|"Aging is a mistake," said Dr. Deepak Chopra. Actually, aging
is worse than a mistake, it is a catastrophe. Aging reduces quality of life and causes so-called "diseases of aging" such
as cancer, Alzheimer's, and arthritis. Making yourself old and sick is not a sensible choice--it is a mistake. Each disease,
even a cold, accelerates aging, makes you sicker, and causes more disease. Then our physicians manage these diseases with
treatments that create still more aging and disease. It's a vicious cycle, and we have to learn how to break that cycle. |
live a long disease-free life, it is essential to learn how to prevent and reverse aging and disease. Fortunately, this is
not difficult to learn. With just a little bit of effort, any of us can become healthier and biologically younger. While we
cannot control our chronological age, we do have control over our biological age. Recently, I had my arteries measured. I
have the arteries of a thirty year-old; I am sixty-six. The biological age of my arteries is less than half my chronological
age--anyone can do this. Aging is a mistake you don't have to make.
Historically, people such as the Hunzas lived
well into their hundreds in robust, vigorous health without suffering as much as a cold, so we know this is possible. For
you to accomplish something similar you must learn how to prevent aging and disease, and to do this, you must learn how to
prevent and reverse inflammation. There is only one disease, malfunctioning cells, and a malfunction common to all chronic
disease is a process called inflammation. No matter what so-called disease you have, inflammation is a major part of your
problem. By learning how to prevent and reverse inflammation, you are learning how to stay young and never be sick again.
Inflammation is a natural and healthy process. If you cut your finger, the body begins an inflammatory process immediately.
This process neutralizes harmful microorganisms, helps to repair the wound, and cleans up the debris resulting from the injury.
Inflammation is beneficial when needed, but it is disastrous when chronic. Chronic inflammation generates a constant supply
of free radicals that overwhelm our anti-oxidant defenses and damage DNA, aging us and causing disease of every description,
including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, arthritis, allergies, Alzheimer's, auto-immune disease, and infections.
Unfortunately, more than three out of four Americans suffer from chronic inflammation. This is why we are aging so
rapidly and why more than three out of four of us have a diagnosable chronic disease. Even our children are increasingly suffering
from "diseases of aging" in epidemic numbers. To put an end to this tragedy, as a society and as individuals, we must learn
how to prevent and reverse chronic inflammation.
What causes inflammation? The standard American diet causes inflammation!
Most of us suffer from chronic inflammation and disease because the American diet is pro-inflammatory. Our diet lacks nutrients
that help to prevent and control inflammation, while being rich in pro-inflammatory compounds.
How do you reverse
inflammation? In my book Never Be Sick Again, I advise people to avoid the Big Four: sugar, white flour, milk products, and
processed oils. These so-called "foods" are pro-inflammatory--they cause rapid aging and disease. Indeed, I have had numerous
calls from people who have read my book, got off the Big Four, and were cured of terrible, chronic diseases. All it took was
to stop promoting the inflammation in the first place. I have been off the Big Four for 17 years and I have been taking lots
of antioxidant supplements, thus controlling inflammation and allowing my arteries and other tissues to repair and become
those of a much younger person.
Sugar and white flour are deadly poisons. They have an inflammatory effect on the
body. Unaware of this hazard, the average American consumes more than 160 pounds of sugar and 200 pounds of white flour per
year. Tragically, we expose children to these deadly poisons, accelerating aging and causing lifelong health problems. Both
of these poisons in-crease blood sugar levels. Even a modest increase in blood sugar generates free radicals that cause inflammation,
thereby causing disease of every description. Because most people eat these poisons every day (in the form of bread, pasta,
breakfast cereal, cookies, cakes, soft drinks, candy, etc.), disease is a growth industry.
Milk products also cause
inflammation. Modern dairy cows eat grain-containing diets that change the proportions of fatty acids in the milk, leaving
very little omega-3 fats and creating a pro-inflammatory imbalance. In addition, a substantial percentage of our population
(some estimate fifty percent) is allergic to dairy, often unknowingly. Daily consumption causes chronic allergic reactions,
creating chronic inflammation.
The fats and oils in the American diet contain excessive omega-6 fatty acids, causing
chronic inflammation. Omega-6 fatty acids promote inflammation, while omega-3s are anti-inflammatory. Historically, humans
consumed roughly equal amounts of these oils, achieving a balance. Today, we consume 20 to 30 times as much omega-6 as omega-3.
The modern processed-food industry fills our stores with pro-inflammatory oils, including safflower, sunflower, peanut, and
even most commercially available olive oils; all of these contain excessive amounts of omega-6 and insufficient omega-3 fatty
acids. Grain-fed beef, poultry, and farmed fish also contain excessive omega-6. These imbalances create a huge excess of pro-inflammatory
compounds. Unable to turn the inflammation off, chronic inflammation and disease are the result. It is extremely important
that only healthy fats and oils be consumed.
