The Key to Longevity: Preventing Chronic Inflammation by Earl Fee

It is important to understand the importance of chronic inflammation since it is aging and hence reduces longevity. Chronic inflammation is a disease afflicting most people in some degree during their life but they don’t know it. The means to prevent it and what causes it are detailed below. Basically, this article boils down to many healthy tips for a long heathy life. With a healthy lifestyle chronic inflammation can be avoided, or decreased. The information below shows that mainly with proper diet, exercise, reduced stress, and adequate rest─chronic inflammation which reduces longevity and many common diseases can be controlled, reversed, or prevented.

This article is a much reduced version of a chapter on Chronic Inflammation in my ant-aging book book, “100 Years Young the Natural Way”.

In the medical community chronic inflammation has become a growing popular subject. Chronic inflammation is the silent (unnoticed) inflammation as opposed to the conventional, acute, kind involving redness, swelling, heat and pain. Just as there is good and bad flame there is good and bad inflammation.

Low grade undetected infections and inflammations can take a decade or more off your life. “As humans grow older systemic inflammation can inflict devastating degenerative effects throughout the body” (research by Ward 1995, McCarly 1999, Brod 2000). “Correcting an inflammatory disorder will enable many of the infirmities of aging to be prevented or reversed” (Life Extension Magazine).

Anti-inflammatory diet. The popular Dr. Weil is “convinced diet influences inflammation.” In his “inflammation diet” he lists, for example: avoid pro-inflammatory foods (e.g., refined/processed foods with wheat flour and sugar, full fat dairy, saturated and trans fats, animal fat, high fructose corn products, vegetable oils, and high glycemic load foods). Instead eat anti-inflammatory foods (e.g., low glycemic load foods. whole grains, omega-3 products, and extra virgin oil. In general, I find his diet is similar to a heart-healthy diet and the low glycemic load diet recommended herein. See more details below.

Diseases Affected by Chronic Inflammation. It is fair to say chronic inflammation is associated with and generally preceding all the common diseases in some way. Chronic inflammation is a central figure (assisting) in obesity, diabetes, hypertension, atherosclerosis, arthritis, anemia, heart disorders, stroke, arthritis, eczema, sinus infection, kidney failure, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, Parkinson’s disease, and cancer.

“One category of disease marked by unchecked inflammation is autoimmunity. When the immune system attacks the body’s own tissues for no good reason, a condition of autoimmunity exists. It causes unchecked inflammation. There are over 40 autoimmune system diseases where the immune system reverses it’s normally protective role such as: Type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid fever, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, lupus, and fibromyalgia.

Causes of Chronic Inflammation. What you eat can stimulate or prevent chronic inflammation. This is usually an imbalance of nutrients: too many inflammatory foods, and not enough anti-inflammatory foods. Or it could be an over-acidic diet rather than a predominately alkaline diet.

The following involving mainly diet and an unhealthy lifestyle will cause an increase in chronic inflammation:

– High glycemic diet: high sugar diet, energy drinks etc.
– Bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections, chemical irritants, and non-digestible particles
– Excess toxins (e.g., pesticides, cleaning chemicals, herbicides, smog)
– Environmental moulds and rancid oil and nuts
– Beef, pork, and poultry
– Refined/processed foods made with wheat flour and sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and packaged snack foods
– Margarine, partially hydrogenated oils, vegetable oils
– Injury ) chronic inflammation continues after the injuy is cured
– Periodontal disease (can lead to chronic inflammation in other areas of the body)
– High blood pressure
– Overcooked food or food cooked at high temperature
– Smoking, excess alcohol and excess caffeine
– High triglycerides and high LDL cholesterol
– Obesity and excess fat cells
– Allergies from particular foods (e.g., arachidonic acid from peanut oil, red meat, poultry, and egg yolks (not Omega 3 eggs))
– Fast foods in general
– Excess saturated fats (full fat dairy products) and trans fats such as from processed foods
– Excess chronic stress
– Sleep deprivation such as 5 hours per night
– Prescription drugs (instead find pain relief in acupuncture, massage, and water therapy)

Prevention. The following good habits will lower your risk of chronic inflammation and many chronic diseases, and also strengthen your immune system. The diet below closely resembles a heart–healthy diet.

– Avoid the problem factors and inflammatory foods under Causes above.
– Adopt a low glycemic load diet: low in glucose
– Eat more whole grains, beans, squashes, and sweet potatoes
– Eat walnuts, cashews, and almonds and their butters.
– Eat vegetable protein (e.g., beans) rather than red meat and poultry.
– Cooking at high temperature or fried or barbecued foods.
– Eat omega 3 fatty acids the most powerful anti-inflammatory, e.g.,wild rice, spinach, – Omega 3 eggs, red lentils, squash, navy beans, wild salmon, tuna, sardines, chia seeds ,flax seeds and flax oil, wWalnuts, navy beans.
– Reduce omega-6 fatty acids since inflammatory.
– Daily aspirin: many studies show benefits: check with your doctor
– Use extra virgin olive oil for salads and grape-seed oil for cooking. Avoid all other oils.
– Drink green and black tea.
– Better sleep: at least 7 hours
– Moderate alcohol consumption (red wine is the most acceptable choice)
– Adequate regular exercise: reduces stress, and builds muscle and morale
– Reduce stress.
– Positive attitude
– Eat antioxidant foods and take supplements vitamin A, E, C and glutathione, to fight antioxidants and free radicals. Very important.
– Best anti-inflammatory foods: berries, fatty fish, broccoli, avocados, green tea, peppers, grapes, extra virgin olive oil, dark chocolate and cocoa.

