Are you on Fire?

© 2014 Dr. Sharon Norling

One of the biggest factors in chronic, low-level inflammation can be the food you eat every day. You are what you eat. So don’t be fast, cheap, easy, or fake. Nutrition is the most important tool for staying mentally and physically fit and is by far the most underused tool. When you think about it, the only way we live and get healthy is by the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat. It’s as simple as that.

Chronic inflammation either causes or exacerbates all major illnesses; cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis, arthritis, heartburn and reflux, mood disorders, insomnia, auto-immune diseases, obesity, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and more. Most, if not all, diseases are related to chronic inflammation.

Acute inflammation is a protective immune response that helps our body fight off infections and repair injuries. Chronic inflammation is when the inflammatory response fails to shut down as it is constantly trying to heal and repair. The immune system is then producing “free radicals” causing oxidative stress. These free radicals damage blood vessels, cell membranes, nerves, joints and multiple tissues in the body. Inflammation is regarded as a risk predictor for metabolic syndrome.

The free radicals not only cause us to age inside but outside as well. According to a recent article published in the Journal of Gerontology June 2014 aging is characterized by a low-grade inflammation now referred to as “inflammaging”. We become wrinkled and damaged. And who needs that?

The good news is inflammation can be reversed. How? Not necessarily by taking an anti-inflammatory pharmaceutical drug, but by first finding out what is the root cause of the inflammation. How can you treat something if you don’t know what is causing it?

If you are suffering from an “itis” you are inflamed. Perhaps you have sinusitis, neuritis (headaches), arthritis (joint pain), myositis (muscle stiffness or pain), esophagitis (heartburn or reflux), or gastroenteritis (irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea, constipation).

Do you have trouble focusing, remembering names and your daily schedule? How about keeping track of objects like your glasses or keys? Do you get easily distracted? Do you feel you are losing the mental clarity that you once had?

Have you asked yourself recently, “Am I losing it?” or “Do I have the beginnings of Alzheimer’s?” The loss of memory and mental sharpness is not a natural part of aging. It is an accumulation of causes, deficiencies, and chronic inflammation through the years.

Certain conditions, such as asthma, allergies, arthritis, and auto-immune disorders, have an obvious inflammatory component. However, chronic, low-level inflammation (sometimes referred to as “systemic” or “silent” inflammation) has now been linked with diseases ranging from heart disease, diabetes, and cancer to depression, Alzheimer’s, and osteoporosis.

Did you know that social rejection, fear, depression all can increase inflammatory markers and cause inflammation which, in turn causes diseases? A study of 124 healthy individuals by Shelly Taylor, PhD at UCLA reported the increase of tumor necrosis factor-alpha and interleukin-6 both know to be bio-markers of inflammatory activity. High sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) is another common bio-marker for inflammation. Have your doctor order these bio-markers for you, your brain and your health!

For the sake of your brain and your health, learn techniques to minimize the effect you permit these stressors to have on you. Delegate, meditate, breathe, and let go of stressors that are other people’s responsibilities. This is good health.

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