Inflammation, the Gut/Brain Connection, and General Health: Regulating General Health through Diet

Widespread inflammation can eventually damage your DNA, cause obesity, diabetes, cancer, depression, autism, asthma, arthritis, coronary artery disease, multiple sclerosis, and even Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. Discover the link between inflammation, your gut, and your overall health by reading this post. It ends with an anti-inflammation diet that helps regulate inflammation, therefore, improving your overall health.
Inflammation, the Gut/Brain Connection, and General Health: Regulating General Health through Diet
9 min read

What Is Inflammation And How Does Inflammation Affect You?

Remember that time you were walking and texting, not paying attention, and bumped your shin on your bedpost? What about the time you were playing catch a little too close to a bees nest and got stung? Or how about falling off your bike and scraping your knee? When any (or in my case all) of these instances occur, your body begins to swell in that area. This is your bodies natural response to an injury. The bump, bruise, or swelling, is visible and usually painful, but we bandage it up and move on with the thought that our bodies will heal the damaged area and eventually all will be like new again. But what about the times when your body doesn’t handle the damage properly? This is when things start to get serious…very serious.

“But when inflammation persists or serves no purpose, deep inside the body and through systemic pathways, it causes illness. In fact, it’s implicated in such diverse conditions as obesity, diabetes, cancer, depression, autism, asthma, arthritis, coronary artery disease, multiple sclerosis, and even Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.” Perlmutter, David. Brain Maker: The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain –for Life.

“Uncontrolled inflammation plays a role in almost every major disease, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and even depression. Inflammation occurs naturally in your body. But when it goes wrong or goes on too long, it can trigger disease processes.” https://health.clevelandclinic.org/why-you-should-pay-attention-to-chronic-inflammation/

That’s right – a defense mechanism that was meant to protect us since birth can actually harm us. In fact, this occurs more often than not.

“Today, our immune systems have become chronically activated in response to our diets and lifestyles. This has been recognized in the past several years as playing a pivotal role in driving or initiating many of the chronic, degenerative diseases plaguing modern society. Widespread inflammation can eventually damage your DNA, promote insulin resistance (the underlying mechanism that drives type 2 diabetes), and cause weight gain. This may be why systemic inflammation correlates significantly with a larger waistline.” Max Lugavere and Paul Grewal, MD. Genius Foods: Become Smarter, Happier, and More Productive While Protecting Your Brain for Life (Page 22).

To help make it even easier to understand just exactly what is going on, watch this 2 minute video and learn more about chronic inflammation and diseases it can cause:

What Causes Chronic Inflammation?

Our bodies were designed to live in a natural environment with natural food. We were not made to have all of this “imitation” food such as the food found in fast food chains, created in labs to be manufactured for the masses, or even the unhealthy crops growing on contaminated soil (which is also the same contaminated soil that is growing the food they are then feeding to the animals we live off of). Since our bodies are constantly bombarded with all of this harmful food which we’ve been deceived by, it is forced to stay on high alert the entire time. Imagine how well you would function without sleep for 24 hours straight. Now imagine if you were sleep deprived for a whole year…even a few years! Well this is exactly what we are doing to our immune system because it’s constantly awake and active.

“Unfortunately, our immune systems today are in a constant state of activation, not due to infectious threat but rather to what we’re eating.” Max Lugavere and Paul Grewal, MD. Genius Foods: Become Smarter, Happier, and More Productive While Protecting Your Brain for Life (Page 39).

Not only does this affect our bodies, but it affects our brain as well.

