Our body uses inflammation to promote healing. Ask me, the mom who took a fall on Mother’s Day at Twin Falls and ended up with a swollen knot on her arm. One week later, the swelling is minimal and my arm is healing. Chronic inflammation, however, is not good for the body. It’s what drives most diseases. So keeping inflammation down in our body is one key to staying healthy and preventing disease.
In an interview with Dr. David Jockers on The Fasting Summit, Dr. David Perlmutter, a well-known neurologist posed this question, “What do Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, cancer, diabetes, and heart disease have in common?” His answer might astound you as it did me, “They are all inflammatory conditions!”
He went on to say, “When we stress our bodies with fasting, it activates a gene pathway that reduces inflammation.” And he also mentioned that a diet high in carbohydrates and a sedentary lifestyle actually both accentuate inflammation. He recommends intermittent fasting, which is fasting 12-16 hours a day. For example, if you ate breakfast at 8 am, lunch at 1 and dinner at 6pm, that is a 14-hour fast. Fasting increases the production of ketones and also lowers inflammation.
Ketosis (the burning of fat for energy) and aerobic exercise are two lifestyle choices that stimulate the production of BDNF (Brain Derived Neurotropic Factor), which promotes new brain cells and connections between those brain cells. Research has now proven that we grow new brain cells as long as we live. Click here to see more information on this from Dr. Perlmutter.
Mitochondria are where fuels are utilized to power the cells in your body. The most dense mitochondria are found in our brains. We must nurture our mitochondria with a healthy diet, exercise, adequate sleep, proper hydration, and stress reduction activities. High stress creates high cortisol in our bodies and this can actually kill brain cells in the hippocampus, which is the memory part of the brain.
Increasing the health of our gut microbiome also lowers inflammation in the body. The gut microbiome is composed of bacteria, viruses, and microbes that reside in our gut lining. These microbes have tremendous potential to impact our health and resistance to disease. They contribute metabolic functions, protect against pathogens, educate the immune system and affect most of our physiological functions. A diet rich in prebiotic fiber from fruits and vegetables and probiotic foods such as yogurt and fermented foods greatly enhances our microbiome.
The key to restoring insulin sensitivity is addressing inflammation. Lowering blood sugar and movement both decrease your risk for neurodegenerative diseases.
In my cancer journey, I was shocked to learn that chronic inflammation over time can open the door for cancer. After my cancer treatments, I’ve made an effort to keep inflammation levels down in my body. I ask my doctors to do a C-Reactive Protein (CRP) blood test yearly.
COVID-19’s symptoms are also acerbated with underlying issues such as heart disease and high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s disease, lung issues, diabetes, and in those with cancer and low immune systems. But why? Because these are all inflammatory diseases!
There’s never been a better time to implement lifestyle changes to improve your health and your immune system. Exercise, adequate sleep, proper hydration, and a diet rich in nutrients and gut building foods is what your doctor would like to order for you. Your immune system stands between you and any chronic disease, cancer or virus—even COVID-19. By lowering inflammation, the hidden factor behind many chronic diseases, you are reducing your risk for many diseases. And if you come down with COVID-19, your symptoms may be less as well
During our crisis with COVID-19 and our desire to return to normal, what changes have you implemented to build your immune system, lower inflammation and protect your health?
For Your Health,