Inflammation

Inflammation is a process by which the body’s white blood cells and chemicals protect us from infection and foreign substances. Redness, pain, and swelling are indications that there is infection and inflammation. Most Americans are living a lifestyle that causes chronic silent inflammation. People with Cardiovascular diseases, Arthritis, Diabetes, Obesity, Cancers, Asthma, Allergies, all “itis” inflammatory diseases are linked to having higher levels of inflammation than those without these diseases. Silent inflammation is like a poison that seeps into all of the body’s systems causing destruction to the immune system and major organs like the heart and brain.

The inflammatory state is usually associated with redness, swelling and pain. It is a sign that something is wrong due to an injury or infection. If a virus, bacteria or parasite enter the body, inflammation attacks any tissue that may have been infected. Inflammation is also the way the body responds to trauma and injury in order to repair itself. Medicines are prescribed to reduce the inflammation and attempts are made to decrease tissue destruction. Although, pain medicine can be very effective at providing temporary relief, they do not stop what is causing the inflammation. Often, anti-inflammatory drugs can cause harmful side effects.

Silent Inflammation is inflammation without any known sickness or pain that is attacking internal body tissues including the heart, lungs and organs and leading to chronic diseases. Silent inflammation kills, whereas, classic inflammation hurts. Silent inflammation is demonstrated by a disproportionate ratio of aracadonic acids and eicosapentaenoic acids. When these hormones are in balance there is wellness. If pro inflammatory eicosanoids continue to be generated after the effective time, they will bring destruction to healthy tissues, cells and blood vessels. When the pro inflammatory hormones are dominant there is silent inflammation leading to chronic diseases.

Silent inflammation can remain hidden for years. Like a poison, it seeps into all of the body’s systems causing destruction to cells, immune system, and major organs.

Due to an injury, infection or some “initiating event,” pro inflammatory hormones attack the site and cause cellular destruction. If the eicosanoids become persistent rather than promoting cellular healing and leveling off, they cause continued cellular destruction. This can go on for years without knowing the extent of the damage being done to the body until a disease presents itself. This destructive activity attacks the immune system and major organs which may lead to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s and autoimmune diseases.

Small meals with primarily fruits and vegetables, some lean meat, healthy oils and limited grains and starches will reduce fat intake and reduce insulin levels. Poor food choices can cause excess fat and low blood sugar. The more insulin you have, the more blood sugar is driven down, and the hungrier you are as you try to maintain adequate blood glucose levels for the brain. Balancing hormones reduces inflammation. Eating the right foods and the right amounts of food will allow hormonal balance.

There are three blood tests that are indicators of overall health. They include AA/EPA (fatty acids), Insulin (diabetes) and TG/HDL (Cholesterol). Following a healthy diet gets a person to a state of wellness and sustains wellness. Foods to avoid include processed starches, traditional starches, sugar loaded foods, and unhealthy fats. Adding fish oil, moderate exercise, and eating healthy foods all encourage living in the zone of wellness.
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Finding Treasure through Lifestyle and Health

rfid0_7kep4-natalie-foxMetabolic Syndrome

Society’s treasure has been focused on complete freedom to eat, behave and live in any way without regard for others and without consequences. Our guilty pleasures, instant gratifications and flippant attitudes towards responsibility and humanity do have consequences though. The consequences have shown up in poor human relationships and our declining health. During the last 20 years, we have seen more degenerative diseases than ever before. At the same time, our eating habits declined. Today, we are more stressed, eat poorly while we are stressed and are increasingly more tired from our schedules and food choices. This often leads to choosing caffeine or other stimulates to keep us awake and alert. Then, we reach for alcohol to help us relax. We add medications on top of all that and exercise very little. We are making ourselves so sick.

Metabolic Syndrome is a group of risk factors that raises your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.

The risk factors include:

  • Large waistline
  • High Blood Pressure
  • High triglyceride level
  • Low HDL cholesterol level
  • High fasting blood sugar

High insulin levels result from low-fat/high carbohydrate diets, stress, dieting, caffeine, alcohol, aspartame, tobacco, steroids, stimulants, lack of exercise, excessive or unnecessary thyroid replacement therapy and all over the counter and prescription drugs. This is a broad listing that can lead to high insulin levels. Ultimately the high insulin levels disrupt hormones and biochemical reactions at the cellular level. This means one thing. We must find ways to reduce stress, eliminate or reduce particular things from our diet and live a balanced life focused on our health.

