"The doctor of the future will prescribe no medicine, but will want to educate their patients in the care of the body, proper diet, and disease prevention." ~ Thomas A. Edison.
What was old, is very new again.
Food is medicine, and the foods we eat can either help us maintain our health, or be a principal cause of illness.
The epidemics of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, digestive disorders, cancers and even Alzheimers disease, have been associated with the increase consumption of nutrition poor, highly processed, inexpensive and easily acquired fast foods and snacks that taste great, but that are loaded with fats and sugars. Food production has become industrialized and utilizes an assortment of chemical additives. Chemical toxins given the name of obesogens are being identified as another contributor to the increased levels of obesity, as well as to obesity related diseases.
The increased amounts of food we eat, the lower nutritional quality of the food production and a decrease in levels of physical activity has changed society and has made the United States a country where a third to forty percent of the children are overweight or obese;
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CHANGE YOUR DIET CHANGE YOUR HEALTHHOW FOOD CAN MAINTAIN OUR HEALTH OR CAUSE DISEASE
By Jorge Bordenave
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2011 Jorge Bordenave
All right reserved.
Chapter OneDisease, Inflammation, and our nutrition
The concept of chronic, persistent inflammation as a cause of chronic diseases has been around for over 200 years. However, it has only been within the last decade or so however, that we have been able to better understand the multiple, complex, biochemical and physiologic interactions that occur in the pathophysiology of systemic inflammation and how they relate to disease development.
Evidence has shown, and continues to support, inflammation as the root cause of many of today's common illnesses and medical conditions.
There is also evidence that suggests that certain types of environmental toxins, acquired either while developing in utero, after birth, or perhaps more importantly, as a result of the foods that we have been consuming as part of a "Western" type diet, contribute directly to the development of inflammation and systemic pro-inflammatory states.
Continuous consumption of foods that are highly refined, processed, and that contain large quantities of saturated and trans fat, or that have been exposed to chemicals or trans-fats during their manufacturing process, that can lead to persistent, long-lasting, low grade inflammation.
Awareness of these facts has the potential of allowing us to make better food and lifestyle choices, which can reverse the discouraging health trends our country has been facing for several decades.
What we eat really makes a difference in our health, making the old adage, "you are what you eat" more relevant than ever.
This is especially true at the start of the 21st century. Despite our successes and impressive advances in medicine, our country leads the world in epidemics of obesity and lifestyle related illnesses (such as diabetes, heart disease, strokes, cancers, digestive disorders, and even mood and cognitive mental disorders). Chronic medical conditions that are occurring at younger ages and continue for a lifetime are important contributors for our escalating, out of control healthcare costs.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 32% of white women and 53% of black women are obese. In 2007, almost 11% of adults over 20 years had diabetes, while 23% of all individuals over the age of 60 had diabetes (http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/pubs/pdf/ndfs_2007.pdf).
Healthcare costs in 2008, the latest year which monetary figures are available, totaled $2.3 trillion dollars ($2.300,000,000,000.00), or 20% of this nation's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). By comparison, in 1980 our nations healthcare expenditure was $247 billion, or 8.8% of our GDP (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10309470).
Five common medical conditions are responsible for more than half of this country's total health care expenditures, as well as for two-thirds of the total amount of money paid out by Medicare (Druss et al 2001).
These are five medical conditions that can be controlled and in many instances reversed, simply by changing our diets and increasing our activity level.
These five include: cardiovascular disorders, obesity, diabetes, pulmonary diseases and cancer.
While genetic and hereditary factors are causes of some diseases and are out of our control, there are many other factors that we can control in order to lessen our chances of developing diseases and becoming ill.
Food is, and has always been, the single most important medication we utilize during our journey throughout life. Many might find this surprising, or maybe even hadn't considered food as a drug.
One definition of "drug" is: Any substance that, when absorbed into the body of a living organism, alters normal bodily function.
Doesn't food do this? Not only that, most of us consume food in a ritualistic manner at least three times a day. Over our lifetime, food, its quality, consistency and quantity, as well as everything that went into producing it, is vitally important to our health and wellbeing.
Food has been utilized as a drug and as medicine in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), Ayurvedic medicine of India, the medicine of the ancient Roman Empire, and of Egyptian and South American cultures—all of which date back thousands of years before Christ.
While growing up, how many of us didn't feel relief and got better quicker from a cold, after a bowl or cup of mom's homemade chicken soup?
A few years ago an article was even published confirming the fact that hot soup did in fact help alleviate cold symptoms quicker.
"Feed a cold, starve a fever" is a common saying in the lexicon of Americana. Or is it the other way around? Regardless, whether we remember it or acknowledge it, food has played an important role in health and disease.
