According to many studies and articles, including the excellent article found at the Arizona Center for Advanced Healing, the bottom line and most likely the cause of nearly every autoimmune disease is inflammation, specifically chronic cellular inflammation. Chronic cellular inflammation is inflammation that one doesn’t feel; so much as reap the consequences thereof!
Inflammation is actually a very necessary and helpful natural bodily response to some form of stress—a cold, a broken finger, or a cut. This is inflammation we can feel and see, and that’s a good thing. This is our immune system hard at work. We need our white blood cells to rush in with swords drawn to protect and defend the area from foreign enemies like bad bacteria and viruses.
We also need these white blood cells to protect and defend against modern day man-made toxins and “foods” that the human body was never meant to process. These man-made toxins and foods create stress on the body; and this stress calls up the inflammatory response every bit as much as a cold or a cut! Yet, we don’t see this inflammation.
Responding as if to a 9-alarm fire, your white blood cells rush to the rescue each and every time your body is stressed to combat these foreign enemies—whether it is from a cold, a cut, lack of sleep, an inability to tolerate cold temperatures, a sudden loud noise, a gluten molecule that is impossible for your system to absorb, or a car accident. In all of these cases, there is stress involved and your body will activate the inflammation response for your protection, just as readily as the adrenals respond with adrenaline and cortisol.
The problem occurs when this inflammatory response is called upon day in and day out. It’s accumulative, because there is no time or factor allowing healing before the next round of the inflammation signals. You may not have a cold or cut every day, but you are repeatedly exposed every day to: environmental toxins, insomnia, emotional stresses, man-made foods, foods without enough minerals and vitamins to protect a body, and drinking water with man-made chemicals like fluoride and chlorine.
Processing these things is not a natural function for the human body—it was simply not meant to do this. This causes stress on the body’s functions and inflammation follows as a matter of course, for protection—as a part of our immune system. One can go along for years eating and experiencing these things and never know that the smoldering fires are building up and up, to a “critical mass.”
Even though these experiences continually build up every single day, your body will try its best to end the inflammation and complete its job whenever it can so it can come to a balance (rest). Yet, with so many inflammation-causing factors coming at you so often, and not enough anti-inflammation helpers, something has got to give. Sooner or later, your body will let you know in no uncertain terms, that you just cannot continue doing this. According to the Arizona Center for Advanced Medicine, diabetes, Chronic Fatigue, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, allergies, lupus, fibromyalgia, PTSD, depression, cardiovascular disease, and any other autoimmune disease that your genetics calls upon, will grab hold of you!
Before 1900, our great grandparents had things under control nicely. The foods they ate were fresh whole REAL foods, full of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, enzymes, probiotics, and so on. Consequently, their stresses were able to heal. Inflammation came, was dealt with and then went away—food heals. There were no chemical toxins put in their food or water, no bad fats, no man-made foods, no electromagnetic fields in every home, no x-rays/radiation, no gasoline fumes, no fluorescent lights, no…you get the idea! Modern society has greatly upped our exposure to inflammation-makers, and yet we have not compensated by upping the nutritious healing foods.
In point of fact, the modern man-made foods are adding even more to all this inflammation.
This inflammation is now systemic—systems wide—including the hormonal system, digestive, cardiovascular, respiratory, joint and cartilage, and it is now in a low grade smolder mode. Little clumps of white blood cells making inflammatory cytokines are clustering here and there, and they’re blocking receptors in nearly every system. Vitamin D receptors, thyroid and adrenal receptors, cardiovascular receptors, digestive receptors are all looking for signals to tell them what to do, how much to send, and how much to hold back. But the communications with the brain, the gut, or the hypothalamus are either garbled or not getting there at all. This inflammation is covering the communication system!
We can take an aspirin for the aches and fever of a cold, and it takes the inflammation away. So why can’t we take an aspirin (or 10) and take away this chronic inflammation?
It’s because we are continually putting on more coals to try and smother the fire! What? More coals? Yes. We keep feeding the fire, literally, adding more fuel every day, every meal. It’s no longer the original 9-alarm fire that your immune system is responding to, but rather a constant, incessant, persistent, smoldering bed of red hot coals. Picture the red hot, burning coals in your backyard Bar-B-Q grill.
As you are exposed to heavy metal toxicity like electromagnetic pollution, x-rays, gas fumes, chemical fumes and other toxins, in addition to emotional stress like physical pain, insomnia, and inflammation-making foods such as sugar, hydrogenated and trans fats, you are literally adding coals to your fire! Blocking receptors, garbling your internal communications, and reaching that critical mass! If you haven’t already arrived!
Coming from so many sources, the one factor we have the most control over is…you guessed it, FOOD! We can choose foods with the necessary vitamins, minerals, enzymes, probiotics, etc. We can choose appropriate foods that will help fight that inflammation and all those free radicals that are being put into your body on a daily basis!
The Standard American Diet (SAD) (pitiful, actually) is not in our best interest. It is pro-inflammatory! In fact, according to Dr. Mercola, our diet is our undoing! “Despite spending twice the amount per capita on health care, the United States ranks last in health and mortality analysis of 17 developed nations.” This is completely unacceptable!
It’s true there are other factors adding up to the perfect storm that instigates these chronic illnesses—stress, lack of restful restorative sleep, lowered immune function, and those things listed above. These factors may well be where the inflammation began, but we don’t need to keep feeding the fire on a daily basis adding insult to injury. We can choose to be proactive and do what we can to help our bodies! Healthy foods heal!
We can be our own best health care practitioner by doing our part in keeping the fires under control by practicing stress relieving exercises, getting help for sleep issues, and so on. Our diet is one thing we can work on right now with almost instant results. Food is the key.
Written by Pati Chandler – Mishawaka, Indiana
from the book, “Is There a Diet for Chronic Illness?” Chapter One