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Inflammation a major issue of our time

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Chronic inflammation is rapidly becoming one of the most studied topics in mainstream health care, and with good reason.

Chronic inflammation has been linked to heart disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s and fibromyalgia. In fact, inflammation is rapidly becoming the most widespread illness of the 21st century.

Inflammation was even featured on the cover of a February 2004 edition of Time magazine where it was dubbed "The Secret Killer." Secret because where chronic inflammation was once seen as the effect of these conditions, many in health care are now looking to inflammation as potentially the primary cause of these chronic degenerative conditions.

Unlike acute inflammation from trauma, infections, allergies, burns or cuts, which can heal within a short period of time, chronic inflammation is more systemic in nature and can become a repeating cycle of flare-ups over the years.

The problem with inflammation is that it is almost entirely due to lifestyle and environmental factors. A toxic environment, lack of sleep, stress and lack of movement will all contribute to inflammation. However, poor nutrition may be the biggest culprit.

Many of the foods we consume on a regular basis promote the spread of inflammation throughout the body. For example:

Sugar: Diets high in refined sugars tend to produce a large rate of inflammation throughout the body due to their acidic load. Refined sugars are found in almost all packaged foods especially in concentrated forms like high fructose corn syrup.

Vegetable oils: Industrial fats and vegetable oils produce trans fatty acids that can increase inflammation and damage blood vessels. Polyunsaturated fats such as corn, soy, safflower and cottonseed oils are also found primarily in packaged foods and restaurant applications.

Grains: Most grains eaten today, including their whole grain varieties, are refined, processed and treated with pesticides and other chemicals. More importantly, wheat, rice and corn contain gut-irritating proteins that cause inflammation along the digestive tract. Gluten intolerance is an example of this process.

Food additives: These are often used as flavour enhancers and preservatives. There is some speculation that these additives, such as MSG and colourings found in processed meats and packaged foods, will trigger an inflammatory response in people already suffering from chronic inflammation.

Reducing inflammation from food sources is potentially a simple solution to a number of different illnesses and chronic degenerative conditions.

By eating a clean, nutritionally-dense, whole food-based diet consisting of vegetables, lean organic meats, low-sugar fruits, nuts and seeds, we can begin to gain control over a condition that has limited the lives of so many.

Dr. Christian Chatzoglou, D.C. is a chiropractor, writer and natural health expert. For more information on this and other topics, visit www.drchrischatzoglou.com.

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