Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Progression of Inflammation - How Did This Happen To Me?

I am learning a lot about the inflammatory process in our bodies. Throughout our life unseen things shape our health. As most people age, they usually progress through three distinct phases of health. To succeed in healthful living, it is essential to understand this progression.

[Level 1 is a non-inflammation, non-insulin resistant state. Our body is able to maintain homeostasis, a stable equilibrium, where our metabolism adjusts itself to maintain a steady weight and fights diseases automatically. We look and feel good. This is the optimal phase we would all like to live in.

But the reality is we encounter infections and eat the wrong foods, we lose our ability to maintain a healthy balance. Infections occur which increase inflammation. Also when we eat high levels of sugars or "bad fats", what we often call our "comfort foods", inflammation increases even further.

Each time we become inflamed, we struggle to get back to normal. But sometimes, we don't quite go all the way back. Our body "remembers" our infection and increases its "ready reserve" of inflammatory cytokines, (
proteins released by cells of the immune system) and thus keeps our immune system on the edge. Unfortunately, while being constantly ready for the next infection, our body experiences the wear and tear interfering with many of our metabolic systems. Gradually, we move into Level 2, which is chronic low-level inflammation and insulin resistance. 

Level 2 involves a
powerful chain reaction. Infection produces inflammation. Inflammation produces insulin resistance. Insulin resistance produces weight gain. Weight gain produces inflammatory cytokines leading to more insulin resistance.

Insulin resistance starves our muscles. They react by sending messages that lower our resting energy. Then, the insulin resistance makes us hungry in an effort to feed our starving muscles. Under these conditions, weight loss is almost impossible. We look "fat" to others, but our muscles "think" we're starving... at least chemically. As a result of this starvation, we crave and finally eat more sugars, fast-burning "high glycemic load" starches and saturated fats. These nutrient-poor foods add to our disease. Eating them is preventing or slowing weight loss in spite of our dieting efforts.

As these conditions worsen, we finally begin to show signs of diseases at Level 3 -- cardiovascular diseases, diabetes,hypertension, Alzheimer's, arthritis, stroke, cancer...  It's a big list.]

Can we stop this unhealthy cycle?

You betcha! [Reverse the inflammation caused by the high sugar, high fat, low fiber foods by eating colorful high fiber vegetables like sweet peppers, kale, parsley, celery, raw carrots, radishes, onions, garlic, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, squash, cucumber, apples, pears, berries, nuts, plums, grapes, bananas, citrus fruits and so on. Fatty animal products like red meats and dairy are minimized. Lean cuts of chicken, turkey and fish are encouraged. Olive oils and avocado replace other unhealthy oils from corn, soybeans, safflower, and sunflower or other vegetable oils.

People on this anti-inflammatory diet tend to normalize their weight and reverse their heart disease and diabetes, and improve risks for cancer or heart attacks. Arthritis and Alzheimer's symptoms improve as well]. If you want to know more about anti-inflammatory foods go to level1diet.com


  1. I really like all this good info. It can help to inspire me to pay close attention to what we eat. Thanks! Marilyn

  2. Hi Marilyn - Thanks for the feedback :-) I like to research health issues, so come back often.

  3. As a biologist I can veritably say that this article is absolute nonsense! Eating food of any kind should not cause any inflammatory response. In fact the immune system in the gut is actually organised so that the antigens naturally present on all organic materials do not stimulate an immune response - of which inflammation is certainly a part of- unnecessarily. Only antigens associated with pathogens such as bacteria will initiate and response and only if the protective mucous barrier is penetrated, something our natural flora bacteria will not normally do.
    Of course a balanced healthy diet is good for you but not because of anything to do with "unhealthy foods" causing inflammation.

  4. I do not speak as a professional, but I do speak from experience and KNOW that certain foods DO inflame my body when I eat them. Of the Nutritionists I've worked with, they agree there are foods (i.e., sugars, nightshade vegetables, grains) which DO affect the body (be it FOOD ALLERGIES or inflammation).