What causes our bodies to hurt? What allows disease processes to take place? Why do we age? These are common questions – with less commonly known answers. People lose their health for many reasons. We expose our bodies to numerous toxins; we may not eat right; we may smoke; we may work too hard; we may neglect exercise, and we often forget how important it is to play and relax. But, we can reclaim our health when we understand what happened to it, and how to get it back!
Inflammation is involved in almost every disease process. Of the many things that cause health problems, Dr. John Brimhall identified the most common ones. They are referred to as “The Six Interferences to Health.” The following scenarios illustrate how our health easily becomes impacted in a negative way by these interferences.
Accidents or illnesses lead to damage to the physical structure of the body, as well as the nervous system. Inflammation is the result of the body attempting to heal itself. While some inflammation is helpful, excessive inflammation can be devastating and painful.
Commercially prepared foods, fast foods, genetically modified foods, or traditionally unhealthy “comfort foods” full of artificial sugars and/or trans-fats cause inflammation. When your body doesn’t have the nutrition it needs, it cannot repair itself properly.
Unstable or unhealthy emotional states that occur with depression, inappropriate anger, or prolonged stress lead to physical reactions in the body, creating inflammation.
Toxic chemicals and hormones strewn throughout our environment, found even in food, water, and the air, affect all the systems of the body, and lead to unhealthy inflammation.
In an allergic response, the body is over-reacting to foreign proteins that enter the body. This can lead to problems in the respiratory tract, the digestive system, throughout blood vessel walls, and other soft tissues. In an allergic reaction, the miserable symptoms are usually related to inflammation. Although inflammation is an important part of a properly functioning immune system, excessive or prolonged inflammation is a problem.
Electrical magnetic radiation compromises the body’s sensitive electrical system in many ways. Inflammation is created in the body through exposure to cell phones, computers, power lines and other electrical currents.
These Six Interferences affect the health of most Americans on a daily basis, leading to diseases such as asthma, diabetes, hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and skin aging, as well as joint and bone degeneration.
Medical practitioners often utilize a test developed by Dr. Paul Ridker, M.D, which measures a substance in the patient’s blood called C-reactive protein. Since C-reactive protein is only a marker for inflammation and not the cause of inflammation, simply trying to lower CRP levels would be like thinking that covering up the claw marks on your cabin door would get rid of the bears that want to come in for dinner.
In an inflammatory response, our bodies produce chemicals that may also create problems for us. The fact that our bodies produce these chemicals in response to certain conditions is both a curse and a blessing. This production of chemicals is the result of something called gene expression, in which our DNA directs cells to produce what’s needed by our bodies. Our human genes contain the blueprints for everything that has helped us flourish as a species for the last 40,000 years, and everything we’ll need in the future. This is because our gene expression is constantly altered by what we do and how we live our lives. Therefore, we can affect our body’s chemistry with changes to our lifestyle.
Eating the proper foods has been shown to help control the inflammatory response mechanism. According to “Anti-Inflammatory Foods,” by Jack Challem (www.dlife.com), the eleven best anti-inflammatory foods are:
1. Wild caught Salmon and other oily cold-water ocean fish containing high amounts of anti-inflammatory fats called Omega-3’s. Farmed fish that are fed grain pellets have significantly less Omega-3’s.
2. Grass fed beef and other grass fed animals that are high in Omega-3 oils. Animals fed grain have virtually no Omega-3’s.
3. Olive oil, preferably extra virgin, is a good source of oleic acid. According to the 2007 Journal of the American College of Nutrition, olive oil also lowers blood sugar and helps control insulin function.
4. Salads. Dark green lettuce, spinach, tomatoes and other salad veggies are high in Vitamin C and other anti-oxidants that lower inflammation. Use vinegar and oil as a dressing for your salads. Vinegar (organic apple cider) helps moderate blood sugar and is full of helpful enzymes.
5. Cruciferous Vegetables including broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and kale are full of anti-oxidants and also provide sulfur. Your body uses sulfur to produce its own super anti-oxidants, such as glutathione.
6. Cherries. While regular cherries are good, tart cherries have one of the highest anti-oxidant levels of any fruit or vegetable, and they are also very low on the glycemic index.
7. Blueberries. As with all fruits and vegetables with a deep color, this fruit is packed with natural compounds that reduce inflammation. Blueberries also protect the brain from many of the effects of aging.
8. Turmeric. This powerful spice is part of the curry spice blends and has been used as healing food in many countries for centuries. According to the August 2007 Biochemical Pharmacology, Turmeric is packed with natural anti-inflammatory compounds.
9. Ginger. This root plant is related to Turmeric, and may help control blood pressure. Ginger can be made into a tea or poured into a salt bath to reduce pain.
10. Garlic. Garlic is used as a natural antibiotic as well as being an anti-inflammatory food which may also help to control glucose. (Heavy doses of garlic past the point of an ailment may have detrimental effects.)
11. Green Tea. This herb contains natural anti-inflammatory compounds and phyto-nutrient researchers are constantly finding new benefits.
Anti-oxidants and healthy Omega-3’s are the best defense against inflammation that has become out of control. Since all inflammation is not detrimental, you must support your body wisely. When inflammation begins to run rampant in your body, it’s a sign that you need to make changes in your lifestyle. Start by eating healthier and taking better care of yourself; your body will provide you with a good, long life, filled with the joy of being alive. There’s no better life assurance policy than that!
Dr. William H. Karl, D.C.