“We tend to think of our brains as unaffected by the goings-on in the rest of our bodies, but the problems associated with inflammation don’t stay below the neck. Perhaps we don’t think much about inflammation in the brain because it’s invisible-it’s not something we can feel with unmistakable certainty, as we can in an arthritic knee or an upset stomach, for example. But here’s the cold hard truth: our brains sit downwind of the activated immune system. Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s, vascular dementia, MS, even brain fog and chronic fatigue syndrome-these diseases can all in some way be likened to forest fires in the brain, frequently set off by a spark elsewhere in the body. But even before disease sets in, inflammation can rob us of our cognitive potential. If clear thinking is like coasting down a multilane highway with no traffic and lanes open, inflammation creates lane closures and bottlenecks in the traffic.” Max Lugavere and Paul Grewal, MD. Genius Foods: Become Smarter, Happier, and More Productive While Protecting Your Brain for Life (Page 38).

The Gut/Brain Connection And Inflammation

“All disease begins in the gut.” – Hippocrates

Your immune system controls inflammation. The gut microbiome helps regulate/manage the immune response.

“The digestive system is intimately connected to what goes on in the brain. And perhaps the most important aspect of the gut that has everything to do with your general wellness and mental health is its internal ecology— the various microorganisms that live within it, especially the bacteria.” Perlmutter, David. Brain Maker: The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain–for Life (Kindle Locations 104-106). Little, Brown and Company. Kindle Edition.

So you can see how the typical “Western Diet” can cause not only our body harm but our brain harm as well.

“It’s now undeniable that our intestinal organisms participate in a wide variety of physiologic actions, including immune system functioning, detoxification, inflammation, neurotransmitter and vitamin production, nutrient absorption, signaling being hungry or full, and utilizing carbohydrates and fat. All of these processes factor mightily into whether or not we experience allergies, asthma, ADHD, cancer, diabetes, or dementia. The microbiome affects our mood, libido, metabolism, immunity, and even our perception of the world and the clarity of our thoughts. It helps determine whether we are fat or thin, energetic or lethargic. Put simply, everything about our health— how we feel both emotionally and physically— hinges on the state of our microbiome. Is it healthy and dominated by so-called friendly, beneficial bacteria? Or is it sick and overrun by bad, unfriendly bacteria?” Perlmutter, David. Brain Maker: The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain–for Life (Kindle Locations 143-149). Little, Brown and Company. Kindle Edition.

10 Signs You Have Chronic Inflammation

Now that you know what chronic inflammation is and can do, here is a list from https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-24782/10-signs-you-have-chronic-inflammation.html by Kellyann Petrucci, ND, a leading naturopathic physician and nutritionist, who is an inflammation expert outlining the top 10 signs of chronic inflammation. Visit the link to learn about these in greater detail.

  1. You have a “spare tire” around your waist.
  2. You have high blood glucose levels.
  3. You have digestive problems like gas, diarrhea, bloating, or constipation.
  4. You’re tired all the time.
  5. You have skin problems like eczema or psoriasis, or your skin is red and blotchy.
  6. You have allergies.
  7. Your face is puffy, or you have puffy bag s under your eyes.
  8. You have gum disease.
  9. You’re depressed, anxious, or suffering from “brain fog.”
  10. If you’re a man, you have erectile dysfunction.

Anti-Inflammation Diet

Here’s a diet that Yan has been following for a little over a month now that greatly helps reduce chronic inflammation.

Do Eat (Organic only):

*Why organic? Because of glyphosate and other toxic chemicals found in conventionally grown food that uses Roundup. “Roundup and Glyphogan are glyphosate-based herbicides containing the same concentration of glyphosate and confidential formulants. Formulants are declared as inert diluents but some are more toxic than glyphosate, such as the family of polyethoxylated alkylamines (POEA). We tested glyphosate alone, glyphosate-based herbicide formulations and POEA on the immature mouse Sertoli cell line (TM4), at concentrations ranging from environmental to agricultural-use levels. Our results show that formulations of glyphosate-based herbicides induce TM4 mitochondrial dysfunction (like glyphosate, but to a lesser extent), disruption of cell detoxification systems, lipid droplet accumulation and mortality at sub-agricultural doses. Formulants, especially those present in Glyphogan, are more deleterious than glyphosate and thus should be considered as active principles of these pesticides. Lipid droplet accumulation after acute exposure to POEA suggests the rapid penetration and accumulation of formulants, leading to mortality after 24 h. As Sertoli cells are essential for testicular development and normal onset of spermatogenesis, disturbance of their function by glyphosate-based herbicides could contribute to disruption of reproductive function demonstrated in mammals exposed to these pesticides at a prepubertal stage of development.” – Formulants of glyphosate-based herbicides have more deleterious impact than glyphosate on TM4 Sertoli cells.

