Saturday, December 31, 2011

Feeling Stress & Inflammed Can be Helped By Changing Your Diet

Reduce your risk with anti-inflammatory foods
You may think of inflammation as something that happens when you sprain your ankle or get a sore throat. But did you know that low-level inflammation (which you may not feel at all) can be a significant risk factor for heart disease?
Many experts now recognize that an anti-inflammatory diet can be a powerful tool for reducing your risk of heart disease. As a bonus, the same approach can help lower your risk of many other conditions as well, including cancer, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and depression.

Here are some tips on creating an anti-inflammatory diet:

Use olive oil, nuts, and avocodo as your primary sources of fat.
These foods are rich in monounsaturated fats, which help to quell inflammation.
Increase your intake of omega-3 fats.
Omega-3 fats, especially the EPA and DHA forms, are powerfully anti-inflammatory. Good sources include fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel, fish roe (caviar) and fish oil supplements.
Decrease your intake of omega-6 fats.
A diet high in omega-6 fats can lead to the over-production of inflammatory chemicals in the body. Vegetable oils such as corn oil are the primary source of omega-6 fats in the diet.
Eat loads of fruits and vegetables.
Fruits and vegetables, especially the brightly-colored ones, are packed with antioxidants that help quell inflammation and repair inflammation-related damage. Aim for five servings of vegetables and up to four servings of fruits every day. Excellent choices include spinach, red and green peppers, broccoli, leafy greens, tomatoes, carrots, berries, citrus fruits, and melons.
Limit your intake of sugar and refined carbohydrates.
Foods made with sugar and/or white flour create high blood sugar levels, which can aggravate inflammation.  To keep blood sugar levels steady and inflammation at bay, limit your intake of foods with a high
glycemic load, such as candy, pastry, cakes, cookies, soda, juice, breads and other baked goods. See also below how sugar negatively effects your immune system.
Spice it up.
Vibrant spices like ginger, curry powder, chili powder, garlic, and onions all have potent anti-inflammatory properties. Incorporate these ingredients into your meals and recipes as often as possible.
Use the IF Rating system.
The IF Rating system shows you the inflammatory (or anti-inflammatory) potential of foods you eat. Foods with a high IF Rating are considered anti-inflammatory. Foods with a negative IF Rating are considered inflammatory. It's not necessary to eliminate all foods with negative IF Ratings. The goal is to balance your choices so that the the total iF Rating for all the foods you eat in a day is in the positive (anti-inflammatory) range.

Sugar: Your Immune System and Heart Disease   
-Don’t Blind Your White Cells
-Your Diet, Mood, Stress and Genetics All Play A Role
“Most people worry that they eat too much between Thanksgiving and Christmas, when really they should be worried about eating too much between Christmas and Thanksgiving.”   Anonymous
The chance of dying from cancer, heart disease, stroke, viral or bacterial infections, like pneumonia, depend on the strength of your immune system.  We could all die, if it were not for our immune system’s ability to fight foreign invaders and chronic inflammation in our body.  Our immune system’s response depends on our diet, stress, genetics and our mood.  Our nutrition can up regulate or down regulate our genes for life or death.

Getting A Cold Or The Flu?
 Around the holidays people tend to eat more sugary foods and refined carbohydrates, thus, having a direct and negative effect on their immune system.  Adults tend to get 2-4 colds or flu a year.  The common cold’s  increased occurrence is when the air is colder and less humid, we don’t get as much sunshine (vitamin D) and is more common around the holidays when our defenses are down from our intemperance in our diet.

Holiday Cheer Or Holiday Fear
Increased sugar intake boosts the neurotransmitter serotonin, our happy mood brain chemical.  This suggests that eating sugar can make you feel better when you are depressed.  Your mood may temporally improve from the sugar high; but, you will pay a high price.  Numerous research studies have shown that increased sugar intake dramatically decreases your immune response.  Short-term hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) negatively affects all major components of your immunity.

Sugar Blinds Your Immune System
Your white cells (leukocytes) are the primary mediators of the immune response.  Neutrophils are a type of white blood cell that is a first line of defense that swallows up (phagocytosis) foreign cells or bugs.  High sugar loads in the body turn off the neutrophils radar for several hours, depending on the amount of sugar ingested.  High glucose levels increase the risk of infections from Staphylococcus epidermidis, Staphylococcus aureus and E coli.  In diabetics, high glucose levels increase the risk of Klebsiella pneumoniae.  In healthy adults, eating simple carbohydrates like: glucose, fructose, sucrose, honey and orange juice significantly decreased the ability of the neutrophil to engulf bacteria.  The greatest effect was one to two  hours after the sugar consumption, but lasted for up to five hours before the fasting control values of normal white cell function returned to normal.

Sugar And Heart Disease
But sugar doesn’t cause heart disease?  Can it?  The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study (ARIC), a community-based cohort of almost 16,000 people from four states (North Carolina, Mississippi, Maryland and Minnesota), found that HbA1c levels taken in 1990-1992 and tracked for 10-12 years, correlated with coronary heart disease events, hospitalizations and deaths.
HbA1c Predicts Heart Disease

The researchers found that Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c)-a measure of long-term blood glucose level-predicts heart disease risk in both diabetics and non-diabetics.  An elevated blood glucose level is the defining feature of diabetes.  It has been argued whether elevated glucose levels contributed independently to increasing heart-disease risk, until now!  In participants with diabetes, the researchers found a graded association between HbA1c and increasing coronary heart disease risk.  Each 1-percentage-point increase in HbA1c level was associated with a 14 percent increase in heart disease risk.  Non-diabetic persons with HbA1c levels of 6 percent or higher had almost a two-fold greater heart disease risk compared to persons with an HbA1c level below 4.6 percent.

Stress And Your Immune System

Stress, through the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, modulates the immune system.   The adrenal glands produce cortisol in response to stress, which suppresses the immune response.  Stress can reduce neutrophil activity, change the type of chemical mediators called cytokines produced by the white cells, decrease cytotoxic T-lymphocytes (CD8) and natural killer cells.  It is now known that increased stress can lead to increased respiratory infections, due to a stress related decrease in your immune response.

What Can I Do?  Seven Recommendations

Recommendation #1: Cut out the sugars and refined carbohydrates in your diet and eat more raw food to improve your immune system function.
Vitamin A : is required for the growth and activation of B-lymphocytes, increases macrophages, improves T-lymphocyte function and is critical in maintaining sufficient levels of natural killer cells.

Recommendation #2--5,000IU of vitamin A a day extra while sick.
Vitamin C can reduce the duration and frequency of the viral common cold and flu symptoms.

Recommendation #3--1000mg of Vitamin C every several hours, no maximum.
Vitamin B6 improves lymphocyte differentiation, maturation and antibody production.

Recommendation #4--100mg of B6 a day, maximum.
Zinc improves white cells immune function such as neutrophils, natural killer cells, T lymphocyte function and B lymphocyte development, antibody production and macrophage activity.

Recommendation #5–add an extra 15 mg of zinc a day.  Literature suggests that greater than 100mg a day of zinc actually depresses the immune system.
Vitamin D up-regulates the gene called cathelicidin, a naturally occurring broad spectrum antibiotic in our white cells.

Recommendation #6--5000IU of Vitamin D a day.

Recommendation #7--Read your Bible daily for its healing qualities & Exercise Daily
“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine, but a broken spirit drieth up the bones.” Prov 17:22


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