Most of us today, are aware of some negative food-disease associations, such as the consumption of saturated fats with the development of cardiovascular disease or of weight gain, and obesity, and the development of diabetes with increased carbohydrate consumption. The elimination of foods that contain wheat protein is the mainstay treatment of the under-diagnosed condition called "Celiac Disease" or "gluten insensitivity". Likewise, the withholding of food items (which will be mentioned in later in later chapters) serve as a key treatment component of many other illnesses that share an established food-disease association.
More importantly, many of us forget, take for granted, or are even unaware of the positive associations of food with our health. Epidemiological studies have shown that diets that are high in fruits and vegetables and low in meats containing saturated fats have consistently resulted in lower cancer risks.
It has been estimated that approximately 35% of all cancers in the United States have a potential diet related association, surpassing smoking as a risk factor (Doll R, Peto R. The causes of cancer: quantitative estimates of avoidable risks of cancer in the United States today. Journal of the National Cancer Institute 66(6):1191-308 Jun, 1981).
This fact, for me, is just amazing and eye opening.
Many of us may not be aware that Alzheimer's disease and dementia progression can be slowed by the diet we consume, or that a lipoprotein (a type of fat) called apoE 4, which is measured in the blood, has been associated with a higher risk for the development of Alzheimer's disease. These are just a few of the many associations that exists between the foods we have been eating and are still eating today, with the development of many of the most common diseases we suffer from.
Lack of physical activity, movement and exercise compounds and adds to the disease/illness scenario.
I wrote this book to make people aware of this.
There is such an overload of recommendations, diets, fads, weight loss gimmicks, unsubstantiated health claims and misinformation that even I still get confused with all the health claims being made!
The bottom line is your food selection is not only responsible for your weight, but more importantly, it is responsible for your health.
So choose wisely.
It is becoming more evident that inflammation plays a vital role in the development of many wide-ranging chronic illnesses.
Inflammation is a normal bodily process that serves to keep us healthy. It is our body's principal defense response mechanism to infection, injury or any noxious stimuli. We need an intact and adequately functioning inflammatory system to maintain wellness and to stay healthy throughout life.
Inflammatory processes are a common defense response of the body, occurring hundreds of times throughout the day in order to protect us against invading organisms and processes that can potentially cause us harm. When the threat is neutralized, the inflammatory process turns itself off and remains on alert, ready for any future injury or noxious stimuli.
Acute inflammation is an immediate, overwhelming and short-acting response to a trauma, irritation, endo-toxin (chemicals), bacteria, viruses, microorganisms and other potentially damaging stimulus.
For example, whenever we cut ourselves or sustain any other type of injury, within a few milliseconds an inflammatory chain of events, better known as an inflammatory cascade, becomes activated. Damage to the membranes of cells release various chemicals that will trigger an escalating inflammatory response, depending on the need. Some of these chemicals are products of arachidonic acid metabolism, and include substances like prostaglandins and leukotrienes, as well as bradikinins and histamins. All of these have important functions in the acute inflammatory response. Mainly, they increase and creating more inflammation.
These chemical mediators cause an increased blood flow to the site of injury and are typically the cause of the initial localized pain associated with an acute inflammatory process. The increase flow of blood and fluid into the injured area causes swelling, and the increased dilation of the blood vessels causes redness.
Eventually, the immune system may become activated by a process called chemotaxis, in which white blood cells arrive at the site of injury. A key inflammatory activator is a molecule called Nf-kappa B. This molecule acts as a signal to turn up the body's inflammatory response, which in turn causes an increased release of other pro-inflammatory chemicals such as intrleukin-6 (IL-6), interleukin 1L-beta, tumor necrosis factor alpha, and cyclo-oxygenase-2 (COX-2). All of these chemicals are important components of a normal inflammatory response. However, they also play a role in chronic diseases.
Neutrophils are the white blood cells responsible in finding and eliminating any bacteria. They do so by engulfing or swallowing these microorganisms and destroying them with potent enzymes within its cell structure. Neutrophils, which have a very short life of several hours, are assisted in the removal of cellular debris by macrophages, another type of white blood cell.
Depending on the type of injury, the hematologic system may also be activated, with platelets quickly clumping together, forming localized blood clots that stop and prevent any potential bleeding.
In addition to these blood cell components, the injured area is also flooded with other anticoagulant factors and chemicals that work together to protect the body from the injury.
In a healthy person, this response to injury or infection is quick and efficient, with resolution occurring before the immune system is chronically activated. This is how normal inflammation should occur: As a temporary, limited process that turns itself on and shuts itself off.
An immediate, short-lasting response that ends quickly after the elimination of the triggering threat is typical of an acute inflammation process. Occasionally, we are aware of it because it occurs as a result of a direct injury or trauma in a superficial or exposed area that we can see and feel directly.
Anyone who has ever cut themselves or suffered a skin abrasion (scrape) from a fall, knows that after the initial pain, swelling and redness, resulting from this acute inflammatory process is contained and resolved, the skin eventually returns to its normal color and temperature.