  • Dark Leafy Greens
    • Collard greens
    • Mixed lettuces
    • Mustard greens
    • Spinach
    • Swiss chard
  • Root Vegetables
    • Beets
    • Carrots
    • Celery root
    • Parsnips
    • Squash: butternut, Hubbard, kabocha, pumpkin, spaghetti, zucchini
    • Sweet potatoes
    • Yams
  • Alliums
    • Garlic
    • Onions
    • Scallions
    • Shallots
  • Cruciferous Vegetables
    • Arugula
    • Bok choy
    • Broccoli
    • Brussels sprouts
    • Cabbage
    • Cauliflower
    • Kale
    • Radishes
  • Fruit
    • Apples
    • Bananas
    • Blackberries
    • Blueberries
    • Cherries
    • Lemons
    • Limes
    • Pineapple
    • Raspberries
    • Stone fruits
    • Strawberries
  • Nuts and Seeds
    • Almonds
    • Brazil nuts
    • Cashews
    • Hazelnuts
    • Pistachios
    • Seeds: chia, flax, hemp, pumpkin, sesame
    • Walnuts
  • Beans and Legumes
    • Beans: black, cannellini, garbanzo (chickpeas), kidney, navy
    • Lentils
    • Split peas
  • Grains (Keep to minimum, especially if you want to eat in a Ketogenic way)
    • Buckwheat
    • Millet
    • Quinoa
    • Rice: brown, white, wild
    • Teff
    • Sprouted flours like spelt
  • Herbs and Spices
    • Basil
    • Cinnamon
    • Cloves
    • Cumin
    • Dill
    • Fennel
    • Ginger
    • Oregano
    • Rosemary
    • Sage
    • Turmeric
  • Animal Products
    • Anchovies
    • Beef, grass-fed
    • Bone broth
    • Chicken, pasture-raised
    • Halibut
    • Lamb
    • Salmon
    • Shrimp
    • Trout
    • Tuna
    • Turkey
  • Fats and Oils
    • Ghee, pastured
    • Oil: coconut, olive (extra-virgin)
  • Sweeteners (If you can, better to avoid any sweeteners all-together, I don’t have use any of these personally)
    • Coconut sugar
    • Honey, raw
    • Medjool dates and date paste
    • Molasses
    • Stevia leaf and extract
    • Syrup: brown rice, maple (100% pure)

Avoid:

  • Fats and Oils
    • Margarine
    • Oils: canola, corn, peanut, rapeseed, soybean, vegetable
    • Trans fats (often called hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils on the ingredients label)
  • Nuts and Seeds
    • Peanuts
  • Grains
    • Corn, genetically modified (i.e., not organic per the USDA’s National Organic Standards, or verified non-GMO by a third-party organization like the Non-GMO Project)
    • Refined wheat flours
    • Wheat and other gluten-containing grains: barley, bulgur, farro
    • Wheat pastas
  • Unfermented Soy Products
    • Soy: beans, milk, protein, sauce
    • Vegetable protein, textured
  • Citrus Fruits (in excess)
    • All
  • Nightshade Vegetables (if sensitive to them)
    • Eggplant
    • Peppers
    • Potatoes, white
    • Tomatoes
  • Feedlot Meat and Animal Products
    • Dairy products, processed
    • Eggs, factory-farmed
  • Sweeteners
    • Agave nectar
    • Sugar: brown or white, refined
    • Syrup: corn, high fructose corn syrup
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