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To control systemic inflammation it is best to eat an “anti-inflammatory” diet. Primarily this means eating “whole” foods and removing processed and packaged foods. Whole foods supply your body with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients from all the rainbow of colors that real food comes in. The amount of macronutrients between carbs, protein and fats has been debated by nutritionists for a long time. This is particularly true with regards to best choices for weight loss. There have been low carb, low fat to high fat and high protein diet plans. Depending on many factors such as genetics and microbiome diversity, individuals will respond better to particular diet plans. There is NO ONE diet plan that works for everyone.
That said when you supply your body and your microbiome with the required nutrients; you can transform your body.
Educate yourself about the foods that are pro-inflammatory and why. Try to avoid these food as much as possible. Once your body has identified a food protein as foreign and has produced antibodies (IgG) they typically last for about 23 days. This is why if you remove a food to see how you respond; you should remove it for a minimum of 3 weeks. This will provide time for antibodies to be eliminated. After an elimination period of 3-4 weeks you can do a trial of re-introduction and then record any symptoms you feel.
Besides what you eat another important factor is “when” you eat. We need food to survive, but the very act of eating is a stress to the body. Eating increases oxidative stress and increases the release of the hormone insulin. Insulin is a signaling molecule. In the presence of glucose, insulin is released to signal cells to take in glucose. Glucose is the main energy supply for our cells so it is important they get glucose. The down side to insulin is that it promotes fat storage.
It is very important to regulate spikes in blood sugar because this is a stress to the body. In attempt to regulate blood sugar it has been suggested that we should eat frequent small meals throughout the day so our blood sugar does not drop.
Throughout evolution food has typically not been as readily available as it is now. We have evolved to survive periods of time without eating. In fact the body can shift into a different metabolic process of burning fat (ketones) when glucose is not available. This is the basis behind the Ketogenic Diet. It encourages the body to use ketones for energy and not glucose which has the added benefit of not stimulating insulin, which promotes fat storage. So the Ketogenic Diet recommends eating more dietary fat and yet it does not promote fat storage.
To encourage the production of ketones the body needs to go without carbs for a period of time. This is the reasoning behind “Intermittent Fasting”. After about 24 hours without eating the body will have used up any available and stored glucose and it will need to shift machinery into making ketones.
Every time you eat your blood glucose levels raise. The cells either use this glucose for energy or convert it into fat for long-term storage. Eating more calories than the body needs will lead to excess glucose levels, more insulin and fat storage.
To limit fat storage you need to decrease insulin stimulation.
Reduce blood glucose
Persistent high blood glucose causes chronic stimulation of insulin. Over time, the cells become resistant to the insulin signal and do not take up glucose. Insulin resistance is defined as an impaired response of the body to insulin, resulting in elevated levels of glucose in the blood which is a key component of type 2 Diabetes, metabolic syndrome and many more conditions:
Eating pattern is a significant factor in insulin production. The common eating pattern of 3 meals a day with snacks in between produces a great deal of insulin. You can see on the graph below the more often you eat the more spikes of insulin release occurs.
You can alter your insulin production by your food choices and how often you eat. Intermittent fasting stimulates less insulin production and has been found to reduce blood glucose levels and Type 2 Diabetes.
Just by removing snacks between meals, insulin levels drop.
Eating in a 8 hour window only, which is the same as a 16 hour fast, significantly reduces insulin production and fat storage. This is the easiest form of intermittent fasting. Skip breakfast, eat between 10 am and 6 pm and then fast for 16 hours between 6 pm and 10 am. For more information check out:
Dr. Jason Fung is a Canadian nephrologist. He's a world-leading expert on intermittent fasting and low carb, especially for treating people with type 2 diabetes.
The benefits of intermittent fasting go beyond lowering insulin levels. Periods of fasting allows the body time to do some maintenance work.
The human body consists of some 37.2 trillion cells with varying life spans of only 4 hours for neutrophils (immune cells), up to 40 years for heart cells and a life time for brain cells. The health of each and every cell is monitored, a process of cellular quality control. Quality control checks occur all the time behind the scenes, but can be upregulated by stressful stimuli.
When stress, such as nutrient deprivation from fasting or exercise happens, your body needs to prepare for survival. To do this, it destroys and recycles its own damaged cell bits and proteins, so that new and healthy versions can be built. The cell degrades its internal contents in a process called “autophagy” which literally means “self-eating”; a process of cellular housekeeping.
Autophagy is believed to be essential for helping protect against diseases including aging-associated pathologies, neurodegeneration, cancer, cardiovascular disorders, and infectious/inflammatory conditions, as well as metabolic problems.
Fasting for extended periods of time is by far the most powerful way to stimulate autophagy mechanisms in the body. Autophagy is also, in part regulated by light & dark cycles and deep sleep favors an environment for optimal autophagy mechanisms. So sleep is an essential time to clean debris from within the brain and to recycle and improve old and damaged cells in the body.
How you eat has a major impact on digestion and nutrient absorption. Activation of the parasympathetic system, the "rest and DIGEST" side of the autonomic nervous system is required for optimal digestion. You need to prime the gut to prepare for incoming food. When you smell your food cooking and take a moment to anticipate food, this activates the release of saliva in your mouth, HCL in your stomach and digestive enzymes from the pancreas. This prepares you to digest and accept nutrients.
When you eat on the run you are in a sympathetic state which decreases the release of HCL and digestive enzymes. This can be a reason for heart burn and bloating after eating because of poor digestion. To enhance digestion and nutrient absorption you need to practice "mindful eating", an in-the-moment awareness of the food and drink you put into your body. Eating with family and friends promotes social connection and heart : gut coherence.
We need to move away from the concept that food is only about flavor and satisfying hunger. This belief makes us grab whatever is convenient and usually calorie rich and nutrient deficient. Food provides our human cells and micro-organism cells the substrates they need to survive and thrive. This is the key to vital health and living a long and pain free life.
Hippocrates said: “Let food be thy medicine". The role of food in health is under appreciated. Change your beliefs, change your eating habits and change your life.
At the start of this course, I stated you likely already appreciated the health benefits of the following lifestyle habits. Hopefully now you have a greater understanding of WHY they are healthier choices and why they will help you take control of your pain.
I sincerely hope that this course has encouraged you to adopt an anti-inflammatory lifestyle. I hope you are able to use the information presented and I wish you success in achieving the goal of "Taking Control of Your Pain"!
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