Everyone has been exposed to banging their hand or foot into an object and witnessing the swelling that follows. This swelling is also known as an inflammatory response. The body sends blood to the area of injury and “walls it off” to limit the area of damage. Once the body contains the area of damage, it sends in the “clean up crew” (white blood cells) to get rid of the damaged tissue and provide the groundwork for repair. Swelling reduces to normal and complete function is returned. This is the basic story of inflammation that most people understand.
What about systemic inflammation? This is a process where the whole body undergoes an inflammatory response. There are several reasons this can happen, but FOOD is a primary culprit for this condition. One of the biggest differences between hand and foot inflammation vs. systemic inflammation is that one is visible and the other isn’t (in many cases.) Hand and foot inflammation is likely painful; systemic inflammation may have NO EARLY SYMPTOMS. This is a major reason why systemic inflammation is so dangerous. It can develop gradually over time, or develop as an acute condition with potentially life threatening ramifications. Here we have another condition that typically produces NO SYMPTOMS (early on) , yet creates both minor and major health problems most people are unaware of. Some of these conditions include:
The intestines cover an enormous amount of area in a confined region of the body. It has been estimated that the intestines unrolled could cover an area equalling 2 football fields. In addition to its compact size, it is separated from its blood supply by only 1 cell layer of tissue. This is important because this 1 cell layer permits the absorption of nutrients and prevents toxic substances from entering the bloodstream. Certain types of food damage this single cell layer lining the intestines. When this occurs the body creates an inflammatory response (similar to the damaged hand or foot) to “wall off” the damaged area. Internal “swelling” occurs, however, this swelling does not have to produce the pain that the hand or foot causes. Therefore, most people are unaware a problem (at this time) exists. This is a beautiful example of how the body heals itself without outside assistance. Unfortunately, the lack of symptoms results in continued consumption of foods that lead to chronic inflammatory changes in the intestines. As the 1 cell layer lining becomes damaged, toxic substances leach (leak) out into the bloodstream which circulates throughout the body. These toxic substances have the ability to target any organ in the body. As these substances reach the heart, lungs, pancreas, gall bladder, liver, etc… they produce damaging effects on these organs. These damaging effects lead to inflammatory changes everywhere these toxic substances attack. The immune system attempts to fight back to help keep the body from showing signs of illness and disease. Just like any army spread to thinly, there are not enough forces to effectively win the various battles. As we continue to consume the foods that cause this damage, we eventually begin to lose the war. After significant damage has occurred, the brain alerts the body that it is unable to address the problems without assistance. PAIN and organ dysfunction (ex constipation, gall stones, kidney stones, changes in heart function, immune compromise, infections, etc…) begins to surface.
What is the underlying CAUSE of all these problems in the above example? FOOD!How are these health compromises usually addressed? MEDICATIONS. Are you beginning to see the problem? Medication may be needed to help reduce the symptoms and stabilize the patient, but (in this case) they do NOT provide the answers to FIXING THE PROBLEM. Prolonged use of medications under these circumstances typically exacerbate the problem. What is the answer? Avoid foods that cause inflammatory responses. It’s that simple. Unfortunately, people seem to like inflammatory foods that cause serious complications to our health. Once again, the answer is moderation. I ALWAYS encourage people to eat what their bodies need FIRST, followed by what their brain and mouths want. If you follow this REALISTIC rule, you will likely be able to continue to consume the foods you like while providing the essential nutrients your body needs. This typically results in a healthier outcome WITHOUT DEPRIVATION.
Dr. Auger has been kind enough to provide a list of foods that CAUSE INFLAMMATION as well as a list that PREVENTS INFLAMMATION. To see this list, please click on the link in BLUE. It is a PDF file so you will need the acrobat reader.
If YOU are the cause of your own health maladies, YOU can also be the SOLUTION. If you have been saying for several years that you need to change your lifestyle, here is an opportunity to place your thoughts into ACTION. Don’t be like the typical person that needs to suffer PAIN and other SYMPTOMS before they wise up. Modifying one’s dietary habits is less threatening and more achievable than abstaining from all unhealthy foods. The good news is you will absolutely feel better over time.
In the comment area, please leave a message if you are willing to start this process. As people read the comments, it helps motivate others to “see the light.” Supporting each other is the kindest thing you can do for YOURSELF.
(Side Note:) Reducing your intake of processed foods, sugar, as well as other sources of foods that cause inflammation CAN CAUSE a response similar to withdrawal early on. Detoxifying one’s system forces the body to work harder. This possible reaction will dissipate as you continue to feed yourself the nutrients your body needs.