Do I Need an Anti-Inflammatory Diet?

Do I Need an Anti-Inflammatory DietWhether we call it a diet, a healthy lifestyle, or simply a way of living, we all need to eat and exercise in a way that naturally keeps our bodies’ inflammation in check.

In the past two generations, by processing our foods to make them cheaper to produce and last longer on the shelf, industrialized food companies have inadvertently changed our food supply.  As a result, we are consuming more foods that are high in omega-6 and less foods with fiberpolyphenols and omega-3.

While our foods & lifestyles have changed dramatically, our genes have not changed.  This mismatch between our modern day diets and our “ancient” genes is contributing to an increase in whole body inflammation.

What is Whole Body Inflammation?

Whole body inflammation is the constant presence of low-level inflammation in our bodies.  Research is increasingly associating whole body inflammation with many of our nation’s largest and fastest growing health conditions.

Diseases Associated with Inflammation

Consider the following statistics for these diseases, each of which has an inflammatory component:

  • Arthritis and joint disease affect 43 million people in the United States, almost 20% of the population. This number is expected to surpass 60 million by 2020.
  • Nearly 24 million Americans – 8% of the population-have diabetes, according to statistics released by the CDC in 2008. Estimates are that by 2025, the number of Americans with the disease will be close to 50 million.
  • Today, more than 25 million Americans have asthma – twice as many as in 1990. And the severity of the disease appears to be on the rise as well: More people died from asthma in 2000 than in 1970.
  • Allergies, including hay fever, now ranks sixth among chronic human diseases.
  • More than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
  • Depression and depressive disorders occur in approximately 18.8 million American adults, or about 9.5% of the US population age 18 and older.

Same Inflammation…Different Conditions  

There are many different inflammatory diseases, yet all of them share the same underlying driver: an inappropriate inflammatory response. The difference between them is where the inflammatory response is taking place. 

Chronic, or whole body inflammation localized in the coronary arteries surrounding the heart leads to atherosclerosis and heart disease. In diabetes, the body mistakenly identifies the islet beta cells in the pancreas as foreign invaders and destroys them so that they no longer produce insulin. When inflammatory cells invade the small airways of the lungs, they cause asthma. Arthritis, meanwhile, occurs when the synovium- a thin, specialized tissue responsible for the production of fluid that lubricates joints-becomes inflamed.

The list goes on and on. Inflammation in the upper bowel? Crohn’s disease. Lower bowel? Ulcerative colitis. The underlying process is the same; it’s just the location and symptoms that change.



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