Good morning – now entering the “home straight”
Internal inflammation, which will all have in various degrees is one thing that will have reduced following an “anti-inflammatory and clean eating” protocol which this programme effectively is.
Inflammation can arise when your exposure to environmental toxins (including foods you eat regularly which may be highly processed) exceeds your body´s ability to detoxify properly.
As the body struggles to deal with the influx of toxins the detox pathways become clogged up, enabling them to accumulate like garbage in the body´s fat cells.
When these toxins get stored or float around the body, they activate the immune system and trigger inflammation as well as messing up the endocrine system by mimicking, blocking or slowing down hormones that should be in action.
Inflammation is a natural immune response that the body creates when under stress, or when there is tissue damage. It is an extremely complex process involving numerous chemicals and mechanisms. Although inflammation is essentially a protective mechanism, prolonged, chronic inflammation is not a healthy state and is now believed to be a contributory factor for numerous health issues.
Many are living with low grade chronic inflammation and chronic inflammatory diseases are very common. Inflammation is indicated in arthritis, cardiovascular disease, dementia, diabetes, fibromyalgia, autoimmune conditions, this list is not exhaustive, these are diseases of modern times.
Inflammation can be caused by many factors that are associated with modern life, including western diet (high omega 6, low omega 3, high in processed foods including trans fats, low fibre, high sugar and refined carbohydrates), stress, digestive dysfunction, insulin resistance, hormone imbalances etc.
Eating any form of processed/unnatural foods regularly can trigger high blood sugar, weight gain and inflammation. For example, processed foods are often high in pro-inflammatory omega 6 fatty acids and low in anti-inflammatory omega 3.
Many people are eating a disproportionately high ratio of omega 6 fats to omega 3s. Some are even as high as 30:1. This imbalance can activate inflammatory molecules called cytokines, which contribute to chronic inflammation. Generally speaking, we are consuming high amounts of saturated fat and Omega 6´s, while the intake of Omega 3 has been drastically reduced.
Many studies show that the healthy recommendations between the Omega 6: Omega 3 ratio is 1: 1 or at most 2: 1 (2 Omega 6 for each Omega 3 consumed), since an excess of Omega 6 can lead to problems for human health.
Omega 6 fatty acids are found in meat or eggs. They are also essential fatty acids that must be present in a balanced diet, but omega 6s are precursor molecules for making pro-inflammatory molecules which cause more inflammation, vasoconstriction and increased platelet aggregation.
We need to be focussing more on the omega 3 anti-inflammatory molecules. Oily fish is the best animal source of omega 3, and chlorella, seaweed the best vegan source.
Diet and anti-inflammatory support
Helping a strong anti-inflammatory response is achieved by eating foods predominantly high in omega 3, found in oily fish, flaxseeds, chia seeds and walnuts and/or a supplement containing EPA. EPA is found in oily fish, another omega 3, alpha linolenic acid is found in flax and chia seeds and dark leafy green vegetables and can be converted to into anti-inflammatory prostaglandins (molecules).
Omega 3 is hugely beneficial for supporting brain health.
Obtaining good levels of vegetables (six to eight per day), including dark leafy greens high in anti-inflammatory phytonutrients and antioxidants. Vitamin E has been shown to suppress inflammatory markers (IL-6, TNFα and NO) and down another inflammatory marker called NF-kB. Sources of vitamin E are avocados, almonds, green vegetables and olives.
Avoiding refined carbohydrates and high glycaemic index foods will support healthy blood sugar levels, which in turn modulates inflammation.
Hopefully this makes sense and you can continue to focus on your omega 3 fats moving forward.