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Inflammation Free Radical Damage

Free radical damage, oxidative stress, inflammation:  the link



Free radical damage:  This refers to the damage done to cells by normal metabolism.  The damage is to the DNA of the chromosome as well as to the cell in general.  What causes it:  Being alive.  Normal living, breathing, eating, sleeping, exercise, all cause free radical damage.  (Being 6 feet under stops free radical damage :-)

Just as our cars give out exhaust as a result of burning fuel, the by-product of our own burning of fuel and breathing of air is a freefall of singlet electrons that bombard our cells. Hence, free radical damage.  (These singlet electrons are the "free radicals.")

Oxidative stress is the result of free radical damage.  Too much oxidative stress = a weakened system and ultimate illness.  Life's stresses also add to oxidative stress!


Can we protect ourselves from free radical damage? 

While we can never eliminate it completely (since it's a natural process), what we want to do is protect ourselves from the cumulative damage as much as possible.  The only thing that offers protection (a "screen" in front of the fireplace, so to speak) are the micro-nutrients in raw fruits and vegetables.  Nothing else can set up this screen for us.

Why do plants have this power? Because they evolved over eons to create chemicals within their structure to protect themselves the sun's radiation and from pests.  The sun's radiation would kill plants had they not evolved these "phytonutrients."  There are tens of thousands of these protective agents in plants and plants alone.  The plants didn't do this for us, they did it for their own protection.  But nature, in it's ultimate wisdom, allows us to partake of plants' genius by eating them!  The cycle of life.


Inflammation:  This is the silent killer.  Instead of a temporary reaction (like the redness that surrounds a healing wound, or the body inflammation from an infection), it has now become a chronic internal condition.  We now know that chronic inflammation is at the base of all of our chronic diseases: heart disease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's, auto-immune diseases, you name it, inflammation underlies the disease.

What causes it?  Mostly, our forks.  Chronic inflammation is brought on by an infection or an attack by bad bacteria in food, and  by diet.  It was unheard of before the advent of processed and altered foods.  There are foods that rev up the immune system to stay in the "on" position, so that tissues are chronically inflamed.  There are foods that cool down the system and tamp down or turn off these same switches.  Once the body gets into a defensive position, it stays there unless we intervene with our forks and make good food choices.

Gosh, now for the big mystery!  Which foods do which?  (Oh, what a surprise!!)


Inflammatory foodssugar in all its forms, both natural and synthetic; anything from packages that lists more than 2 or 3 ingredients, starting with: enriched wheat flour......  (if your ancestors didn't have it 200 years ago, don't eat it.)

This would include all white pasta, hamburger, hot dog buns, breads made from anything except "whole grains", cakes, cookies, pastries, crackers, in other words all refined carbohydrates, including and especially sodas and things with artificial sweetners.  Equal and all things aspartame are neurotoxic and very inflammatory. Also inflammatory are all hydrogenated oils, trans-fats, and all of the omega 6 oils:  soy, corn, sesame, sunflower.  (safer are the omega 9s: olive and peanut) Canola oil is also in that list, even though they make claims that it’s a healthy oil.  Not.  Red meat and all dairy products are pro-inflammatory.  Sorry.  I love cheese too!  A little bit goes a long way on these foods.


Anti-inflammatory foods:    fruits and vegetables, of course, oily fish such as wild (not farmed) salmon, sardines, dark tuna (in moderation b/c of the mercury), nuts especially walnuts, whole grains and brown rice, and some spices like garlic, ginger, and tumeric.  The obvious key here is "convenience."  If it's something you can just rip into, or grab from a drive thru window and start gulping, it's both very convenient and very inflammatory.


This isn't meant to be depressing but rather to give you a pat on the back for the times you make really good "cooling" choices in the foods you choose, and also to remind you why taking JuicePlus+ regularly goes a long way to keep your body "armed" with a screen against free radical damage and oxidative stress.  JP+ isn't permission to eat junk food:  it's a tremendous support in your efforts to maintain good health and peak performance.  It helps keep the inflammation switches in the "off" position.  This is why, over a lifetime, it helps prevent chronic disease.  Our new goal, as educated people, must be to prevent disease, not tend it.


Enjoy the fruits of the earth! (well, and the veggies, too!)