Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Inflammation: An Internal Global Warming

Global warming. It's a bad thing, whether you think it's a man-made or a natural cyclical phenomenon. I think we're exacerbating whatever is happening naturally, but I don't want to talk politics just now.

Instead, there's another kind of global warming, an internal global warming called systemic inflammation, that I'm interested in. It's when we're exposed to ongoing inflammatory response that gets out of control and wreaks havoc inside our bodies.

Internal global warming turns the heat up -- initially to fight off infection or to bring healing blood flow to a specific location in the body -- and then leaves the thermostat on high, essentially cooking delicate tissues that become ever more damaged with ongoing exposure to "the heat."

Inflammation is at the root of most chronic diseases: arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and neurodegenerative disease like Alzheimers. These days, just about everyone needs to worry about inflammation.

So, what to do? The list is pretty simple, but not so easy, because some lifestyle changes are required (as with reducing those greenhouse gases):
  1. Eat an anti-inflammatory diet with lots of veggies and fresh fruits, garlic, plenty of omega-3 fatty acids (fish from cold waters); good oils like those from olives, nuts, and avocados; and include anti-inflammatory spices like ginger and turmeric.
  2. Avoid bad fats, refined sugars, and starchy processed foods in your diet, as they all contribute to "the fire within."
  3. Fight free radicals that cause inflammation with a good antioxidant formula (vitamins A, C, E but also bioflavonoids, like quercetin (found in onions), polyphenols like anthocyanins (from blueberries and grapes), and alpha lipoic acid.
  4. Avoid toxic environments and pollutants, which can set off the inflammatory response.
  5. Do moderate aerobic exercise for 30 minutes or more at least 5 times a week.
  6. Reduce stress and get enough sleep, as too much stress and not enough sleep can amp up your body's cortisol levels, which contribute to overall inflammation levels.

The building next door is being gutted for new loft-like condos, and Tess has been having more trouble with her sinuses, and we've both been scratching our eyes and sneezing at work of late.

We think there's something bad from this very old building being stirred up (hopefully it's not asbestos), and we're both interested in detoxifying our systems during this time.

Tess plans to go on Dr. Rodier's detox diet in the New Year, and she also plans to invite a gaggle of Co-op members to do the same in a support group, complete with a teleseminar with Dr. Rodier and a blog that she keeps to record her (and others) progress, along with fielding questions and sharing anecdotes.

If you're interested in fighting inflammation, detoxifying your system, or just doing something extra to boost your overall health, consider joining Tess. Write to her at tess@ourhealthcoop.com!

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