Inflammation plays a key role in many serious diseases. This includes Alzheimer’s, cancer, heart diseases, mental illnesses, and more. Targeting inflammation naturally, by allowing your body to heal itself, is important. The best tools you can give yourself come from the food you eat. But how do you know if the food you’re eating can reduce inflammation?
Trying A Low-Carb Diet? You’re Not Alone
Rather than specifically targeting one root issue that causes a variety of symptom flare-ups, many Americans are looking to achieve overall health. Definitions may vary, depending on what a person is looking for. More energy, weight loss, increased mental focus—everyone has a different reason. For every reason, a different diet is touted as the cure-all. Recently, low-carb diets have gained popularity. 45 million Americans try low-carb diets each year. As a knee-jerk reaction to the standard Western diet, with lots of carbs and processed sugar, it might make sense. Science backs up low-carb diets, too. When your diet changes from fake foods to low amounts of healthy carbs, you’re bound to feel better.
However, low-carb diets conceal hidden dangers. The above statement is true—but only in the short-term. In the long-term, this diet increases your risk of experiencing heart attacks, strokes, and cancer. Since chronic low-grade inflammation drives these conditions, it’s safe to say that low-carb diets aren’t working long-term. Statistics back up this assumption. Over 4,500 Americans on low-carb diets were studied over a set time period. The participants in this study were 32% more likely to die prematurely from a variety of causes. They were more likely to die from heart problems by 51%, from cerebrovascular disease by 50%, and from cancer by 35%.
The problem is due to a nutritional lack. Deficiencies compound over time, which lead to decreased thyroid output, suppressed immune functions, muscle catabolism, increased cortisol output, decreased testosterone, impaired mood and cognitive function.
What does this mean?
Slow metabolism, a spike in stress hormones, and decreased muscle-building hormones can all occur. One of the main root causes of these serious diseases is inflammation. Since that is the case, it’s clear that low-carb diets aren’t helping inflammation in the long-term. This diet actually ensures that your inflammation issues become chronic and dangerous.
The Hidden Dangers of Going Low-Carb
There are, however, initial benefits to low-carb diets. These short-term benefits are, after all, why people praise low-carb diets for being effective and healthy. People who are overweight and obese—or merely making dietary choices based off the flawed food pyramid—can benefit in the short-term. A diet full of processed food and junk is inferior to a low-carb one. Thus, people feel better in the short-term, and may see significant weight loss. This can cause dangerous connections, and lead to untrue assumptions regarding low-carb diets. In the long-term, low-carb diets are nothing more than a ‘quick’ fix when it comes to issues involving weight and blood sugar. However, in the long-term, they are simply not sustainable. Eventually, your body succumbs to a chronic state of low-grade inflammation, which causes a spike in health risks that you’re trying to avoid.
As usual, there are a few exceptions to the rule. People coping with illnesses such as epilepsy, metabolic syndrome, or Alzheimer’s may flourish on a low-carb diet. However, this is not the case for most people.
What Do I Try Now?
If low-carb diets cause inflammation in the long-term, what should you try instead? A holistic approach is important. There are many factors that play into reducing inflammation and increasing overall health. Sleep is one of them. Maintaining healthy sleep patterns—at least seven or eight hours each night—is crucial. Regulating your autonomic nervous system is also important and can be accomplished through daily prayer and meditation. Making sure that you’re connecting with others and fostering a strong sense of community is important, too! Loneliness is even more corrosive to your health than smoking.
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When it comes to the food you eat, making sure you’re giving your body all the micronutrients it needs is important. For some people, taking natural supplements is crucial to maintaining peak levels of vitamins and minerals. Whole food carbs are also important. If you’re especially active, then you should consume up to 250 grams of whole food carbs daily. Staying active is important too! Making sure that you include 2-3 days of strength training in your weekly routine will help maintain peak health.
Depriving yourself of key micronutrients through low-carb diets doesn’t work long-term.
Selecting a diet that deprives you of nutrients, causes hormonal imbalance, and inflammation spikes is dangerous. Holistically addressing your health through meditation, sleep, nutrition, supplementation, and exercise is the best way to target inflammation and elevate your health.
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