What is inflammation?
Inflammation can be a friend or an enemy.
On the friendly side, inflammation helps the immune system defend the body against disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and other foreign invaders.
The not-so-friendly side is when inflammation occurs without cause – in other words, when the body is not under attack from foreign invaders but from the foods we eat. When an overactive inflammatory response occurs, it can be damaging.
What causes inflammation?
According to a study published in “Psychosomatic Medicine”, eating fast foods high in simple carbohydrates, partially hydrogenated oils, trans-fats and high fructose corn syrup can increase levels of cytokines, a protein released from cells that trigger inflammation. As inflammation continues, the immune system mistakenly attacks normal brain cells causing serious neuron damage.
How can inflammation be controlled?
Overwhelming evidence suggests that inflammation can be controlled by following these simple guidelines:
- Reduce consumption of pre-packaged processed and fast foods made with partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, sugar, preservatives and chemicals.
- Restrict the use of prescription and other drugs especially anticholinergic drugs such as Benadryl, Dramamine, Excedrin PM, Nytol, Sominex, Tylenol PM, and Unisom. Taken for a variety of common medical conditions, these drugs may negatively affect brain cells, causing long-term cognitive impairment.
- Limit exposure to toxins, especially cigarette smoke and nitrates in foods. Smoking is a significant risk factor for vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Include fresh fruits and vegetables as part of your daily diet.
- Add Omega-3 fatty acids especially oily fish to your diet.
- Add exercise to your daily routine.
To get an evaluation of your body’s inflammation level, ask your doctor for a high-sensitivity C-reactive protein test (hs-CRP) to measure inflammatory cells in your blood.