The secret to a long, healthy life isn’t vitamins, hormone replacement, emotional support, or exercise. Of course, don’t get me wrong…those are all important!
But doctors in the know are discovering that there’s a silent, deadly killer behind most of the chronic diseases that have become the biggest killers on Earth.
You read that right.
Infectious disease is no longer the world’s number one killer. The World Health Organization (WHO) has found that, for the first time in history, chronic diseases have surpassed all other causes of death worldwide.
And the ultra and very deadly silent killer behind these diseases is inflammation.
Disease and Inflammation: Why It’s the Silent Killer
This internal “fire” is the silent beginning of a wide number of diseases and conditions, including allergies, autoimmune disease, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, Alzheimer’s…even cancer has strong inflammatory characteristics.
In a perfect world, inflammation is a good thing. When pathogens or injury strike your body, inflammation comes to your defense.
But in the real world, these injuries and conditions are never resolved – think constant ingestion of unhealthy foods, continuous ingestion of toxins, unresolved infections, or inflammatory exercises like endurance training. Then the inflammation becomes chronic.
And if you do nothing, it will kill you before your time.
So, what to do? Fortunately, nature in its wisdom has provided us with a cure for chronic inflammation.
A Special Class of Antioxidant That Douses Inflammation
Plant compounds called polyphenols.
These are the phenolic compounds in fruits, vegetables, tea and wine that are mostly derivatives, and/or isomers of flavones, isoflavones, flavonols, catechins, tocopherols, and phenolic acids.
Many of these substances protect plants from decay, injury, and the environment. When you eat or drink them, they transfer their power to you by protecting you from all kinds of sickness…including inflammation.
Polyphenols are the most abundant antioxidants in the diet. You eat as much as 1 gram a day, which is much higher than that of all other classes of plant compounds and known dietary antioxidants.
That’s around 10 times higher than the amount of vitamin C and 100 times higher that the amount of vitamin E and carotenoids you normally take in every day.
Flavonoids are the most common polyphenols. Those are what you normally get when you eat fruits and drink plant-based juices, tea, coffee, and red wine. Vegetables and dry legumes also contribute to the total polyphenol intake.
A fun and delicious source of polyphenols is dark chocolate. You may get a rush of pleasure when you bite into a piece of chocolate. But chocolate gives you more than instant gratification.
A brand new study finds that the polyphenols in cocoa interfere at the initiation, promotion and progression of cancer.
And dark chocolate also lowers blood pressure and defends you against heart disease. (Milk chocolate does not have the same effect. Apparently the milk prevents the absorption of polyphenols).
And don’t forget edible marine plants. Ecklonia cava for example is full of anti-inflammatory polyphenols. In fact, the polyphenol antioxidants in these sea vegetables have been found to be up to 100 times more powerful than land-based polyphenols.
There are other polyphenols you can get from food including lignans (from flaxseed, sesame and soy). In fact, sesame is so powerful against inflammation that it significantly reduces a deadly condition caused by inflammation, high blood pressure.
A study from Yale University looked at a group of people between 35 and 60 who used sesame oil as their main edible oil for 90 days. They had an average 20 point drop in systolic blood pressure and a 14 point drop in diastolic pressure.
Remember, polyphenols may be your most important weapon against inflammation and disease:
- Boost your body’s antioxidant power
- Destroy free radicals
- Regulate inflammatory genes
- Boost immune function
- Improve cellular health and strength
“Global status report on noncommunicable diseases 2010.” World Health Organization. April 2011. 176 pages.
Kishimoto Y, Tani M, Kondo K. “Pleiotropic preventive effects of dietary polyphenols in cardiovascular diseases.” Eur J ClinNutr. 2013 Feb 13.
Scalbert A, Johnson IT, Saltmarsh M. “Polyphenols: antioxidants and beyond.” Am J ClinNutr. 2005 Jan;81(1 Suppl):215S-217S.
Martin M, Goya L, Ramos S. “Potential for preventive effects of cocoa and cocoa polyphenols in cancer.” Food ChemToxicol. 2013 ;pii: S0278-6915(13)00129-4.
Shin, H.C., et al, “An antioxidative and anti-inflammatory agent for potential treatment of osteoarthritis from Ecklonia cava,” Arch. Pharm. Res. Feb. 2006;29(2):165-71
Sankar D, Rao M, Sambandam G, Pugalendi K. “Effect of sesame oil on diuretics or Beta-blockers in the modulation of blood pressure, anthropometry, lipid profile, and redox status.” Yale J Biol Med. 2006;79(1):19-26.