The Silent Path To Sickness And Early Death: Chronic Low-Grade Inflammation
Now hold on for a minute. I’m not talking about the swelling resulting from twisting your ankle here. That would be called acute inflammation and is often painful. What I am referring to is a silent inflammation that attacks tissues on a cellular level. This has been shown to increase one’s risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, joint pain, muscle aches, memory issues, and more. A major source of chronic inflammation is due to lifestyle, more specifically nutrition.
In our society the typical diet is full of processed foods consisting of lots of unhealthy fats from vegetable oils and conventionally raised meats. We all know and have heard numerous times that what we eat is important. However, rarely are we told why. So here I go.
Every one of us is made of cells. I know you know this, stay with me. Each cell has a membrane wall that keeps all the stuff it needs inside and the stuff it doesn’t outside. This membrane is made of fat. By consuming fats from healthy sources, the body will use those fats to make healthy cell walls. When this occurs, nutrients can get in the cells, and waste products can get out along with other items the cell produces to be used elsewhere in the body.
When one eats bad fats, which basically occur in almost all processed foods, the cell membrane does not function well for the transport of nutrients, waste products, and other items. Over time, this creates silent low-grade inflammation.
It would be easy to just say, “Eat better and you’ll be fine.” But what does that mean? A full answer to that question has been the topic of countless books on nutrition and diet, so don’t plan on a simple A-B-C list here, but I can share with you a couple places to begin.
First, clean up the fats and oils you consume. Stop using vegetable oils, canola oil, and conventionally raised meats. Switch to healthy fat sources like coconut oil, avocado, raw nuts and seeds, organic grass-finished beef, wild caught salmon, etc.
Sometimes a person’s diet has been bad for so long that adding supplements may be necessary to help the body get back on track. The most commonly known supplement is fish oil. Our bodies need various types of fat. The term ‘omega’ is often used. There should be a healthy ratio of Omega 6 fatty acids to Omega 3 fatty acids. Processed foods are extremely high in omega 6s. Thus, by adding more omega 3s, the balance can be restored. Fish oils are high in omega 3 fatty acids.
The second thing you can do is move more. Yes, I know I listed nutrition as the key at the beginning but keep reading. If our body is already experiencing chronic low-grade inflammation, adding fish oil is not going to be enough to ‘right the ship.’ Changing one’s diet is good, but the body has to get moving.
Start with a short walk and build up your distance over time. Go to a gym and work with a trainer or take an exercise class. Find something you enjoy doing, then do it. This will help jump start your transformation and may prove to be fun as well!
A final thing to consider is your spine and nervous system. You can eat the best foods and take the fanciest supplements, but if your body is not able to fully use those items it becomes a very expensive waste of money. The brain and body need to be able to communicate back and forth through the nervous system. If there is interference in that communication, the body will not work to the best of its ability. Be sure to add a visit to the chiropractor to make sure your body is functioning at its best.
Dr. Dan Miller has been serving the Beaverton area since 1992. He has long held the belief that good health begins before birth. For more information, visit his website at: www.BeavertonFamilyChiropractic.com