A lot of blame is passed around when talking about illness. You’ve probably heard a lot of common beliefs about what causes disease – some true and some a bit misinformed. For example, it’s often said that eating too much sugar causes diabetes, spending too much time in the sun causes skin cancer, and eating fatty foods will give you heart disease. The human body is complex, and it makes sense that different diseases will have different causes, but some experts believe that all diseases might begin with a single core cause: inflammation.
This idea actually makes a lot of sense if you follow health news. We are constantly hearing that inflammation causes cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes, to name just a few. While these illnesses manifest themselves in different ways and affect different parts of the body, is it possible that a single problem could be responsible for so many different negative outcomes?
One researcher, the Total Health Institute’s Keith Nemec, is currently exploring the underlying causes of disease in nutritional and metabolic medicine. He said: “Whether you have cancer, heart disease, diabetes, digestive disorders, autoimmune disease, or Alzheimer’s, it all starts with inflammation at the cellular level, which leads to either early cell death translating into specific organ or gland disease, or into cancer stem cell stimulation, which fuels cancer cell growth and metastasis.”
If his theory is correct – and there is a lot of evidence pointing to that possibility – then it may mean that modern medicine is barking up the wrong tree in many cases when it comes to treating diseases. Instead of finding a cure for cancer or a medication to treat depression, perhaps it would make more sense to figure out what environment allows these diseases to form in the first place and take steps to stop it from happening.
Nemec uses the analogy of leaving garbage in your driveway, which attracts flies. If you notice you have a fly problem, you may buy insecticide, but as long as the garbage continues to sit there, you’re going to need to keep buying and using the insecticide because the flies will keep coming no matter how many of them you kill. A far better solution for getting rid of the flies would be to change the environment that they are attracted to.
Just as getting rid of the garbage will get rid of the flies, eliminating inflammation in your body could well stop many diseases from forming. According to Nemec, when the body experiences a breakdown in the four basic elements needed for life at the cellular level –water in, oxygen in, food in, and waste products out – that’s when inflammation begins, putting you on a path toward disease.
He believes that rather than depending on drugs, the ideal disease treatment involves balancing the spirit, body and mind, using proper diet, exercise, breathing techniques and mindfulness practices to keep everything in order.
Keeping inflammation to a minimum
If you’d like to keep inflammation at bay, an anti-inflammatory diet is a great starting point. First, you’ll want to cut out the foods that lead to inflammation, such as processed meats, soda, white bread, sugar and fried foods. Shift your diet to focus more on anti-inflammatory foods, like fatty fish, nuts, leafy green vegetables, olive oil, tomatoes, and fruits like blueberries, strawberries and cherries.
Of course, diet is only part of the equation. In addition to making these changes, start working on setting up an exercise plan and look into meditation and mindfulness as well. Making an effort to keep inflammation in your body to a minimum could prove to be one of the best things you’ve ever done for your health.
Sources for this article include: