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Real healing is based in uncovering the root causes of the symptoms and diseases that afflict modern humans. History has continually shown that treating a disease or a symptom does not cure a person of those things, nor does it prevent him from continuing his wreckage of the body. Often, a single underlying factor can be the root cause of several ailments and diseases at once. One such root is inflammation. Control that, and you can control and perhaps eliminate heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, some cancers and Alzheimer’s disease.
What Is Inflammation?
Inflammation is the body’s normal, natural and healthy response to stressors. Externally, it arises as a result of contact with irritants to the skin (poison ivy, for example) or injury. Internally, it is a response to unhealthy invaders entering the body, such as toxins, viruses and bacteria. Physiologically, inflammation protects the body from these substances. When left unchecked, however, it can shift from acute to chronic; and this is where the health trouble begins. Normally, after an acute episode of inflammation, the invading issue is resolved and the body can normalize its inflammation response. However, when a toxic substance (like cigarette smoke or processed food) moves through the body continuously for years and decades, the inflammation remains constant, becomes chronic and causes disease.
The Root Cause Of Serious Diseases
Chronic inflammation is so harmful to the body that it is the root cause of life-threatening diseases, including heart disease and diabetes. How can this be when we know that diets high in saturated fat cause heart disease and elevated cholesterol? It’s because that information, those beliefs, are not held as fact today. Science has disproved them.
Dwight Lundell, M.D., is one of the most experienced heart surgeons in the United States. With more than a quarter century of experience and more than 5,000 open heart surgeries under his belt, he has changed his stance on the cause of heart disease. Yes, he used to prescribe his patients statin medications to lower cholesterol, along with a diet that severely restricted fat intake. Yet his experience and more extensive research have shown these approaches do not work. In fact, in spite of them, 75 million Americans still suffer heart disease and 20 million Americans have diabetes.
You see, without chronic inflammation in our body, cholesterol would move through our bodies without incidence. However, because of inflammation, cholesterol is able to accumulate in the arteries and blood vessels, and this leads to heart disease and stroke. In other words, it is the chronic inflammatory condition within the body that traps the cholesterol and provides the root cause, or problem, leading to these life-threatening diseases.
The Dietary Facts
Now, I know I just said a diet low in fat does not prevent or cure heart disease. However, diet is still important. An inflammatory diet is high in simple, highly processed carbohydrates. It includes highly toxic foods like white flour and white sugar. This harmful diet also contains the omega-6 vegetable oils, like soybean, sunflower, safflower and corn, and all the processed and prepared foods made from them. You may notice that in the United States, these types of foods comprise almost every item in our supermarkets, stacked high on the inside aisles.
The Omega Balance
Omega oils are essential and are needed for proper health when in proper balance. Omega-3s are the ones getting the great wellness attention these days. These are alkaline and help promote HDL, the good cholesterol that shuttles the bad LDL that has not been processed back to the liver for more processing. In contrast, omega-6 oils are acidic and cause inflammation, yet they are still needed for proper cell growth, muscle and brain development, and nervous system health. However, they must only be consumed in proper ratio to omega-3. According to research on PubMed, “Several sources of information suggest that human beings evolved on a diet with a ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFA) of approximately 1 whereas in Western diets the ratio is 15/1-16.7/1.”
No wonder we are diseased.
But it is the omega-6 oils that allow packaged food to have such a long shelf life, which boosts food company profits. These heavily processed foods drenched in omega-6 oils, filled with sugar and rich in processed carbohydrates are killing us every day, slowly but surely.
The Nasty Cycle
When the medical professionals believed that the cause of high cholesterol and heart disease was fats, they prescribed a low-fat diet. With this need came a slew of low-fat and non-fat foods. The foods were made with processed simple carbohydrates like sugar and white flour and omega-6 oils to taste good and preserve well. The problem is this “heart disease diet” caused too much acid and too much sugar to hit the bloodstream, causing the pancreas to go on overload and dump insulin to shuttle the sugar into the cells for later processing. But because of the continuous consumption of these foods, the cells become full and the extra sugar is stored as fat. This excess fat causes stress on the body and releases pro-inflammatory chemicals that cause more inflammation. This has led to an epidemic of diet-induced, inflammation-induced obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke, some cancers and Alzheimer’s disease.
Prevention Is The Cure
The solution, the cure, for all this is to reduce inflammation now and prevent inflammation from becoming chronic again. That means stop smoking (if you are a smoker); try to severely reduce your consumption of processed, packaged foods made with simple carbohydrates like sugar and white flour; and limit foods prepared with omega-6 oils. It also means reducing stress and eating more whole, fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as some complex carbohydrates from grains. In addition, you can add foods and spices to your diet that help reduce inflammation. These include turmeric, garlic, ginger, onion, spinach, flaxseed, berries, kiwis, olives, extra virgin olive oil and tart cherries. Taking omega-3 supplements can also be of great help.
It is not until the root cause of an ailment or disease is addressed that a hope for a cure or prevention can be found. In the case of life-threatening diseases like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, obesity and stroke, chronic inflammation is at the root.