Thursday, June 16, 2011

Quiet Down Your Cytokines!

by Kris Pitcher

I've come across something interesting lately. It's kind of a chicken and egg scenario. A "which came first" question of sorts. We know inflammation can cause all sorts of issues for people. And the media is ripe with anti-inflammatory foods, diets, tinctures and the like.

From arthritis, to fibromyalgia to chronic fatigue syndrome - these all share one thing in common...inflammation.

What I came across is the fact that our fat cells release cytokines. These cytokines are chemicals which act as communicators between cells. These chemicals promote inflammation. They tell our cells to become inflammed. Hmm?

Now, Rheumatologist aren't sure if elevated cytokine levels are a secondary or direct cause of conditions such as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. Thus the question, which came first?

Sleep deprivation also induces elevated cytokine levels. It would reason if we're over fat, or under rested...our chemical messengers are running around yelling, "INFLAMMATION EVERYWHERE!!!" As a result we are suffering. Inflammation causes pain, swelling, and loss of movement and functionality.

Some foods have been found to counter cytokine inflammation. Particularly cold water fish like salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines, swordfish, shark, cod & halibut. These all contain omega-3 fatty acids which reduce inflammation.

Eating whole fruits, berries, olive oil, nuts, green and brightly colored vegetables, and drinking plenty of water help to reduce inflammation. Limiting (or excluding) processed foods, sugar, and saturated fats from our diets helps to decrease inflammation. Less fat in our cells, less cytokines sending out inflammation messages. Makes sense.

What this reminds me is, there are a lot of reasons to live a healthful lifestyle. Most of the benefits we feel, we don't necessarily see in the mirror every day.

We shouldn't be dismissive of the multitude of good we're doing for ourselves every day by doing the right things for ourselves. Quiet down your cytokines by making great choices, every day!

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