How To Protect Yourself Against Chronic Inflammation (What Time Magazine Calls A "Secret Killer")
If you want to know a "secret" way to live longer and feel better...then this will be the most important chapter you'll ever read.
We've discussed this topic a few times already, but we're going to get into the nitty-gritty here.
Well, inflammation - or chronic inflammation, to be exact - is the #1 underlying cause of ALL MAJOR DISEASE.
What that means is:
- You can be in perfect shape
- You can eat what "sounds like" healthy food
- You can work out 7 days a week
- You can be the healthiest girl or guy you know
And you can still drop dead from complications of inflammation.
And it can come right out of the blue.
I don't mean to scare you, but it's true.
And very few people even know about it.
Why do you think so many skinny, non-smoking, otherwise "healthy" people end up with heart disease, cancer or various other diseases?
And why do you think there are some who are CLEARLY out of shape, but can go on living life with few serious health issues?
These are not just some mystical, "magical", unpreventable diseases.
There are millions of people (and hundreds of thousands of traditional civilizations) worldwide who live healthy and happy lives with even coming close to experiencing these diseases.
And there are millions of people in our modern, Western civilizations who get by without even a hint of disease.
Sure, some of these people have good genes. But to disregard the effects of our diet/lifestyles and environmental surroundings would be ridiculous.
You see, there's a reason why these are called "modern diseases" or "diseases of civilization".
Basically, most of these diseases got really serious, and grew en masse within the last 100 years or so, all around westernized civilizations.
And these westernized civilizations, as you may have realized, were in relative states of
prosperity, and therefore had easy access to rich, tasty foods, and massive convenience (which means less movement/activity).
And excess food consumption and reduced activity (leading to various problems beyond
obesity...such as unclean liver and kidneys, and massive toxin overload) are two of the main factors that tie into massive inflammation. Chronic stress rounds out the top three.
The truth is: if you understand how chronic inflammation is related to weight gain, gut
inflammation, GI issues, and various major diseases, you'll be miles ahead of the health "game".
And you'll have mastered a principle of longevity that most conventional doctors don't
It's not necessarily that conventional doctors don't believe in chronic inflammation. It's just that many doctors are specialists. So their knowledge is focused on what's happening in the lungs for asthma, what's happening in the joints for arthritis or what's happening in the GI tract.
They don't look beyond that one organ or that one area of specialty to see the entire picture of your health.
And even if these doctors aren't specialists, many have received an "improper" medical
education. By improper, I mean they weren't taught much about 2 vital health concepts: proper nutrition, and the benefits of natural living (including movement, stress relief, adaptogenic and anti-inflammatory herbs, etc.)
I understand that there are some skeptics to these ideas, but the fact of the matter is: traditional cultures have followed proper nutrition and natural living practices for hundreds upon thousands of years.
Who are we to come along and complain about poor health after paying ZERO attention to what has already worked successfully for over 4,000 years?
That's why you have to really piece together all the puzzle parts to get well. And it all ties together with one concept - chronic inflammation.
Thankfully, proactive researches and (some) doctors are coming to an understanding that chronic inflammation plays a MAJOR role, if not the most important role, in the development of various modern diseases.
Let's start with the basics:
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. It's known as the "good" inflammation, and we would essentially be screwed without it.
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 flowing through our system 24/7 and eventually breaking down healthy cells and good DNA.
As our unhealthy lifestyles 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.)
To understand the battle on a much more detailed level, you'll have to understand a bit on the connection between cytokines and inflammation.
Good immune function is basically a happy balance between pro-inflammatory cells and anti-inflammatory cells of the immune system.
In scientific terms, it's a healthy balance between T helper 1 cells and T helper 2 cells.
When inflammation rears its ugly head, tons of T helper 1 cells are produced along with their pro-inflammatory cytokines.
And what are cytokines, you ask?
Well, a cytokine is a molecular messenger, made of protein, that runs between cells. The cytokine brings a message to immune cells telling them how to regulate your body's response to infection and disease.
