Does Eating Organic Help Reduce Inflammation?
These days the big wave in the health industry is to eat organic, and while many brush it off as just as the newest hip fad, for many it is either a way of life or health standard to strive for. I personally fall into this latter category, for the following reasons:
1) What we now call 'organic' was the standard no more than 50-60 years ago, which is when mass-produced processed foods (and many major diseases such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes) really began their meteoric rise in western society.
2) Organic foods help balance the Omega-6: Omega-3 ratio in our bodies. The ideal ratio is around 3:1 but most Americans are around 20:1 or even 50:1 in some studies. This is due to the abnormally high omega 6 content in unhealthy and processed foods. In other words, we have obtained this imbalance by not eating real, naturally grown food.
3) The Omega 6: Omega 3 ratio is also crucial to keeping chronic inflammation down. This form of systemic inflammation is now making its forefront in medical circles as one of the main causal factors in major health diseases these days.
4) Eating organic eliminates or greatly reduces our bodily exposure to thousands of chemicals, hormones, antibiotics and more that are found in modern, processed foods. Personally, when I eat organic, I remind myself that Im eating real food, instead of pink slime-laden ground beef or ammonia-washed chicken. Chronic inflammation 101
There are 2 types of inflammation -- acute (good) and chronic (really bad).
Acute inflammation is the type that our body needs and uses to protect us...from ourselves. This form of inflammation occurs when the body responds after sprains, bruises, cuts, etc. by swelling up and making the area painful so you don't use it, which gives it time to heal.
The opposite is low-level, chronic inflammation, and this is the real killer in hiding. In an all-too-common scenario, the body is steadily in repair mode against what it perceives to be foreign invaders (chemicals, toxins, etc. from unhealthy foods and lifestyle factors). Tissue is being broken down and repaired on a constant basis until the inflammation is removed. At the same time, free radicals are dispersed to fight in the inflammation -- this is OK for acute trauma, but with chronic inflammation, we then have these detrimental free radicals constantly flowing through our system and eventually breaking down healthy cells and good DNA. And as our unhealthy diets continue, the inflammation never goes away and the body is stuck constantly using up its precious resources and defenses. In the shorter-term, this can open up the body to frequent sickness and a host of ailments. Over the long-term, this chronic, system-wide inflammation can have severe consequences on our health and wellness (studies have shown inflammation to be a causal factor in cardiovascular disease, diabetes, atherosclerosis, some cancers, etc.).
The Omega-6: Omega-3 Fatty Acid Ratio
In reference to the Omega-6: Omega-3 ratio, typical Westerners have a ratio somewhere around 20:1, whereas the ideal ratio is between 4:1 and 2:1. Omega 6's are the unhealthy fats found in heavily processed foods, refined grains, commercially raised meats, and many often-used cooking oils (soybean, vegetable, corn, sunflower, etc
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