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No-Nonsense Nutrition Report: How Emotions Influence Inflammation


inflammation emotionsMy Blessed and Valued Health Seeker:

In last week’s report I talked about inflammation and how it affects the digestive system. I explained the connection between an overactive immune system causing chronic, ongoing inflammation which is most destructive to our health. Remember, lower levels of inflammation are critical in reducing the risk of chronic diseases. 

Last week I focused on some nutritional strategies for reducing inflammation. Often eating the wrong foods and being exposed to toxins is what triggers the inflammatory response. When the immune system remains on high alert constantly, tissues are damaged in the process. 

This week I’d like to approach the subject of inflammation from a spirit-soul perspective. Our thoughts, beliefs, words and emotions definitely have a powerful effect in this area. When we’re stressed, our body’s natural response is to become inflamed. That stress can be physical, mental, emotional or relational. It doesn’t matter – stress is stress – and it causes inflammation. 

We all crave peace and quiet and calm and yet in this 21st century world, it seems our days are filled with anything but. 

Why we All Need High Emodiversity: 

Prior research has proven a link between positive emotions, happiness levels and levels of inflammation in the body. 

There was a small study published that found people who experience a diverse range of positive emotions seemed to have reduced systemic inflammation in their bodies. Since inflammation is at the root of most chronic diseases, this could have a huge impact on overall health, particularly as we age.  

The study was really fascinating to me. They had 175 study participants keep a log of their emotions over a period of 30 days. They had to record how often and how strongly they experienced 32 different emotions – 16 positive and 16 negative. Then they were tested for inflammation markers 6 months later. 

Before I get into the results of the study, here are the emotions they were told to track: 

16 positive emotions - enthusiastic, interested, determined, excited, amused, inspired, alert, active, strong, proud, attentive, happy, relaxed, cheerful, at ease and calm 

16 negative emotions - afraid, ashamed, blue, distressed, drowsy, guilty, hostile, irritable, jittery, nervous, sad, scared, sleepy, sluggish, tired, and upset 

Researchers coined the term “emodiversity” to emphasize the potential importance of promoting a "breadth and abundance" of various positive emotions on a daily basis. 

The researchers found that those participants who experienced more of those 16 positive emotions on a daily basis enjoyed lower inflammation levels than participants who only experienced a few of them consistently. Diversity in emotions mattered only when they were positive. 

And the take-away was lower levels of inflammation held true even when compared to people who had experienced positive emotions for a similar number of days, but had a smaller range of them. So diversity mattered more than simply feeling happy when it came to lowering inflammation. 

Therefore, “emodiversity,” experiencing a variety of feelings, not just positive ones, but also feeling calm or relaxed seemed to have a beneficial effect on physical and emotional health. Not focusing on just one feeling, even a positive one like happiness or enthusiasm, seems to be what positively impacts health and inflammation levels.

Two Non-Food Ways to Lower Inflammation:

inflammation prayerI realize this is the No-Nonsense Nutrition Report and I usually talk about foods and nutrients and how they can help us stay healthy. And honestly this one is no exception. 

I am just focusing on how you nourish your spirit and soul to keep your body healthier. And because we are tri-part beings each aspect of our being impacts the others. So how you nourish your spirit, emotions and mind will impact your physical health. 

The study mentioned above shows how emotions influence inflammation levels in your body. Here are two important ways you can implement this information in order to lower inflammation levels, protect yourself from many chronic diseases and live a more peaceful and joyful life: 

Prayer 

Nourishing your spirit is always important. I realize different people will view and embrace spirituality in different ways. For me prayer and biblical meditation (meditating on scriptures) is the primary way I keep my spirit nourished. Studies have shown that regularly practicing a form of spirituality has been linked to reduced stress levels, balanced hormones, improved attitudes, better sleep and healing the body in numerous ways including lowering inflammation and cortisol levels. 

Prayer and meditation are proven to be powerful tools. For me, prayer is simply about communicating directly with God and that He is, in fact, the Healer. Prayer and meditation can help diversify the range of positive emotions you experience. 

Clinical studies that show spirituality is a simple healing tool that can help strengthen the mind-body connection which in turn strengthens immune function. Spiritual practices, such as prayer, meditation, visualization and other mindfulness techniques, can increase feelings of inner-peace through the mind-body connection. 

A 2012 study published in the Journal of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine found that when researchers conducted a randomized blinded trial and added prayer to normal cancer treatment in 1,000 patients, the prayer-intervention group showed significantly greater improvements over the control group related to spiritual well-being, emotional well-being and functional well-being.

Energy Tools like EFT

EFT Tapping Points 1We desperately want to learn how to slow down, disconnect from fears and anxieties and get physically healthier in the process. In my experience, EFT does all of this as well as bringing us into a closer relationship with our Lord. 

A 2016 meta-analysis published in the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease found that among 14 different studies EFT led to a significant decrease in anxiety scores among adults experiencing psychological distress. There’s evidence that EFT may work by helping to decrease cortisol levels, one of the primary “stress hormones” that is a contributor to many problems when it is chronically elevated. 

According to a 2014 review published in Medical Acupuncture: 
 
“Clinical EFT has been shown to regulate stress hormones and limbic function and to improve various neurologic markers of general health. The epigenetic effects of EFT include up-regulation of immunity genes and down-regulation of inflammation genes.” 

Researchers concluded that at least six well-controlled studies have indicated that EFT works differently than placebo. Another 2012 study found that when subjects were randomly assigned to either an EFT group, a psychotherapy group, or a no-treatment group, the group receiving EFT experienced decreases in cortisol levels as well as a number of improvements in psychological distress markers.  

Salivary cortisol levels were measured before and again 30 minutes after a 30-minute EFT session. Results showed that the EFT group experienced significant improvements in not only cortisol levels but also scores for anxiety, depression and overall severity of symptoms. 

EFT or tapping is a simple and easy to learn and use modality that can truly make a difference in your health. If you are interested in learning more about it or trying it out, click this link and you can have a free 15-minute session.  

NO-NONSENSE NUTRITION NUGGET: The term “stress” derives from the Latin stringere (to draw tight). Stress comes in many forms including, mental, emotional, physical, chemical, toxic, immune and electromagnetic. The stress hormone cortisol not only causes abdominal fat to accumulate, but it also enlarges individual fat cells, leading to what researchers call “diseased” fat.
Until next week, I wish you overflowing, abundant health, peace and joy and I call you BLESSED (empowered to prosper and succeed). 

Ann 

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Your fork is the most powerful tool you have to transform your health. 

THIS WEEK’S BLOG POST: 


Every time you eat is an opportunity to nourish your body. 

As always, all information offered in these reports is provided for informational purposes only and may not be construed as medical advice or instruction. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this information; instead, readers should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being. 

“You can trace every sickness, every disease and every ailment to a nutritional deficiency.” Dr. Linus Pauling



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