One of the three different types of cytokines are immunoregulatory/pro-inflammatory cytokines, of which there are three sub-types:
Now, our cells generally release any and all cytokines into the bloodstream or into the tissues.
Once released, they locate and bind to target immune cells.
When things are running smoothly, this process will happen naturally and at a normal/moderate level. The cytokines will bind to its target immune cells and the body can effectively fight damage to cells, stop infection, and more. (This same process also happens in short, intense bursts when there's an acute pain/injury for example).
Unfortunately, there is often a major overproduction of these pro-inflammatory cytokines.
This is the chronic, system-wide inflammation that we have to reduce or eliminate for optimal health, weight loss and longevity.
This "killer" inflammation is the long-term inflammatory response that occurs when the body is constantly forced to respond to threats to its well-being and sense of balance.
This brings us to...
The 4 Primary Causes of Chronic, System-Wide Inflammation
1. Poor, nutrient-deficient diets
a. Insufficient phytonutrients and anti-inflammatory compounds from foods and herbs
b. Exposure to food allergens and anti-nutrients
c. Excessive calorie intake (also causing obesity, high cholesterol, etc.)
d. Long-term exposure to "macronutrient-bashing" diets such as zero-carb, zero-fat, low protein, etc.
2. Excessive stress from all angles
a. Financial stress, marital or family stress, job stress, etc, in addition to various toxins and other imbalances is incredibly taxing on the body.
b. The liver, gut and adrenals must reduce chronic stressors first, meaning they can't focus on detox, burning fat, reducing inflammation, etc.)
3. Sedentary lifestyles and lack of frequent movement
a. Too much time spent at the desk or couch
b. "Weekend warrior" status i.e. only getting activity/workouts on the weekend
c. "Bare minimum" exercise i.e. 2-3 workouts, for 30-45 minutes, and very little movement or walking, otherwise
4. Excessive toxin/chemical intake
a. Some types are: heavy metals, chemicals, insecticides/pesticides, mold, parabens, etc
b. Not just in food, but also in water, indoor air, environment, skin care/hair care products, etc.
c. When high toxin intake mixes with poor diets, you have a recipe for disaster.
i. Poor diets, over time, cause a thinning in the digestive tract lining. This makes it easier for chemicals, toxins, and other foreign invaders to find a way "in", after which they go about disrupting cell metabolism, destroying DNA and more.
Side note: It should be noted that, beyond these 4 major issues, inflammation can sometimes be caused by hidden infections, such as Lyme's disease, mononucleosis, gum disease, etc. It's rare but it's a possibility. If you suspect anything is wrong, no worries - just find a savvy doctor who knows how to treat them once and for all.
Without proper attention to ALL of these factors, you're at high risk of having a body rampant with inflammation, cell damage and tissue destruction.
And while it's hard to visualize those "internal" issues, it's much easier to visualize the external results:
- Excess fat, especially around the belly and love handles (aka fat that is "subcutaneous"/under the skin)
- Even worse, you're likely to build up "visceral fat" which is the deadly fat that you can't see surrounding your vital organs.
- Visceral fat is a common, often deadly problem with otherwise healthy, skinny people who eat unhealthy foods and workout rarely.
- Chronic joint pain and muscle pain
- Autoimmune issues (such as rheumatoid arthritis and more)
- Celiac disease (and gluten intolerance)
- Acne and dull, dry skin
- In the long-term, inflammation can cause:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Various cancers
- And more...
Honestly, the list can go on for a while.
The simple truth is, inflammation on a chronic level is the primary cause of most major health issues.
And putting a simple clamp on the issue with a pharmaceutical drug, "miracle" cream, or crash diet isn't the answer.
Rather, a comprehensive plan that directly targets the CAUSES (diet, exercise, stress, and toxins) should stop the primary offenders in no time.
Essentially, we can "win" by keeping the 4 causes of inflammation in mind, and doing the exact opposite.
Interested in losing weight? Then click below to see the exact steps I took to lose weight and keep it off for good...
Moving forward, there are several other articles/topics I'll share so you can lose weight even faster, and feel great doing it.
Below is a list of these topics and you can use this Table of Contents to jump to the part that interests you the most.