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Reducing inflammation improves the immune response

Reducir la inflamación mejora la respuesta inmune

Did you know that the leading causes of death and disability worldwide are chronic degenerative conditions?

These diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, cancer, Alzheimer's and type II diabetes, are increasing dramatically worldwide, in all regions and socioeconomic levels.

To be clear, chronic degenerative conditions outnumber deaths caused by famine, war, and even infectious disease. Although it should be noted that this was not always the case.

What has changed then?

Certainly not genetics. Our DNA has changed very little in the last hundred thousand years.

To understand why we are experiencing this explosion in the prevalence of these conditions, one would have to ask if there is some shared mechanism behind them.

In fact there is. In a word, it is inflammation.

All of these diseases are a consequence of increased levels of inflammation within the body which, at its highest levels, can damage arteries in the heart, brain, joints , and even impair immune system function.

So if inflammation is at the root of the planet's deadliest ailments, it makes sense to explore its true impact and find solutions for a longer, healthier existence.

The importance of what you eat

Without a doubt, the biggest change that humans have experienced in recent decades is the type of food we consume.

Unfortunately, the so-called "Western diet" has become a widespread norm. And that is essential, because being rich in ultra-processed components, sugar and refined carbohydrates, it drastically increases inflammation.

FACT: Of the 1.2 million foods sold in grocery stores in the United States, about 68% contain added sugar and a whopping 58% of what Americans eat is ultra-processed.

For this reason, forward-thinking healthcare providers are turning to diets designed to reduce inflammation.

They are dominated by whole foods from natural sources, low in sugar and refined carbohydrates, mainly plant-based, with an emphasis on providing adequate amounts of healthy fats.

Also, they insist on including foods that contain probiotics (fermented foods) and prebiotic fiber to improve the growth and metabolism of probiotic bacteria in the intestine.

It turns out that gut bacteria are very important in maintaining the lining of the intestinal wall, which represents a powerful line of defense for the rest of the body, insulating it from chemicals that can aggressively increase inflammation.

This explains the important relationship between gut health and systemic inflammation.

Threatening the function, health, or diversity of our resident microbes through improper food choices, taking medications such as antibiotics, and even exposure to pesticides and herbicides can cause increased permeability of the intestinal lining, commonly referred to as "leaky gut." ".

Such a condition dramatically worsens inflammation, setting the stage for a wide range of diseases.

Specific intestinal bacteria, including Lactobacillus plantarum and Lactobacillus rhamnosus, are known to help stop and reduce intestinal permeability. Therefore, they are important components in probiotic supplements.

Our gut bacteria also thrive when nourished by foods rich in prebiotic fiber and polyphenols.

Remember that prebiotic fiber nourishes our good bacteria , which allows the origination of metabolic products that provide health benefits.

The best food options with prebiotic content

There are several, but among the best are:

  • Dandelion leaves.
  • Jerusalem artichoke.
  • Garlic, onion and leek.
  • Asparagus.
  • apples.
  • Flax seeds and jicama (Mexican yam).

Supplements containing gum acacia and baobab fruit derivatives are also excellent sources of prebiotic fiber.

For their part, polyphenols further enhance the growth of beneficial bacteria and help suppress the growth of potentially pathogenic organisms. Also, they are antioxidants in themselves and help reduce the inflammatory process.

This explains why there is so much research on polyphenols in heart disease, cancer, preservation of brain function, and gut-related disorders.

Foods rich in polyphenols include:

  • apples.
  • blueberries.
  • peaches.
  • raspberries.
  • Broccoli.
  • Spinach.
  • Black beans.
  • almonds.
  • Flax seeds.
  • Cinnamon and coffee.
  • Dark chocolate
  • Olives and olive oil.
  • Red wine.

sleep like a baby

Enjoying quality sleep is an incredibly underrated habit in terms of its importance for health and resistance to disease.

An estimated two-thirds of American adults don't get adequate amounts of deep sleep, which puts them at great risk for chronic degenerative diseases because it directly increases inflammation.

This may explain, at least in part, why sleep disorders are associated with heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer's, and type II diabetes.

Many think that the effects of not sleeping well on weekdays can be fixed on the weekend. Well it doesn't work that way.

A single night of poor sleep has consequences the next day, not just in terms of inflammation, but hormone balance and even blood sugar regulation.

It pays, then, to get an idea of ​​how restful your sleep is.

You can get the gold standard with a formal sleep study, performed by a doctor in a laboratory, which provides you with information about the quantity and quality of your sleep, based on its various stages. Also, it reveals respiratory problems such as sleep apnea that compromise a good rest.

However, today there are many portable devices that offer significant data to make the necessary changes in your sleep habits.

Tips that can help you sleep like a baby

  1. Give up caffeine after 2 p.m.

  1. Minimize screen time at night, as blue light from computers, tablets, phones, and TVs can inhibit the hormone melatonin and make it harder to fall asleep.

  1. Expose yourself to bright light in the morning to solidify your circadian rhythm.

  1. Make your room as dark as possible.

  1. Lower the air conditioning temperature a degree or two.

Stress management

Our environment seems to be getting more and more toxic. And if you want to make changes to your lifestyle, it is important that you know the sources of toxicity and reduce their harmful impact.

Stress is a toxin that is practically omnipresent in our lives and the cause of increased production of the hormone cortisol.

The chronic elevation of cortisol has important negative effects on the intestine. Not only in the various species present in this organ, but it also acts on the intestinal wall to increase its permeability, and therefore, the production of inflammatory chemicals in the body.

Through this mechanism one can understand the relationship between the rampant modern world and the increasing rates of chronic degenerative diseases.

But there is good news.

Yes, the harmful effects of stress can be offset with simple actions:

  • Meditation – Meditating, even just 12 minutes a day, has been shown to reduce cortisol and inflammation, balance the immune system, improve empathy and compassion.

  • Exposure to nature : It is not necessary to plan a trip every week. By exposing yourself to nature for a few minutes, even in an urban environment, you will drastically reduce your cortisol levels.

So much so, that a recent study demonstrated reduced measures of stress in individuals in a hospital waiting room when a plant was present.

There are even benefits to being exposed to a photograph or painting of a natural environment.

Perhaps that is the reason why people living in greener environments have increased longevity.

As you've seen so far, inflammation plays an important role in helping you fight viral infections and recover from injury.

But when the fire of inflammation continues to burn for a long period of time, it ushers in any number of chronic degenerative conditions.

The solution is in your hands.

If you choose to take action right now to break bad habits, you will make a big difference in your life, keep inflammation at bay, and be healthier and happier.


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