As we age, there are many illnesses and diseases we develop – heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, asthma, arthritis, Diabetes, and Alzheimer’s to name just a few. Aging in and of itself is a natural process. What is unnatural are the things that happen to our bodies that cause these conditions to occur – and the fact that more people are developing many of these illnesses at earlier ages than previous generations. One of the key culprits to many of these diseases is as simple as what you eat on a daily basis. Many people know that a balanced diet is essential to good health, but how many people really take this idea seriously? No one has an iron-will or is able to completely avoid unhealthy, processed foods. Temptations are everywhere you look. What if someone were to tell you that most, if not all, major disease conditions are primarily caused by nutrient-deficient diets? Would you believe it?
One of the most common issues people suffer from is an inflammation in the body that is not in response to some direct cause such as a fever or swelling and redness from a wound or cut. Arthritis, which causes painful swelling and joint stiffness, is one example of inflammation that is neither healing nor productive. Another type of inflammation is allergic reactions in the body. The immune system becomes inflamed when it receives improper support (lifestyle choices such as poor diet, lack of exercise, and inadequate sleep) and attacks harmless substances such as animal dander or flower pollen. Both of these inflammations make life miserable and serve no useful purpose. Excessive inflammation increases the risk of various diseases developing over the course of a lifetime such as cancer, Diabetes, Heart Disease, stroke, and high blood pressure.
If a careful examination of modern diets is to be considered, we must be aware of what we are eating that could be causing problems to develop. The consumption of cereal grains and the oils produced from them is higher by human beings today than ever in history. These processed grains contain higher amounts of Omega 6s and 9s than the human body can tolerate. The general trends show that consumption of grass-fed and pasture-raised (traditional farming methods) meats, vegetables and legumes has drastically decreased, and these substances are naturally higher in omega-3 fatty acids. The American diet contains very high concentrations of fatty acids from the Omega 6 and 9 families, such as most processed foods like cereals, crackers, breads, chips, and pasta. Eating such high amounts of these types of foods contributes to an overall increase in inflammation, and thus, disease and illness.
Without a doubt, one of the key factors in minimizing overall inflammatory responses in the body is a healthy diet. To avoid an inflammatory response in the body which causes diseases to develop, here are some tips for making wise eating and lifestyle choices:
- eat a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables
- avoid processed foods and sugar
- eat grass-fed or pasture-raised organic meats and poultry
- consume raw dairy products
- increase intake of omega 3 essential fatty essential acids from healthy sources such as safe source fish, grass-fed meats and game, eggs from pasture-raised hens, butter from grass-fed cows,
- consume a handful of raw nuts such as almonds, walnuts, pecans, or pumpkin seeds daily
- maintain adequate fresh, filtered water intake daily (8 eight-ounce glasses)
- reduce or eliminate alcohol, tobacco, drug, and prescription medication use
- eat fermented foods such as homemade yogurt and kefir from whole, raw milk and sauerkraut, and/or take a quality probiotic
- eat a moderate amount of whole grains, not ground from flour (sprouted is a plus)
- eat local and organic produce, meats, and other foods
- eat raw foods daily, minimize cooking whenever possible – raw foods contribute to an overall alkaline condition in the body which reduces inflammation and therefore, disease
- eat moderate amounts of deep-sea fish (to avoid mercury contamination, these selections are optimal)
- avoid eating out since you have less control over the ingredients in the food you eat
- plan meals ahead of time so you can find quality ingredients and have time to shop for your schedule
- take a quality fiber supplement daily
- Take quality, whole-foods based (not synthetic) nutritional supplements (organic is a plus) that are suited to your individual needs; just buying vitamins at the store doesn’t guarantee delivery of proper nutrients into your system – consult a knowledgeable health care practitioner who can advise you on this very important matter. Good brands to investigate and inquire about are Apex Energetics, Biotics Research, and Standard Process.
- participate in regular, moderate exercise
- obtain between 6 and 8 hours of sleep nightly, and don’t go to bed later than 10:00 p.m.
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For additional information on ideas for reducing inflammation, visit Today’s Dietician.