Joel Peterson – Level 5 Personal Trainer Apple Athletic Club
Chronic inflammation is the source of many diseases, including cancer, obesity, and heart disease. And it’s rampant in a lifestyle of poor nutrition and sedentary ways.
Inflammation is a normal process that occurs when your body’s white blood cells and chemicals protect you from foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses. But if it gets out of hand and your immune system mistakenly triggers an inflammatory response when no threat is present, it can lead to excess inflammation in your body, a condition linked to asthma, allergies, autoimmune disease, heart disease, cancer and other diseases, depending on which organs the inflammation is impacting.
Chronic inflammation typically will not produce symptoms until loss of function occurs somewhere. This is because chronic inflammation is low-grade and systemic, often silently damaging your tissues over an extended period of time.
Inflammation and Diet
Diet accounts for about 80 percent of the health benefits you reap from a healthful lifestyle, and keeping inflammation in check is a major part of these benefits. It’s important to realize that dietary components can either trigger or prevent inflammation from taking root in your body. For example, whereas trans fats and sugar, particularly fructose, will increase inflammation, eating healthy fats such as animal-based omega-3 fats found in krill oil, or the essential fatty acid gamma linolenic acid (GLA) will help to reduce inflammation.
Having high insulin levels is a surefire way to speed up your aging process. Insulin resistance is the basis of virtually ALL of chronic diseases of aging, and one of the primary reasons for this is because it promotes chronic inflammation throughout your body.
The two most important elements for normalizing your insulin levels and avoiding insulin resistance are:
- Avoiding sugar/fructose and grains (remember that beverages play a paramount role here, as high fructose corn syrup from soda is one of the primary sources of calories in the US)
- Regular exercise
Chronic Stress – Takes a Heavy Toll on Your Health
It’s important to realize that all your feelings create physiological changes. Your skin, heart rate, digestion and assimilation of food, joints, muscle energy levels, the hair on your head, and countless cells and systems you don’t even know about change with every emotion. For example, feeling chronically stressed:
- Dramatically decreases blood flow to your digestive system.
- Causes excretion of nutrients, such vitamins, calcium, micro and macro minerals.
- Decreases your metabolism.
- Decreases beneficial gut flora populations, which can weaken your immune function.
- Raises triglycerides and cortisol levels.
- Raises cholesterol and insulin levels.
- While you cannot eliminate stress entirely, you can work to provide your body with tools to compensate for the bioelectrical short-circuiting caused by it.
Proper Exercise and Rest
Studies have shown that during exercise, tranquilizing chemicals (endorphins) are released in your brain. Exercise is a natural way to bring your body pleasurable relaxation and rejuvenation.
Good sleep is one of the cornerstones of health that should not be overlooked. Sleep deprivation prematurely ages you by interfering with your growth hormone production, normally released by your pituitary gland during deep sleep. Growth hormone helps you look and feel younger. But that’s not all. Interrupted or impaired sleep can also:
- Dramatically weaken your immune system
- Accelerate tumor growth—tumors grow two to three times faster in laboratory animals with severe sleep dysfunctions
- Cause a pre-diabetic state, making you feel hungry even if you’ve already eaten, which can wreak havoc on your weight.
- Seriously impair your memory; even a single night of poor sleep—meaning sleeping only 4 to 6 hours—can impact your ability to think clearly the next day and impair your performance on physical or mental tasks.
Here are a couple of recommendations that may help.
- Sleep in complete darkness, or as close to it as possible as even the tiniest bit of light in the room can disrupt your internal clock and your pineal gland’s production of melatonin.
- Keep the temperature in your bedroom no higher than 70 degrees F.
- Avoid using loud alarm clocks. It is very stressful on your body to be suddenly jolted awake.
- Avoid watching TV or using your computer or other light-emitting electronic gadgets at least two hours before going to bed, as the light will hamper melatonin production.
Normalize Your Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is such a common health problem that one out of three of you reading this have it, and uncontrolled hypertension is a serious health concern that can cause heart disease and increase your risk of having a stroke.
It’s important to realize that drugs that treat hypertension will not change, modify, or in any way address the underlying cause of your high blood pressure. As your insulin levels rise, it causes your blood pressure to increase. This crucial connection between insulin resistance and hypertension is yet another example of how wide-ranging the debilitating effects of high insulin, leptin and blood glucose avoiding sugars and grains, and getting regular exercise.
These articles are here to help you regain good health. They are ongoing and will detail steps you can take to counter and overcome disease. A common thread you will notice will always be present: DIET AND EXERCISE. It is not complicated at all. If you learn and apply proper nutrition and exercise, your quality of life and sense of well-being will dramatically increase. As Mr. Spock says, “Live long and prosper”. Please stay tuned.