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What good does it do to set goals for weight loss, better health, more energy, lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol – when you can’t get those goals because your food addictions sabotage you?

Are you at risk for diabetes? For heart disease or hypertension? Is your cholesterol too high? Has your doctor told you to lose weight to reverse those conditions? Have you been unable to follow your doctor’s instructions because you can’t stay away from your “trigger” foods? Does it sometimes feel as if those forbidden foods are all you want to eat?

The foods you can’t stop eating could be harming your health. You’re not alone.

Food addictions are real. They’re not psychological, emotional, or “mental.” They’re physiological and based on your brain chemistry.

We know our health matters. Probably everyone agrees that what we eat affects our health. Nutrition approaches to health vary widely. Some people focus on organic foods, some on raw foods, others on herbs, phytonutrients and colorful pigments. There are low-carb, macrobiotic, and Ayurvedic diets, and a lot more.

One key, often overlooked, health factor is prostaglandin production. Prostaglandins are short-lived, hormone-like chemicals that are produced within cells and move from cell to cell, rather than through the bloodstream. They regulate all kinds of cellular activities.

Inflammation has become a hot topic in medicine. More and more research indicates that most disease begins with inflammation. Inflammation is caused by a specific prostaglandin – and foods influence prostaglandin production.

There are three types of prostaglandins.

Series 1 control factors that we recognize as beneficial. They dilate blood vessels, reduce blood pressure, inhibit unnecessary clotting, decrease autoimmune disease risk, improve T-cell function, improve insulin sensitivity, decrease pain, decrease inflammation, decrease the need for sleep, alleviate depression, and much, much more. Space limits a longer list.

Series 1 prostaglandins are made from dietary fatty acids in the omega-6 category. These include black current seed, flaxseed, hemp seed, pumpkin seed, walnuts, borage oil, evening primrose oil, sesame oil, sunflower oil, and more.

Series 2 do basically the opposite of the Series 1 functions listed above (as well as the unlisted Series 1 functions). Series 2 prostaglandins promote pain and inflammation, making them a prime culprit in disease.

Series 2 prostaglandins are also made from omega-6 fatty acids. However, high insulin secretion causes a different enzyme to act on the omega-6 fats, resulting in production of Series 2, rather than Series 1. As covered in previous posts, high insulin triggers include sugars, processed carbs (like white bread), saturated fats, alcohol, and others.

Series 3 prostaglandins reduce the negative effects of Series 2. They decrease inflammation and enhance immune function. Series 3 are made from omega-3 fatty acids, which we hear about often these days because they have anti-inflammatory benefits. So they can reduce what’s presently considered the cause of most disease.

Omega-3 fatty acids include dark green leafy vegetables, fish, seeds (black currant, flax, hemp, and pumpkin) and walnuts.

To bottom-line this and get the health benefits:
1. Consume omega-3 fats. You’ll note that many of them also contain omega-6s, so you’ll get the precursors of both Series 1 and Series 3 prostaglandins.
2. Avoid junky carbs and limit alcohol. Both trigger lots of insulin, which leads to Series 2 production.
3. Avoid all-carb meals or snacks whenever possible. Eating protein and healthful fats EACH time you eat can reduce the insulin impact of your diet and Series 2 production. This could decrease the incidence of both serious diseases and inconvenient ones, such as colds.

Sugar and other addictive foods can cause inflammation, currently considered the root of primary health risks. They don’t have to be part of your future.

Joan S Kent