Published on March 31st, 2020 | by Dr. Doug Pucci0
Reversing and Reducing Chronic Inflammation
Asking a variety of people what single cause is the root of most diseases, disorders, and discomforts provides an array of answers ranging from genes and habits to stress and diet to lack of exercise, inactivity and more. And while those factors certainly have negative impacts on health, science is now confirming what functional medicine doctors have known for quite a while: inflammation is at the root of most chronic health problems, including arthritis and Alzheimer’s, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Chronic inflammation differs from acute inflammation—acute is the body’s healthy short-term response to injury or infection, whereas chronic inflammation happens below the surface when the immune system perceives a threat that isn’t there and stays on high alert for a long period of time. Many of these so-called lifestyle diseases can worsen over time, and the side effects become quite painful or debilitating. They include cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, depression, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, arthritis or RA, asthma, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), autoimmune diseases and neurodegenerative diseases.
These are just some examples of the health risks chronic inflammation can cause. This type of inflammation is typically caused by environmental toxins, chronic stress, poor detoxification and imbalances in carbohydrate and/or lipid metabolism or similar metabolic factors. Inflammation also tends to increase with age but not inevitable.
As we get older, we inevitably accumulate cellular damage and our bodies tend to have higher levels of certain inflammatory proteins and are less able to clear out damage and toxins. Their continued buildup can result in organ function decline and damage, as well as tissue dysfunction and chronic diseases. In the past, it was thought that the blood-brain barrier protected the brain from inflammatory proteins, but science has now shown that those proteins cause autoimmune reactions in the brain, too, leading to health issues like depression, Alzheimer’s, autism and poor memory. A study published in by the National Institutes of Health states, “Systemic increases in inflammation is believed to contribute to increased disease prevalence and severity during aging.”
Changes to diet and lifestyle play a huge role in chronic inflammation—by altering ingrained habits at any age, one can reduce, reverse or prevent chronic inflammation. While chronic inflammation is a common factor in age-related diseases, there are plenty of things we can do to help stop or reverse inflammation. This can minimize our risk of developing these diseases and potentially let us live longer, healthier, more active lives.
Things like quitting smoking, reducing stress and getting regular exercise to help flush toxins are obvious good steps and beneficial in many ways. Rarely, though, are those the first step. What we put into our mouths has a direct effect on energy, mood and inflammation. It’s just as important to know which foods cause inflammation as it is to understand which ones prevent or reduce it.
Foods that cause inflammation include added sugars (pastries, sodas, sports and energy drinks, candy, etc.), processed grains, including cereal grains, starchy white foods such as white bread, white rice, white potatoes, processed meats like bacon, sausage, hot dogs, most deli meats, all processed foods, fast foods, fried foods, margarine and trans fats from modern oils (corn, vegetable, peanut, etc.).
Foods that fight inflammation include leafy greens (the darker the better), omega-3-rich fatty seafood and shellfish, certain seeds and tree nuts, like walnuts, flax and hemp seeds, fresh fruits, including apples, blueberries, cherries and pineapple, fresh vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, ginger, turmeric and cinnamon.
Don’t just think of these measures as something to do when the time comes, or next year, or if it starts happening again. The best time to start is now, at whatever stage of life, and to give our bodies and ourselves the best advantage to avoid unnecessary suffering and damage.
Dr. Doug Pucci adheres to a functional medicine approach and believes in treating underlying, root causes of disease using nutrition, advanced testing and hands-on clinical expertise. For more information, call 201-261-5430 or visit GetWell-Now.com. His free Thyroid Report is available at ThyroidRecoveryFormula.com.