Stress has recently been linked to inflammation in this article on Science News about stress and inflammation. http://www.sciencenewsdigital.org/sciencenews/20120225?pg=11#pg11
When looked at biochemically it is obvious that stress is the number one health issue today because it leads to so many ailments. I’ll go into that in a minute. Don’t worry,it’s pretty simple.
Recent science has shown that inflammation leads to many modern ailments. Heart disease, diabetes, dementia including Alzheimer’s and cancer to name a few.
Biochemically speaking, diseases like these progress in a logical way. So, let’s look at stress as reported in the above article.
Most people know that junk food is bad for them, but many don’t know why. Since knowledge is power, I’m going to lay it out for you here. The simple answer is that it puts stress on the body. There are other stress factors of course, factors that most people know.
The body reacts the same way to toxic chemicals as it does to junk food. Strong emotions, mostly negative ones, create the same biochemical nightmare that being exposed to toxins in your food or environment do.
Other stress factors include: injury, lack of sleep, over exercising, not exercising, temperature and long term hunger (an hour or two is actually good for you, but that’s a different subject).
How stress leads to disease
When there is stress the adrenal glands produce powerful hormones. The purpose of these hormones is to get the body ready to fight or run away fast, the fight or flight instinct.
It’s the powerful hormones that cause inflammation. The swelling is there so if you bleed it will be minimal. Inflammation also fights off infection. Whatever the case the inflammation is there long term because most stress is long term.
In the case of emotional stress, if the emotions aren’t released then they become stuck in the body, and we all know how to stuff emotions. Dietary stress is very long term for the majority of people who have access to processed foods because it’s in our genes to crave fattening foods. That’s how ancient people survived winter, if you didn’t crave fattening foods you didn’t survive, and we’re descended from the survivors.
The human body is designed to eat fattening foods once a year for a few months at most. Type 2 diabetes sets in during that time so there is excess blood sugar that is converted in the liver to fat. Do that year round and you become permanently diabetic, overweight and develop heart disease. Cancer results too, but that pathway is more complex, a subject for another time.
If you want to avoid stress and inflammation, then you need to change your life. While that may not very practical for most people, there are things that you can probably change to eliminate a big chunk of your stress. And, you can mitigate the effects of some stress in a number of ways.
Eliminating dietary stress is number one. That includes all processed foods and sugars. (By the way, processed foods are any ground up grains and all sugars. Stevia is the only completely safe sweetener.) Grains are not the best thing to eat at all, so at least minimizing them is pretty important.
Another thing you can do is to exercise regularly. Walking is the best exercise because our bodies are designed to walk — ancient humans were nomads. An hour or so a day five days a week is a good goal to work up to. That’s the main part though there’s a lot more about exercise, but again, another subject.
Eliminating emotional stress is the hard one for most people. Meditation and yoga have been shown to reduce those stress hormones, and exercise helps to burn them off.
For the remaining stress you can take adrenal herbs and supplements. This is discussed in my book, Adrenal Fatigue, Get Your Life Back. It’s still only $7 for the download at the link, and is now available on Amazon in a physical form for 12.99. It’s on Kindle too if you like reading that way.
Whatever your circumstances, you can probably do something to eliminate even a little stress and inflammation. Your body will thank you by sticking around for a few more years.