More and more researchers now believe that inflammation is the cause of all chronic disease including asthma, arthritis, acne, diabetes, heart disease, migraines, Alzheimer’s and even cancer. Even aging is now believed to be rooted in inflammation.
Some doctors have been saying this for decades such as the guru of research-based healthy living, Dr. Andrew Weil. He’s championed an “Anti-Inflammation Diet” based on the Mediterranean Diet (fish, fresh fruits and veggies, nuts, whole grains, olive oil and red wine) with an emphasis on reducing sugar and processed flour.
What Is Inflammation
Let’s look at heart disease to help us understand inflammation, and to a recent influential article by the respected heart surgeon, Dr. Dwight Lundell. He starts out by saying that when it comes to heart disease, fat and cholesterol are not the bad guys!
The real culprit is inflammation, and this is not theory, but hard proven fact! Even more shocking is that low cholesterol and low fat diets are not only unhelpful, they’re harmful! Here what he says about these diets, “The long-established dietary recommendations have created epidemics of obesity and diabetes, the consequences of which dwarf any historical plague in terms of mortality, human suffering and dire economic consequences.”
This is fact stated by an experienced heart surgeon, not another health food blogger! Dr. Lundell goes on to say, “Despite the fact that 25% of the population takes expensive statin medications and...we have reduced the fat content of our diets, more Americans will die this year of heart disease than ever before.”
The Truth About Cholesterol
It is inflammation that causes cholesterol to stick to and clog our arteries. When inflammation is not present, cholesterol naturally passes freely throughout the body.
Inflammation is the body’s natural reaction to harmful invaders such as viruses and bacteria. Inflammation is a good thing, like a scab on a wound, but when we repeatedly expose our bodies to inflammatory substances, particularly processed foods, it's like scraping off the scab again and again, preventing the wound from healing. As Dr. Lundell points out, “Chronic inflammation is just as harmful as acute inflammation is beneficial.”
What Causes Inflammation
The real bad guys are toxins in our air and water, smoking, and processed food, especially processed sugar and flour and all the foods made from them. “These foods have been slowly poisoning everyone.”
Dr. Lundell asks us to imagine taking a stiff brush and rubbing our skin until it’s nearly bleeding. Now keep doing this several times a day for years! This is what our modern American diet is doing to the inside of our arteries. Our bodies respond by creating cholesterol which works like a scab to coat the wound.
What's the Answer
We stop inflammation by returning to unprocessed foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, whole grains, olive oil, nuts and the moderate consumption of wine. And if you can't eliminate processed food, try oh try to reduce it!
One of the best ways to eat more of these anti-inflammatory foods is by drinking a fresh juice or smoothie regularly. Use special recipes with fruits, veggies, herbs and spices proven to have the most powerful anti-inflammatory effects such as red peppers, beets, tomatoes, leafy greens, ginger, turmeric, garlic, berries and tart cherries. Below you'll find one of my favorite anti-inflammation juice and smoothie recipes.