Did you know that 60% of American adults have a chronic disease? It’s true; in fact, about 40% of us have more than one chronic disease that we have to deal with on an almost daily basis.
Today, someone will have a heart attack every 40 seconds, 50 million Americans have an autoimmune disease, cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide, and almost half the population of the United States has either pre-diabetes or diabetes.
Let me ask you this: What do most of the major health conditions we’re facing today have in common?
The answer is inflammation, which has become one of the most pressing health threats of our time.
Understanding the burden of chronic inflammation
Inflammation can also impact brain health, which may explain why about 20% of American adults have a diagnosed mental health disorder and 1 in 5 American children have a diagnosable mental, emotional, or behavioral disorder. Inflammation has been directly linked to depression, which is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and anxiety, which affects more than 40 million Americans.
Looking beyond just mental health, Alzheimer’s disease — which has been directly connected to unhealthy alterations in the inflammatory response — is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Since 1979, deaths due to brain disease have increased by 66% in men and a whopping 92% in women. It’s expected that the rates of neurodegenerative disorders will continue to rise rapidly in the coming years.
Every single one of these health problems is inflammatory in nature. Sadly, this is the age of inflammation.
The truth about chronic, sustained inflammation
So, why are our inflammation levels out of control in the first place? Inflammation in and of itself is actually a healthy thing. It’s a normal bodily response that occurs when you’re exposed to a virus or you sustain an injury. Inflammation is your body’s way of working to repair damaged tissue and protect you from further harm. That said, when inflammation becomes chronic — and doesn’t go away once the immediate threat subsides — it’s no longer healthy.
Unfortunately, we don’t always know this is happening at the time. Inflammation is insidious, and it starts brewing in the body long before a specific disease becomes noticeable, not to mention diagnosable. By the time a health problem is advanced enough to be officially diagnosed by your primary care doctor, there’s a good chance that chronic inflammation has already done some damage to the body. In one good example, close to 90% of your adrenal glands have to be destroyed before you are “officially” diagnosed with Addison’s disease. In this case, inflammation has been brewing for years, with the gradual build-up of symptoms a siren call for help, before it destroys enough to warrant a diagnosis.
Right now we all exist somewhere on an inflammation spectrum, from no inflammation to mild to moderate to diagnosis-level inflammation that has resulted in a disease state.
How food contributes to chronic inflammation
This type of sustained, chronic storm of low-grade inflammation is triggered by a range of factors, including medications, toxin exposure, stress, how much we move our bodies, and most importantly, the foods we eat. This is actually good news because it means we have a say in how much inflammation our bodies experience. In fact, studies estimate that close to 77% of inflammatory reactions are determined by factors over which we have at least some control — including our diets — with the remainder determined by genetics.
Food is so important because the foods we eat send our body signals; in fact, every single bite of food we eat influences how we feel on a daily basis — and in the long-term can make the difference between us being healthy or not.
That said, there is no one universally healthy diet. The foods that work well for someone else may not be right for you and your unique biochemistry. It’s important to find out what foods YOUR body loves and what food it hates in order to drive-down inflammation. You can start this process by trying an elimination diet, which will help you pinpoint food sensitivities and find out which foods work for you.
When you’re able to start cooling inflammation it opens up the opportunity for your body to address health imbalances that have been caused by it. Inflammation gets in the way of the body’s natural ability to heal.
To better understand how much inflammation is impacting your health and what you can do about it, pick up a copy of my book The Inflammation Spectrum. In it, I teach you to recognize how inflammation is manifesting in your body and then guide you through an elimination diet so you can develop a dietary plan that works for you.
If you want to learn more about your own health case please check out our free health evaluation. We offer webcam as well as in-person consultations for people across the country and around the world.
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