, and fight infection. Our bodies heat up in the midst of the battle. However, chronic inflammation has serious consequences.

There are several causes of inflammation. An injury signals the body that it needs healing. Toxins, allergens, and irritants signal the body to protect against potential damage caused by these invaders. These are acute, meaning quick and temporary. However, when we continue to ingest foods and other toxic substances, like nicotine, or let an illness continue unchecked, our bodies are in a constant battle against the invaders.We never truly "heal". If our bodies are constantly at war with something, it can lead to health consequences, many which can be fatal.


What health conditions result from chronic inflammation?

When the war against invaders continues for the long-haul, the wear and tear on the body begins to show. Just like a war can lead to devastation of a country with irreparable damage to it's economy, stress toll on the people, and the overall structure of cities laid to waste, our bodies pay a huge price for what we decide to eat, smoke, or breathe in.

Coronary disease

Our arteries, veins, and heart, the life-sustaining transport system, becomes wrecked. Calcification and plaque build-up reduce blood flow and increase blood pressure, much like lanes of a highway permanently closed causes traffic jams and accidents. Heart attack, stroke, congestive heart failure, and thrombosis are serious, life threatening conditions that can be easily avoided.



Cancer

Many, but not all cancers, are caused when inflammation damages the stop codon in our DNA. You've probably encountered instances when there is a power outage and several stop lights are disabled. Even though people are supposed to treat them like a 4-way stop, taking turns to go, they often don't stop and cause major accidents. Those stop codons, when disabled, cause uncontrolled cell generation. Cancer is uncontrolled generation of damaged cells which hoard blood, then die off (necrosis). Sun damage causes skin cancer. Smoking causes lung cancer. Eating high saturated fat, high refined carb diets lead to stomach and colon cancer. Heeding the warnings about avoiding cancers that result from lifestyle choices is a literal lifesaver.

Autoimmune diseases

Many autoimmune diseases can be triggered by chronic inflammation, causing "friendly fire" against one's own body. Thyroid disease is a good example. Certain factors make people more susceptible than others, though. Many autoimmune diseases run in families. Other triggers for these diseases include viruses, infections, chronic allergic reactions, and traumatic events. Eating foods with balanced nutrition and no inflammatory qualities can help prevent many of these conditions.

Other Health Risks

Alzheimers, mood disorders, pancreatitis, diverticulitis, polycystic ovarian disease, and some blood disorders can be caused by chronic inflammation, too.

How can I avoid these health conditions?

Eating crazy turkey recipes like deep fried turkey isn't going to do you in if you eat healthy the other 364 days in the year. However, it is certainly better to not even indulge in such a fat laden, high carb meal. High doses of sodium, preservatives, hydrogenated oils, saturated fats are heavy hitters to our body systems. It is best to follow a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, dark green leafy vegetables, berries and oranges,  olive oil, nuts like almonds and walnuts, and fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel.


Get moving. Cardio exercise is helpful to combat inflammation by  reducing inflammatory markers and boosts anti-inflammatory chemicals in the body to improve health, pain levels, and mobility. Diet and exercise are crucial in this raging war.

Chronic infections, regular allergic reactions,and uncontrolled autoimmune disorders can also be a very big problem. it is important to take care of health issues before they take a toll on your body by attacking internal organs. Call a cease fire on the war raging in your body and allow healing to begin.

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