Published on January 16th, 2016 | by Maryam Safai0
Counteracting Inflammation, Chronic Disease and Aging
For many years, physicians and dentists classified diseases based on which part of the body exhibited dysfunction, pain or physical abnormalities. In recent years, evidence has accumulated showing that many diseases, especially the major chronic diseases of aging, are connected through common biological pathways, so that some diseases may develop together or one disease many influence another. Inflammation is one of the most powerful common pathways which contributes to the development of many oral and systemic diseases. We are able to alleviate inflammation to improve long-term health through improving diet and lifestyle.
Systemic, or chronic, inflammation has a domino effect that can seriously undermine our health. Many experts see inflammation as arising from an immune system response that is out of control. Chronic systemic inflammation is the result of release of pro-inflammatory cytokines from immune-related cells and the chronic activation of the innate immune system.
The current test for inflammation is to measure blood levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a pro-inflammatory marker, and the irritating amino acid homocysteine. The high-sensitivity CRP test is also highly recommended and is available at most labs. Chronic inflammation is linked to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson disease, dementia, heart disease, cancer, depression and skin symptoms.
Digestive distress and acid reflux are signals indicating the gut is inflamed, which itself can contribute to constant fatigue, brain fog, low energy and irritability. Stress, poor diet, lack
of exercise, genetic predisposition and exposure to toxins can all contribute to chronic inflammation.
Learning how specific foods influence the inflammatory process is the best strategy for containing it and reducing long-term disease risks. With an anti-inflammatory diet, we select and prepare specific foods based on how they can help our body to maintain optimum health. Along with influencing inflammation, a natural anti-inflammatory diet will provide steady energy and ample vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, dietary fiber and protective polynutrients. It is advisable to reduce consumption of refined, processed foods with a high glycemic index.
The natural approach to reducing inflammation is to follow an anti-inflammatory diet which consists of ingredients that are also GMO-free, soy-free and gluten-free. In general, aim for variety that includes as much fresh food as possible and minimize consumption of processed foods and fast foods. Reduce consumption of foods made with wheat flour and sugar, especially bread and most packaged snack foods, including chips and pretzels. Eat an abundance of vegetables and fruits with a low glycemic index, such has variety of berries, and avoid products made with high-fructose corn syrup.
Eat more whole grains in which the grain is intact (brown rice and bulgur wheat), which are preferable to whole wheat flour products. Following an anti-inflammatory diet can help counteract the chronic inflammation that is a root cause of many serious diseases.
Maryam Safai, DDS, owns and operates the Center for Dentistry & Functional Medicine, located at 800 Wyckoff Ave., in Wyckoff. For more information, call 201-891-4425 or visit BeautyBySafai.com.