By Dr. Mercola
You’ve heard of mind hacks for being more efficient in the office and tech hacks for keeping your computer humming.
So if you’ve been wondering if somebody will ever come up with some tricks for living a longer, happier, healthier life, there’s good news: Best Health Degrees.com has a colorful way of telling it like it is, beginning with chronic inflammationi.
Chronic inflammation is the source of many diseases, including cancer, obesity, and heart disease, which essentially makes it the leading cause of death in the U.S. To address that issue, Best Health offers a range of strategies that will help you live a longer, healthier life. To see the graphic, please refer to the source below. Here, I will expound on some of the key points.
The Importance of Combating Chronic Inflammation
Inflammation is a normal and beneficial process that occurs when your body’s white blood cells and chemicals protect you from foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses.
You actually need some level of inflammation in your body to stay healthy, however it’s also possible, and increasingly common, for the inflammatory response to get out of hand. If your immune system mistakenly triggers an inflammatory response when no threat is present, it can lead to excess inflammation in your body, a condition linked to asthma, allergies, autoimmune disease, heart disease, cancer and other diseases, depending on which organs the inflammation is impacting.
Unfortunately, chronic inflammation typically will not produce symptoms until actual loss of function occurs somewhere. This is because chronic inflammation is low-grade and systemic, often silently damaging your tissues over an extended period of time. This process can go on for years without you noticing, until a disease suddenly sets in.
Diet accounts for about 80 percent of the health benefits you reap from a healthful lifestyle, and keeping inflammation in check is a major part of these benefits. It’s important to realize that dietary components can either trigger or prevent inflammation from taking root in your body. For example, whereas trans fats and sugar, particularly fructose, will increase inflammation, eating healthy fats such as animal-based omega-3 fats found in krill oil, or the essential fatty acid gamma linolenic acid (GLA) will help to reduce them.
If you have not already addressed your diet, this would be the best place to start, regardless of whether you’re experiencing symptoms of chronic inflammation or not. To help you get started, I suggest following my free Optimized Nutrition Plan, which starts at the beginner phase and systematically guides you step-by-step to the advanced level.
But diet is not the only component that will have a profound impact on your health and longevity. It’s really about addressing your total lifestyle. Below, I will discuss a few of the components I believe have the greatest impact. All of these components affect chronic inflammation, but they also have other health ramifications.
Optimizing Your Insulin Levels is Paramount for a Long, Healthy Life
Having high insulin levels is a surefire way to speed up your aging process. According to Dr. Ron Rosedale, if there’s a single marker for lifespan, it would be insulin, specifically insulin sensitivity. Insulin resistance is the basis of virtually ALL of chronic diseases of aging, and one of the primary reasons for this is because it promotes chronic inflammation throughout your body.
Unfortunately, many health care practitioners are still ignorant of the profound influence that insulin has on health. Please understand that a firm appreciation of insulin’s role is one of the most important things you can do to optimize your health and outlive the naysayers. The two most important elements for normalizing your insulin levels and avoiding insulin resistance are:
- Avoiding sugar/fructose and grains (remember that beverages play a paramount role here, as high fructose corn syrup from soda is one of the primary sources of calories in the US)
- Regular exercise
For an excellent, in-depth review of just how damaging sugar (especially fructose) is to your health, please watch this lecture by Dr. Lustig if you haven’t done so already. It’s a shocking eye-opener that explains the many intricacies of how sugar affects your body.
Using Grounding to Address Inflammation
Another simple lifestyle strategy that can help prevent chronic inflammation is grounding or earthing. Stated in the simplest terms possible, earthing is simply walking barefoot; grounding your body to the Earth. Your skin in general is a very good conductor, so you can connect any part of your skin to the Earth, but if you compare various parts there is one that is especially potent, and that’s right in the middle of the ball of your foot; a point known to acupuncturists as Kidney 1 (K1). It’s a well-known point that conductively connects to all of the acupuncture meridians and essentially connects to every nook and cranny of your body. By looking at what happens during grounding, the answer to why chronic inflammation is so prevalent, and what is needed to prevent it, is becoming better understood.
When you’re grounded there’s a transfer of free electrons from the Earth into your body. And these free electrons are probably the most potent antioxidants known to man. These antioxidants are responsible for the clinical observations from grounding experiments, such as beneficial changes in heart rate, decreased skin resistance, and decreased levels of inflammation.
Furthermore, researchers have also discovered that grounding thins your blood, making it less viscous. This discovery can have a profound impact on cardiovascular disease, which is now the number one killer in the world. Virtually every aspect of cardiovascular disease has been correlated with elevated blood viscosity. It turns out that when you ground to the earth, your zeta potential quickly rises, which means your red blood cells have more charge on their surface, which forces them apart from each other.
This action causes your blood to thin and flow easier. It also causes your blood pressure to drop. By repelling each other, your red blood cells are also less inclined to stick together and form a clot. Additionally, if your zeta potential is high, which grounding can facilitate, you not only decrease your heart disease risk but also your risk of multi-infarct dementias, where you start losing brain tissue due to micro-clotting in your brain.
To learn more, please see my interview with Dr. Oschman, who is widely recognized as an authority in the biophysics of energy medicine.
Chronic Stress and Lack of Relaxation Takes a Heavy Toll on Your Health
The classic definition of stress is “any real or imagined threat, and your body’s response to it.” Celebrations and tragedies alike can cause a stress response in your body. Some stress is unavoidable. Some mild forms of stress can even be helpful in some situations. But a stressor becomes a problem when:
- Your response to it is negative.
- Your feelings and emotions are inappropriate for the circumstances.
- Your response lasts an excessively long time.
- You’re feeling continuously overwhelmed, overpowered or overworked.
It’s important to realize that all your feelings create physiological changes. Your skin, heart rate, digestion and assimilation of food, joints, muscle energy levels, the hair on your head, and countless cells and systems you don’t even know about change with every emotion. For example, feeling chronically stressed:
Dramatically decreases blood flow to your digestive system Decreases your metabolism Decreases enzymatic output in your gut by as much as 20,000-fold Causes excretion of nutrients, such as water-soluble vitamins, calcium, micro- and macrominerals Raises triglycerides Raises cholesterol Decreases beneficial gut flora populations, which can weaken your immune function Raises cortisol levels Raises insulin levels