Even after healthy habits are formed, we face challenges. A fast–paced life causes daily obstacles for people. Take jobs for example that are demanding with long hours or families of school-age children with extra curricular activities. Managing a healthy meal for yourself or your family with limited amount of time at work or between activities is challenging. Not only does our schedule make healthy eating difficult, but also the food industry has provided many unhealthy options in our grocery stores. When these foods are eaten out of convenience or habit, they contribute to accelerated aging and disease.

Great strides have been made in bringing awareness to linking diet to overall health. A healthy lifestyle can extend longevity while regenerating and healing the body. We must value our health and teach our children how choices today have consequences tomorrow. Perhaps, with a little extra planning, those busy families can provide nutritious meals on-the-go and design a schedule that doesn’t put such stress on the family. We can learn to stay away from particular “foods” in the grocery store by focusing on real food around the edges of the store – the fresh, refrigerated and frozen foods areas. Nutritional planning can lead to treasures of good whole health and keep the risk of metabolic syndrome at bay. Treasuring health means we have to focus on it. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Luke 12:34. At work and at home, put your heart and mind to intentional healthy living!

Feel your best to be your best!

 

Drop a Beet

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I went to a healthy cooking class a few years ago and discovered that I really like beets. Not the pickled ones in a can, but beets that have been boiled or roasted. There are many ways to cook with beets and some of my favorites include making beet humus, using beet leaves in my protein drink, juicing beets and the easiest – boiling beets for a beet salad. During the cooking class, the instructor showed us how to boil beets until soft, remove the skin, cut them up, and add spinach leaves and goat cheese. That’s it. Simple, pretty and delicious.

It doesn’t seem like beets could be so fun, but I find them quite entertaining. The first time my young teenagers saw beets boiling in a pot on the stove, they asked, “What is that?” When I looked to see what they were asking about, I noticed the long root tail of a beet sticking out of the pot. The first thing I thought to jokingly say was, “It’s the stray cat.” Each of them knew I was joking and knew it was silly fun. Then, they were even more intrigued to find out what was really in the pot.

Beets are slippery when removing the skin after being boiled. Besides, my hands turning red (which is kinda fun) I almost always DROP. A. BEET. The first time I said that out loud it was just a literal comment that turned super funny. Years later, my teenagers still find it funny. Even if they don’t want to laugh, they laugh. “Mom is dropping a beet in the kitchen!”

Okay, seriously… beets are filled with super nutrients and have many health benefits. They have high levels of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents. They are high in a unique fiber and are a good source for folate and betaine. Beet greens are a good source of lutein, an antioxidant that protects the eyes from age-related issues. Research indicates that beets produce nitric acid, which can help increase blood flow in the body and in your brain. MRIs done on seniors after ingesting beets had more blood flow to the white matter of their frontal lobes. More research shows that beet juice mixed with apple juice can make certain activities like walking for exercise less exhausting for seniors. Runners use it for athletic performance. Prepare beet greens as you would other greens by boiling or stir-frying. Once you remove the leaves from the beet, I’ve found that they only last a few days in the refrigerator. Better go on and use them.

One last entertaining and useful bit of beet information is that beets may help you go to the bathroom, but don’t be worried if your stool or urine is pinkish or red in color. That happens when eating beets.

Here is a picture of the beet that I grew! One beet. I was so proud. It was delicious and I didn’t drop it.

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Try beets, you might love them. If you already like beets, please share your favorite way to prepare them.

What Drives My Bus?

img_0796Immune System

Feel your best so you can BE your best! A huge part of feeling well and staying well has to do with your immune system.

Everything is connected to everything. As I like to say, “What is driving the bus?” To me, the “What” is longevity with good health and fewer medical issues along the way. What drives my bus is my desire for happiness, wholeness, making a difference in the lives of my children and in my little orbit of friends, family and community. In order to do that well, I must feel well. Getting caught up in the newest, best, and fastest can often drive the bus into murky waters of apathy, selfishness, and shallowness. How then, can an apathetic or selfish attitude nurture relationships with nature, self and others?

The immune system is affected by a compilation of five elements including the physical aspect, emotional factor, nutritional intake, environmental surroundings and a spiritual connection. What is put in the body, what is thought, what is felt, what is believed, and what has been experienced through the environment all play a role in the health of the immune system. Continue reading “What Drives My Bus?”