Another example of an acute inflammatory response occurs with a flare up of gout. Gout is a condition of altered uric acid metabolism where there is too much uric acid in the body. As these uric acid levels increase, they may precipitate and form crystals that are frequently deposited in the fluids and lining around the joints. These crystals cause the surrounding area to become irritated, which causes an inflammatory process to begin. This process is manifested by redness, swelling, and pain or tenderness to the affected area, frequently localized in one joint.
A more common example of an acute inflammatory process is that of a common head cold. A red and runny nose, watering eyes, and perhaps pain around the sinuses in the face are all products of the acute localized inflammatory response that causes blood vessels to dilated, swell up and increase fluid flow to the area.
In contrast to an acute inflammatory response, a chronic low-level inflammation is a persistent inflammation due to chronic irritation by exposure to a noxious stimuli or an autoimmune reaction.
Instead of neutrophils and macrophage responding to the site of injury, other types of white blood cells, in the form of monocytes, lymphocytes and fibroblasts will typically predominate. As this inflammation becomes chronic and continues indefinitely, other components of the body's defense system become activated. The compliment system is activated to aid antibodies and phagocytic cells in removal of noxious stimuli. Phagocytic cells are a type of cell, capable of engulfing, or swallowing up and destroying invading cells. They also generate and produce many enzymes and chemicals, including reactive oxygen species. These reactive oxygen species are pro-inflammatory and contribute to the cycle of chronic inflammation.
The coagulation system is activated to limit bleeding, by forming a network of fine protein strands that localize in the injured area. This is how thrombus, (a blood clot, as well as the main cause of sudden death and frequent cause of acute coronary syndromes) forms.
The body's complex protein system, or Kinin system, is activated and functions as an inflammatory mediator, causing even more vasodilatation. Finally, the fibrinolysis system (responsible for breaking down clots/thrombus) is activated in order to limit and counter-balance the effects of the coagulation system. Several different inflammatory chemicals result from the activation of each of these systems, all of which form part of the immune response.
Reactive oxygen species are unstable compounds, which are useful in eliminating various noxious threats. Such threats, if left unchecked or continuously produced, can lead to oxidative damage of nucleic acids (DNA) and proteins, causing cellular damage and illness.
On occasion, chronic inflammation may become a state of continuous metabolic and physiological stimulation that, because of genetic, environmental and/or other reasons cannot seem to turn itself off.
In these settings, chronic inflammation leads to involvement of the immune system. This is why many chronic illnesses caused by an inflammatory trigger have an immunologic overlap.
An immune system that cannot turn itself off eventually starts to turn against its own tissues and body, producing a myriad of chronic diseases.
This is how many arthritic and immunologic illnesses (such as rheumatoid arthritis, gluten insensitivity, cancers and many other common illnesses) develop.
Some individuals may also have a genetic predisposition to develop certain chronic inflammatory diseases. One such example is those who suffer form plaque psoriasis—a skin condition in which the body's immune system turns against the skin tissue and continues to over produce skin cells that are then deposited layer upon layer, producing a raised, thick and reddish skin lesion.
Although a thorough explanation of how the immune system works is beyond the scope of this particular book, one can begin to understand how an unbalanced or dysfunctional immune response is at the root of chronic inflammation.
Chronic inflammation can result from an acute inflammation, or as is most commonly the case, it can develop slowly and have a delayed onset. It can last months or even years, and it eventually results in tissue destruction, tissue fibrosis, and cell death.
In chronic inflammation, we don't have the typical cardinal signs of heat, redness, swelling and pain that we do in acute inflammation. Many times, unfortunately, we are not even aware of an ongoing inflammation. Most low-grade inflammations produce no identifiable symptoms because they typically occur in cells, tissues and organs deep within the body. Out of sight, out of mind.
More importantly, many of us are unaware that the illness, medical condition or disease process that we, or someone we care about, suffer from are a form of chronic inflammation.
Excerpted from CHANGE YOUR DIET CHANGE YOUR HEALTH by Jorge Bordenave Copyright © 2011 by Jorge Bordenave . Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Disease, Inflammation, and Our Nutrition....................21
Obesogens: Another Identifiable Cause of Obesity....................50
Taking Obese Kids Away From Their Families....................58
How fat tissue causes inflammation....................60
The state of our nations health and some healthcare statistics....................64
The role of a sedentary lifestyle....................76
A nutritional walk down the last decades....................80
Our digestive tract and disease....................105
The role of corn....................116
Popular diets for weight reduction....................121
Food as Medicine....................130
High-fat, ketogenic diet....................146
The anti-inflammatory diet....................149
Seven Countries Study....................153
Phytonutrients: Nature's antioxidants....................232
Other food items with healthy and anti-inflammatory benefits....................243
My personal story....................275
About the author....................303