Let’s talk about inflammation. In the short-term, inflammation is your body’s intelligent healing response to an injury. The pain and stiffness associated with inflammation after you stub your toe forces you to protect your foot from further injury while the tissues heal. When inflammation becomes systemic and chronic, it damages your body. In 2004, Time magazine published a special issue about inflammation. Heart disease, cancer, diabetes, chronic pain, thyroid disease, autoimmune conditions, even brain conditions like depression and Alzheimer’s disease have all been linked to chronic inflammation.
Why is chronic inflammation bad? It damages your cells. Chemical signals created during the inflammatory process are called cytokines. When cytokines are elevated, they interfere with normal cellular communication. They can go even further and damage your cellular membranes, which starts you down the path to organ dysfunction and illness.
Would it surprise you to know that what we think of as a “healthy diet” is pro-inflammatory? Doctors, magazines, and websites typically recommend avoiding saturated fat and cholesterol, eating pro-inflammatory polyunsaturated seed oils, and eating grains. Grains, even “heart-healthy” whole grains, contain the pro-inflammatory sugar amylose. In fact, an excess of sugar drives inflammation, which plays a part in developing type 2 diabetes. Sugar is known to feed cancer cells, and it is the damage from high levels of sugar in blood that causes plaque to form in the arteries. So we should really get the message to focus on eating low-sugar, not low-fat!
About the author: Dr. Barbara Kaiser, DC, CCWP, is a wellness-certified family chiropractor at Vital Life Chiropractic in Eagan, Minnesota.