Inflammation and You: The Hidden Culprits

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Inflammation, according to WebMD, is defined as “a process by which the body’s white blood cells and substances they produce protect us from infection with foreign organisms, such as bacteria and viruses. However, in some diseases, like arthritis, the body’s defense system (the body’s immune system) triggers an inflammatory response when there are no foreign invaders to fight off.”

Stanford University plans a research on The Role of Secondary Bile Acids in Intestinal Inflammation and states that ‘The cause of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is unknown, but intestinal bacteria-involved in the production of molecules that impact health-are widely accepted to play a key role. And Only a few microbes are known to have the capability to modify primary bile acids (PBAs) made by the liver to secondary bile acids (SBAs). SBAs are some of the most common metabolites in the colon and play key roles in several diseases.

Many healthcare practitioners (doctors practicing medicine) need to take a more serious look into the individual’s health, medicinal history, and diet (specifically what types of foods are eaten and how they are prepared). For example, medications that may cause weight gain, diet (types of foods consumed and food sensitivities), and stress issues (if any). Even reviewing blood tests, the combination of even slightly elevated blood levels may indicate that a more in-depth look should be done with the patient. Not meaning just more tests, but being more involved with the patient’s diet.

Millions of people suffer from some related inflammation problem, and the rate is rapidly growing. Currently, there is no cure, as told by many scientists and physicians. The symptoms can only be treated, meaning easing the pain without curing the cause. The fact is, they don’t know what’s causing inflammation.

I propose the questions of What If. What if the result of inflammation is related to what we consume? What if the very ingredients that provide extended shelf life for the food we purchase are the reason for this onslaught of such an incurable disease? What if…just what if, people become more mindful of the foods they eat and eat a diet that does not include preservatives, processes, high trans fats, and additives?

Let’s go back to what causes inflammation. “However, in some diseases, like arthritis, the body’s defense system (the body’s immune system) triggers an inflammatory response when there are no foreign invaders to fight off.”

Hypothetically speaking, perhaps our bodies are reacting to fight off the very additives and preservatives meant to stabilize food for shelf life.  I mean, there’s much money to be made on the market these days concerning weight loss, fad diets, and supplements, $72 Billion. Whether or not their products work, it still doesn’t resolve WHY people suffer from obesity and inflammation.

According to a report from  Harvard Medical School  Many diseases today are associated to inflammation, including Alzheimer’s, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, heart disease, diabetes and asthma.

Dr. Axe states “There are actually many health conditions that fall into the category of inflammatory diseases such as”:

  • Asthma
  • Heart disease
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Chronic peptic ulcer
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Periodontitis
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Active hepatitis

And the list of foods that cause inflammation within the body, as per Dr. Axe:

  • Sugar: Be careful when reading ingredient labels because sugar can really destroy your body, and it goes by many names including sucrose and fructose,
  • Bad saturated fat like trans fats: Found in fast foods and other fried products, processed snack foods, frozen breakfast products, cookies, donuts, crackers, and most stick margarines.
  • High omega 6 oils and products: Omega-6 fatty acids are essential to the body in moderation, but excess consumption is known to trigger the body to produce pro-inflammatory chemicals. Omega-6 fatty acids are found in oils such as corn, safflower, sunflower, soy, peanut, and vegetable. They’re also found in mayonnaise and many salad dressings.
  • Refined carbohydrates/white flour products: Common food items like bread, rolls, crackers, and cereals often mainly consist of refined carbohydrates that are severely lacking in nutrients and are also high-glycemic-index foods. High-glycemic index foods fuel the creation of advanced glycation end (AGE) products in the body and can trigger inflammation.
  • MSG: This controversial food additive is often found in prepared Asian food, fast foods, soy sauce, prepared soups, salad dressings, and deli meats. MSG can trigger two important pathways of chronic inflammation and negatively impact liver health.
  • Gluten: People with celiac disease absolutely need to avoid gluten. People with a gluten intolerance may find that they have autoimmune reactions and increased inflammation levels when they consume foods with gluten.
  • Casein: Some people with inflammatory issues such as arthritis find improvement in symptoms when they avoid casein, which is found in dairy products.
  • Aspartame: Aspartame is one of several scary artificial sweeteners. As the Arthritis Foundation points out, if you are sensitive a chemical such as aspartame, your immune system may react to this “foreign substance” by attacking the chemical, which then causes an inflammatory response.
  • Alcohol: Alcohol is a burden to the liver. Excessive intake of alcohol is terrible for the liver because not only does it weaken liver function, but it also disturbs other multi-organ interactions in the body and can cause inflammation. To reduce inflammation, it’s best not to consume alcohol or only to do so in moderation (and make healthier choices, which I’ll talk more about shortly).

