cooling chronic inflammation
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COOLING CHRONIC INFLAMMATIONDietary Solutions Counter Disease
by Linda Sechrist
Its important to note that wounds and infections would never heal without the presence of acute inflammation,
the bodys normal biological response to harmful pathogens, damaged cells and irritants. Although this protective measure to initiate the bodys natural healing response is often misrepresent-ed as being synonymous with infection, it is not; even when the inflammation is caused by infection. Dr. Vijay Jain, an expert in ayurvedic medicine, explains how the system normally works: An infec-tion brings about an acute inflamma-tory response and also summons the aid of immune system cells such as lymphocytesthymus cells (T cells), bursa-derived cells (B cells) and natural killer (NK) cellsas well as monocytes (a type of white blood cell). These then migrate through the bloodstream to eliminate specific pathogens or patho-gen-infected cells. In contrast, chronic inflammation occurs when the immune response stays activated, rather than naturally
abating, and the bodys defense system consequently turns against itself. Today, a number of leading physician scientists including Jain are drawing at-tention to an epidemic of cases of such chronic inflammation. With 35 years of experience in general surgery and 15 years of focused study in integrative medicine, Jain bases his concern on extensive study and re-search. He currently serves as the medi-cal director of Amrit Ayurveda for Total Well Being, at the Amrit Yoga Institute, in Salt Springs, Florida. Floyd H. Chilton, Ph.D., author of Inflammation Nation, and professor of physiology and pharmacology at Wake Forest School of Medicine, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, is on the same wavelength. Trained as a physician and specialist in infectious disease and in-flammation at Harvard Medical School, Chiltons 20 years of research have likewise led him, along with pioneers like Dr. Andrew Weil, to conclude that chronic, systemic inflammation is the root cause of many diseases.
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The condition has been linked to rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Crohns disease, psoriasis, irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes, allergies, arthri-tis, atherosclerosis, Alzheimers and cancer. Furthermore, in 2000, The New England Journal of Medicine published several studies showing that blood indicators of inflammation (such as homocysteine, fibrinogen and C-reactive protein) are strong predictive factors for a heart attack. These experts all point to the stan-dard American diet as a primary culprit for setting chronic inflammation in mo-tion, and cite an anti-inflammatory diet as helpful in counteracting the problem. Kathy Bero, founder of at NuGen-sis Farm, Inc., in Pewaukee, Wisconsin, attests that an anti-inflammatory diet containing many angiogenesis-inhib-iting foods was a major factor in the remission of three aggressive forms of cancer that threatened her life six years ago. Many of the diseases linked to chronic systemic inflammation also share a dependence on inappropri-ate blood vessel growth, which either nourishes the disease or hinders the bodys fight against it, Bero explains.
Angiogenesis-inhibiting foods are known to assist the body in controlling the healthy growth of blood vessels. The nonprofit NuGenesis Farm supports 35 acres dedicated to growing anti-inflammatory and angiogenesis-bal-ancing foods with the strongest disease prevention properties, using sustainable organic agriculture practices. It offers a food as medicine model for global communities seeking alternative meth-ods for naturally preventing disease. An anti-inflammatory diet recom-mended by family physician and nutri-tionist Ann Kulze, author of Dr. Anns 10-Step Diet, includes colorful, fresh fruits; green, leafy vegetables; low-gly-cemic foods such as whole grains, sweet potatoes and winter squashes; fruits such as berries, cherries, apples and pears; high-quality protein in omega-3-rich fish such as wild salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel; seeds and nuts such as walnuts; and green tea. It also calls for the vegetable-based protein found in soy foods, beans, lentils and other legumes. Ginger and turmeric, dried or fresh, rank among recommended spices. In addition to maintaining a healthy and correct balance between omega-6
and omega-3 fatty acids, an anti-inflam-matory diet eliminates consumption of margarine, vegetable shortening and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, all of which promote inflammation. Anti-aging researchers believe that chronic inflammation shortens our lifespan, remarks Jain, who recom-mends a prophylactic diet specific to the constitutional makeup of any of the three ayurvedic doshasvata, pitta or kaphaas well as the annual pancha-karma detoxification program. He further emphasizes that food should be freshly prepared with fresh ingredients and loving intention. Proper economic studies would increase our understanding of the true cost benefit of growing food for the purpose of disease prevention, says Bero. Many believe that incorporating anti-inflammatory and angiogenesis-inhibiting foods into our daily diet will not only improve both overall health and the outcome of treatment, it will also go a long way in reducing immedi-ate and long-term health care costs.
Linda Sechrist is a senior staff writer for Natural Awakenings magazines.
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