Chicken or the egg? Ageing, or inflammation?

Which came first?  The chicken or the egg?  Ageing, or inflammation?

It used to be thought that inflammation was an inevitable part of the ageing process. Afterall, inflammation is associated with all the chronic diseases we get with ageing.

Inflammation is not all bad though. It’s actually a natural and desirable protective immune system response by the body to injury, dangerous bacteria, viruses and poisons.

The problem arises when this temporary, often acute, inflammation doesn’t turn itself off when the danger has passed, and then the inflammatory response becomes chronic, that is, long term. It’s probably going on for years on end without us even being aware of it.

Over time, chronic inflammation will lead to the breakdown of collagen (which eventually shows up as wrinkles and saggy skin, and stooped posture, among other things).  It will also damage our joints, blood vessels, digestive system, nerve and brain tissue, all or any organs.  Chronic inflammation leads to premature ageing, disease and, ultimately, death.

Diseases that have a strong link with chronic inflammation include:

  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis
  • Heart Disease
  • Cancer
  • General accelerated ageing and muscle weakness
  • Possibly Osteoporosis
  • Possibly Depression

But we now know that ageing does NOT have to be accompanied by inflammation, meaning that many of us can live to a ripe old age without chronic disease and premature ageing.

So what can you do about it?

There are several things to be aware of:

Food (quality and quantity)

Some foods are known to increase inflammation in the body: processed foods, additives, artificial colourings, flavourings, pesticides.  Ideally the bulk of your diet would be home-made from scratch, rather than ready-made pre-prepared foods from the supermarket.  For example, some Wild Alaskan salmon baked with a little olive oil or coconut oil, with fresh or frozen vegetables, would be an anti-inflammatory meal.  On the other hand, a ready made shop-bought meal might easily be a pro-inflammatory food. I’ll be giving lots of more precise meal ideas in a later post.

Some foods are common allergens, which also cause inflammation in the body, although you may be totally unaware of it for many years. These commonly include grains, such as wheat, rye, corn and even oats, white rice, and anything made from wheat such as bread, biscuits, pasta, pizza base, etc.

Cows milk is also a common allergen.

Controlling blood sugar

Grains such as wheat, refined sugars and other high glycaemic foods make blood sugar and insulin rise, which also leads to inflammation. This is especially the case if the diet is high in carbohydrates, but low in good fats and protein (within the same meal).

Eating the wrong kinds of fats

I’ll be covering this in the next post, but for now, if you concentrate on using just olive oil and virgin coconut oil you won’t go far wrong.  (Omega 3 fats from fish, flax and supplements will be covered later too.)

Colactive 3 (colostrum with Acidophilus and Lactoferrin)

Colactive 3 (colostrum with Acidophilus and Lactoferrin)

CoQ10 Antioxidant for Heart Health

CoQ10 Antioxidant for Heart Health