If you can’t pronounce the ingredient, don’t eat the food or use the product.
Remember when “inflammation” meant a swollen ankle or angry redness around a cut that wasn’t sufficiently cleaned? That’s what’s called acute inflammation, a short-lived reaction to an injury or infection. Yes, it hurts, but in the wide world of health and anti-aging, it’s not even on the map. Then there’s chronic inflammation – “chronic” never means anything good — a not-so-short-lived reaction that engages the immune system in a bigger way to fight a particularly strong infection or disease. Not pleasant. Needs attention. But still not registering a 10 on the age-o-meter.
Allow me to introduce systemic inflammation, a dangerous, disease-promoting, immune system-sapping, age-fast-forwarding inflammation in the lining of blood vessels, the liver, the joints, the gut. It can be symptomless…until it isn’t. Heart disease, cancer Alzheimer’s, diabetes, macular degeneration, obesity and a number of autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis are being linked to systemic inflammation in the medical literature.
Systemic inflammation can age you from the inside out.
So what do you do?
First: Get yourself checked out to see if you suffer from systemic inflammation. (You probably don’t know.) The next time you go in for a cholesterol screening, ask for the “C-reactive protein” test on the blood panel. C-reactive protein (CRP) is a substance produced by the liver that increases in the presence of inflammation in the body. Elevated levels have no outward, noticeable symptoms, but they often indicate that trouble is brewing. A sedentary lifestyle, too much stress, exposure to environmental toxins such as secondhand tobacco smoke and a crappy American diet (a lot of refined, processed foods) can all contribute to an elevated CRP. Here’s what the number means.
Second: Do not surf the net looking for miracle treatments and cures. What you’ll find is trendy diets and high-priced supplements. (Surprise, surprise!)
Third: Take sensible steps to boost your health while decreasing the inflammation. That means getting quality sleep, integrating physical activity into your life…every day of your life, and taking a hard look at your diet. An “anti-inflammatory diet” includes complex carbs (Slash sugar! Junk the junk food!), foods rich in omega-3s (see last week’s post for more good news about omega-3s), and foods rich in fiber. In other words, eat the foods you already know you should be eating. And eat curry. The curcuminoids in curcumin (the active ingredient in tumeric, a main component of curry,) have proven anti-inflammatory properties. I love curry. But not every day. I’ve just recently added a curcumin supplement.
Fourth: Re-test to see what you’ve been able to accomplish.
Your CRP level is a good indicator of general health and vitality. Keeping systemic inflammation at bay is one of the smarter anti-aging strategies you can adopt.test Filed under Posts | Comments (3)