By northviewwe24053360, Jan 4 2017 04:50PM
Food is defined as any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for the body usually of plant or animal origin and containing essential nutrients like carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals. When ingested, this food is assimilated into the body to provide energy, maintain life and stimulate growth.
Hmm...In light of that definition... where does that leave the modern Hodge-Podge of various so-called "foods" we consume today?
The chemical mediator of pain in the human body is inflammation which is defined as a "protective attempt by an organism to remove injurious stimuli and initiate the healing process. This is a great thing when you step on a thorn or sprain your ankle, but what if your body is attacking its own tissues as is the case in auto-immune disease or degenerative arthritis or even chronic infections.
In the same way that too little inflammation will slow down the healing process, too much of it will keep you in pain longer. Chronic inflammation is the type of inflammation that is not effectively mediated by drugs.
So what is the deal with the headline of this letter?
While true food can serve to decrease inflammation and help heal the body, man-made or heavily processed foods can work against us. Even some items that may be considered "real food" can become inflammatory if manipulated, eaten too often, or activate your immune system when eaten. Things like processed or refined grains, pasteurized dairy, refined or artificial sugars, refined or hydrogenated fats and oils. Even healthy foods like the nightshade family of foods (tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, etc.) or eggs can be inflammatory in the wrong individual. This why it is important to have a food's inflammatory reactions measured to see if you might be better off with a food eliminated from your diet.
So what is the mechanism here? How can "food" cause inflammation in our gut, much less the rest of our entire body.
As food enters the digestive tract and begins to be digested, one of two things can happen. We either completely break it down into useful, healthful nutrients absorb it through our intestinal lining and take it to where it will be utilized for health or we cannot break it down and it becomes an irritant to the system. In this situation, incompletely digested food particles (either because we lack the enzymes and acids necessary or because it is a processed non-food) move through our intestine causing irritation and promoting an immune response.
Over time, this immune reaction breaks down the protective barrier provided by the gut and causes larger-than-normal holes to be left in the lining. This now so-called "leaky gut" allows not only undigested foods to pass through, but also a number of other inflammation producing substances including pathogens like viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites.
This passage through the protective barrier of the gut produces inflammation-causing immune complexes throughout the body resulting in inflammation and pain potentially all over your body. Now that "old" knee, back or whatever injury hurts you even when you are not "playing" on it. What is even worse is that over time the repetitive exposure to this inflammation and immune system response can produce physiologic tissue change and disease.
It is now well-known, that most of the chronic diseases that we fear including heart disease, diabetes and cancer are all caused in part or entirely by chronic inflammation. Other conditions or symptoms related to chronic inflammation include:
Joint Pain/Arthritis Auto-Immune Disease Asthma/Allergies
Leaky Gut/IBS Chronic Fatigue Skin Disorders
Obesity/Weight Gain Hormonal Imbalances Neurodegenerative Disease
The body was not designed to fight chronic inflammation and begins to suffer with mal-adaptive responses quickly when faced with such a situation. There are, of course, many other sources of chronic inflammation such as toxicity, repetitive trauma, and even emotional stress we did not discuss in this article. However, all sources of inflammation should be explored and eliminated if one is to not only be pain-free, but disease-free as well.
I will also note that anti-inflammatory medications such as NSAIDs, COX inhibitors, and steroids do not qualify as adequate means of dealing with chronic inflammation due to their toxicity burden and should be a last resort in dealing with inflammation in general.