In this week’s topic, How to Avoid Chronic Disease – what we’re really doing is pulling together concepts covered in our previous sessions. A good chance to summarise everything we’ve covered before delving into the topic of ecosystems next week.
When we look at chronic diseases we see that ‘All roads lead to Rome’. It’s clear from the medical study of many separate conditions such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s, cancer, arthritis and several mental health conditions that they all lead to the same destination: inflammation.
So we can ask why inflammation found wherever there is chronic disease and what can we do about it to stay alive and well?
- Recap on Inflammation
- Recap genes vs environment debate
- Balancing opposites (controlling our environment)
- Conclusion – balancing the many dimensions of health
1 – A quick recap on inflammation.
In last week’s episode, we built up a picture of humans as bio-electric beings. We discovered that we must stay charged up in the right way to be healthy – electrolytes must be stored on the right sides of cell membranes. Both at the cell surface and in the thousands of tiny wood-burners inside of our cells – those powerhouses the mitochondria. In our first podcast, we talked about inflammation and the eternal dance of oxidation and reduction. As a reminder:
- The process that causes inflammation are perfectly normal and are needed in your body for defence and repair.
- In fact, the fire inside of us needs to stay stoked up enough to power all of the processes vital to life, but it must not be left to burn wildly. It is important that your body is able to ‘tend the fire’ within you.
- lose the balance > Inflammation > damaged mitochondria > loss of function > chronic disease.
- So staying well requires us to keep the balance between oxidation and reduction just right. Known as the redox balance or redox status.
- We do this by making smart lifestyle choices that support your body’s ability to maintain this balance by itself.
2. Genes vs Environment
But isn’t our health determined by our genes? Actually it is changing signals from our environment that trigger genes to be switched on or off. Change our environment and we change the expression patterns of our genes. We can consider plants and flowers in a garden as an example (floppy hydroponically-grown lettuce vs stressed bolting lettuce vs ‘resilient’ stimulated lettuce). Is the 21st-century environment supporting human resilience?
3. Balancing the opposites to support your mitochondria and avoid excess inflammation
We can look at each of the following lifestyle factors the view of mitochondrial health and inflammation. (Redox Balance, Mitochondrial health,
- Movement and Rest
- Staying calm vs being activated
- Technology vs nature (include grounding)
- Sleep and wakefulness
- Feasting and Fasting (including man-made chemicals, but bacteria and detox)
- Light and Dark
- Community (connection) and solitude for soothing the nervous system.
- In conclusion
We can’t look at one lifestyle factor in isolation. Have to balance out all of the factors. Can’t ignore a good night’s sleep, can’t ignore a sense of connection, can’t ignore what we eat and how we move!