Now, with this knowledge, let’s take a deeper look into the the possible connection between the Bad Foods and inflammation.

Sugar: The Chemicals used to Bleach Cane Sugar (The White Table Sugar)

  • Sulfur Dioxide is used to bleach cane sugar, and is the chemical when released by factories using fossil fuels can produce acid rain.
  • Phosphoric Acid is added to liquid sugar before evaporation to remove any impurities. This acid is commonly added to carbonated sodas. Phosphoric Acid is a skin and respiratory irritant.
  • Calcium Hydroxide is used to purify raw sugar before it evaporates. Calcium Hydroxide is a poisonous white powder that can cause a variety of adverse effects when ingested, which may include vision loss, severe throat pain, sever skin and eye irritation, bloody stool, vomiting, low blood pressure, organ damage, breathing difficulty and tissue necrosis. Raw Cane sugar does not contain calcium hydroxide.
  • Polyacrylamides are a product of acrylamide, known as a neurotoxin. They can damage male reproductive glands and sweat glands. Polyacrylamides cause eye and skin irritations, urinary incontinence, myalgia, speech disorders, nausea, sweating, numbness and other symptoms that include feeling ‘pins and needles’ throughout the body. Also causes tumors of the lungs, testes, thyroid & adrenal glands in animals.

Trans fats: “The consumption of trans fats causes an increase in levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Increased LDL levels result in the accumulation of fat in blood vessels, which can lead to atherosclerosis, heart disease, and stroke. Trans fats also lower levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, which plays an important role in transporting cholesterol from cells and blood vessels to the liver, where cholesterol is metabolized for excretion. Levels of HDL are inversely correlated with the risk of heart disease, and therefore the depletion of HDL by trans fats increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. In addition, trans fats are associated with an increased risk of type II (adult-onset) diabetes mellitus”.

Refined carbohydrates/white flour products: Bleaching Process includes the following chemicals.

  • Organic peroxides (benzoyl peroxide) Can cause, when ingested, asthmatic wheezing and severe dermatitis of the face, neck and shoulders.
  • Calcium peroxide or Calcium dioxide a nasal irritant.
  • Chlorine – Short term (8hr exposure) severely irritating on contact with moist tissues, such as the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and upper respiratory tract. At low concentrations, chlorine can cause eye and nose irritation, sore throat, and cough. At high exposure levels, irritation of the upper respiratory tract and accumulation of fluid in the lungs (pulmonary edema) contribute to a sensation of choking.
  • Chlorine dioxide– irritation eyes, nose, throat; cough, wheezing, bronchitis, pulmonary edema; chronic bronchitis.
  • Azodicarbonamide– found to cause tumors in female mice when fed in high doses.
  • Nitrogen dioxide– Symptoms – irritation eyes, nose, throat; cough, mucoid frothy sputum, decreased pulmonary function, chronic bronchitis, dyspnea (breathing difficulty); chest pain; pulmonary edema, cyanosis, tachypnea, tachycardia. Eyes, respiratory system, cardiovascular system

When we put the pieces to the puzzle together, we can see what is happening to our bodies and millions of people suffering from inflammatory-related diseases. Adding more medicines to combat the problem is only going to make matters worse. We need to understand the root cause needs to be eliminated.

John and I decided to put my theory to the test a while back. We cut out all processed foods, bleached flour, and sugars. I focused on gut-healthy options, including fermented home-cooked bread and pasta using unbleached flour and unbleached sugars. Concentrate on less meat and more veggies. The results were reasonably good. My chronic indigestion stopped, and I no longer needed the prescription antacids. The joint pain in my shoulders, knees, and hips stopped. In combination, we lost over 50lbs! That was just the beginning.

There’s really some good news in all of this. If we focus on healthy nutrition, whole foods, drop all processed foods (included bleached sugar and flours), our bodies will heal like it’s meant to do. It will take time, so be patient with your body; it’s doing the best it can to help you. Remember, our bodies are fighting a war against the things we have consumed. It’s doing its job…it’s time we WAKE UP and do ours.

Eat healthy for your body. Your body is trying to help you.

The next Blogs are focused on healthy eating and seasonal food therapy! 😊

Be Healthy. Much Love to you all, and until the next blog…EAT HEALTHY!

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