Hydrogenated oils are also pro-inflammatory. These oils find their way
into a myriad of products including candy, baked goods, margarine, breakfast cereal, and peanut butter. These deadly oils
disrupt body chemistry, causing many abnormalities-including inflammation. The trans fatty acids contained in hydrogenated
oils inhibit the activity of enzymes that make anti-inflammatory compounds, but not those that create pro-inflammatory ones,
chronic inflammation is the result.
In addition to diet, infections also contribute to inflammation. Avoiding infections
by keeping your immune system strong pays off in many ways. It is important to minimize the number of infections you suffer.
Infections are inflammatory, triggering powerful inflammatory processes to destroy invading microorganisms. Unfortunately,
the inflammation dam-ages you as well as the invaders. Having one cold after an-other will do lasting damage, shortening your
life and leaving you susceptible to every imaginable disease. Repeated infections, as well as chronic infections, lead to
chronic inflammation that damages and ages the entire body. One way to help keep your immunity strong is to avoid eating sugar,
which is known to damage immunity as well as causing inflammation.
Physical injuries also create inflammation. Nature
intended inflammation to subside once an injury is repaired. However, by consuming a pro-inflammatory diet, injuries are seldom
fully healed and often result in chronic low-grade inflammation in the injured tissue. This is why athletes have problems
with old injuries as they age. These incompletely healed tissues, by producing pro-inflammatory compounds, become sources
of chronic inflammation for the entire body.
Allergies and food sensitivities also create inflammatory responses.
Chronic allergic reactions create chronic inflammation. This is why allergic reactions must be minimized by strengthening
the immune system and avoiding allergens. Unfortunately, allergies have become epidemic. Contributing to this epidemic has
been the irrational misuse of antibiotics, NSAIDS, and hormones by our obsolete disease-care system. These dangerous drugs
disrupt gut tissue, causing leakage of undigested food molecules into the blood, thereby promoting food allergies. A good
idea for almost anyone is to stay away from the most common allergens such as dairy and gluten (half the population may be
allergic to gluten, found in wheat, rye, and barley).
Yet another promoter of chronic, systemic inflammation is fat
cells. Given that two out of three Americans are overweight this is a huge source of inflammation. Pure and simple, if you
are more than five pounds overweight, you have a serious chronic disease. The inflammatory process unleashed by being overweight
accelerates the aging process and leads to every conceivable disease. Fat cells, especially those that form around the abdomen,
produce large amounts of inflammatory compounds that affect the entire body.
If you want to prevent disease, or if
you are diseased and want to get well, what should you do? First and foremost, stop promoting inflammation. Get the Big Four
out of your life--now! Eat a diet low in pro-inflammatory foods and high in anti-inflammatory nutrients. Get rid of those
excess pounds (exercise and get off the Big Four to lose weight). Take high quality anti-inflammatory supplements. If you
take these principles to heart, you will be well on your way to a longer, higher quality, disease-free life.
a diet low in refined carbohydrates and high in a variety of fresh, organic vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. Eat high
quality organic animal protein, such as eggs, fish, chicken, turkey, and grass-fed beef plus olive, coconut and flaxseed oil.
Supplementing with antioxidant nutrients is critical to preventing and reversing inflammation. Supplement with omega-3 fish
oil, vitamins A, B complex (including folic acid, B6 and B12), C, D, and E, plus quercitin, glucosamine, chrondroitin, beta-carotene,
selenium, CoQ10, N-acetylcysteine, and alpha-lipoic acid. (Call Beyond Health to get the supplements I use.)
of the American people is in a catastrophic, long-term downtrend. The result is pain, suffering, unnecessary loss of loved
ones and an economic threat that is projected within a few decades to bankrupt our country and plunge it into third-world
status. This is happening because, in a relatively short period of time, we have completely changed our diet. We now consume
insufficient anti-inflammatory vitamins and minerals and an enormous surplus of pro-inflammatory "foods" in the form of the
Big Four: sugar, white flour, dairy and processed oils (remember the oils we consume are 20 to 30 times more pro-inflammatory
than our ancestor's).
Inflammation is a common element in virtually all disease. By consuming the Big Four, the cumulative
effect of the inflammation we are creating is aging us prematurely, causing us to look old, feel tired, and suffer every imaginable
disease. By learning how to prevent and reverse inflammation, we can achieve power over aging and disease. What a wonderful
goal-and so easy to do.
Raymond Francis is an M.I.T.-trained scientist, a registered nutrition consultant, author
of Never Be Sick Again, host of the Beyond Health Show and an internationally recognized leader in the emerging field of optimal
Reprinted with permission from: Beyond Health® News
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