Achieving the Benefits From Excess Good Microbes in the Gut

My anti-aging book, 100 Years Young the Natural Way, published in 2005, had a big chapter on Probiotics and Intestinal Flora. Now in 2021 on this same life-saving subject the microbiome diet is now the hottest health topic—and getting more and more attention as research uncovers more and more major health benefits of good microbes in the intestines. So you see I foresaw this major health problem much earlier. The microbiome is the diverse microbes in your gut and intestines. Some say the microbiome is the ”newly discovered organ”, actually weighting only about 2 to 6 pounds. It is essential to have the good microbe outnumber the bad. Research studies on the microbiome is increasing rapidly every year.

Some of the many major advantages of a wide variety of good microbes from probiotics and prebiotics (foods explained below) in the gut based on hundreds of scientific studies are:

– Greater energy, and mood
– Healthier immune system and intestines
– Reduces inflammation
– Reduction in risk of diabetes, heart disease and many cancers
– Improves metabolism and digestion
– Promotes healthy elimination. (Also your daily elimination is a good indication of a healthy microbiome. That is all I can say on this delicate subject.)
– Improved brain function benefitting: learning, memory, and nervous system. These beneficial effects of a healthy microbiome on the brain have been known now for many decades. Extensive research studies in this area are ongoing worldwide and increasing with promising effects of a healthy microbiome on Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
– Longevity increases significantly and the effect is comparable to frequent exercise.

Earl Fee at Sacramento

Also, a chronic bad imbalance in the gut microbiome can cause weight gain, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. It’s called Dysbiosis.

What is a healthy daily microbiome diet (probiotic and prebiotic foods):

– A diet high in fiber is essential from a total of 5 to 6 servings of vegetables daily— and secondly from 2 or 3 servings of fruit. This is 7 or 8 vegetables, a variety of colours, daily for me, my strong recommendation. The fruits that are also anti-inflammatory are berries, cherries and grapes.
– Beans and fermented foods like Sauerkraut, and Kefir, and Greek yogurt with low sugar (my favourite desert)
– All varieties of green vegetables.
– Salmon
– Red wine and dark chocolate
– Green tea

Note: prebiotic and probiotic supplements are not as effective as whole foods in view of importance of fibre in the diet (at least 40 grams required per day).

Food producing bad bacteria:

– Saturated and trans fats (processed foods), vegetable oils, any low fiber foods, excess sugar, corn, red meat and dairy foods, soy, and tap water.
– Potatoes (sweet potatoes OK) should be limited. Also they are not a healthy combination with protein at a meal so I usually consume only in small quantities.

I view of the facts above it behooves us all to adapt a healthy microbiome diet or excess good microbes in the intestines. As time goes by you will be hearing more and more about the importance of the microbiome diet. Don’t delay. Also, in addition to the good diet a daily exercise routine is essential (at least 150 minutes per week is recommended by the health experts).

Mental Toughness and Athletic Attitude

Have a strong belief in your capabilities.

Have an unwavering desire to excel and do your personal best or better.

Remind yourself of your past successes and the injuries and difficulties overcome.

Success may be simply training yourself to be immune to boredom. Success will follow.

Have an attitude of persistence. It is more powerful than talent or genius.

But striving for perfection for most is usually foolhardy, often leading to injury for an athlete and involving a disproportionate amount of effort.

Be mentally tough. How to do this? With tough consistent training within your limits, racing tough competitors, and enjoying the journey along the way.

Every hardy experience develops the latent force within you.

Prove to yourself in your training that you can do anything you set out to do.

Do everything over the years of persistent dedication to put yourself in the position to be a champion.

Prepare, prepare, prepare with passion; and the extra miles and exhaustive efforts will guarantee surprising results.

Then when you toe the line you will know you are ready in body, mind and spirit.

And winning gracefully and celebrating your achievements humbly, will boost your enthusiasm and provide motivation for future endeavours.

Have a detailed plan. Planning well in advance. Your passion will carry you to success.

Notes: There is a 35 page chapter on Mental Training with 31 references in my 450 page book all in color, The Complete Guide To Running. Well over 4500 copies sold since 2005, and second edition 2007. Still available. Order from Amazon and other booksellers.

My Mediterranean, Low Inflammation, Heart Healthy Diet

To prevent diseases it is essential to have good eating habits. The following is my recommended pyramid diet – with most desirable foods at bottom and least desirable at top – based on taking the best aspects from a wide variety of diets, but mainly the Mediterranean diet, the anti-inflammation diet, and the low glycemic diet (low sugar rush). Twenty five highly qualified researchers, doctors and dieticians ranked the Mediterranean diet best overall diet for 2018. The anti-inflammation diet is also important since low grade inflammation is at the root of most diseases and particularly related to arthritis, diabetes, allergies, heart disease and even cancer. They all start with low grade inflammation. The best foods to prevent low grade inflammation are: fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines), green leafy vegetables, fruit, fermented foods, onions and garlic, whole grains, fermented foods, herbs and spices. It is also important to avoid high glycemic foods that cause high sugar rush like starchy foods, and sweet foods.

The following chart is worth a thousand words. The numbers below refer to the daily or weekly servings recommended.

Fast Food: NO
Processed Food: NO
Starch with Protein at a meal: NO
White Products: Bread, Rice, Flour: NO
Butter, Bacon, Red Meat 1 serving: WEEKLY or NO
Potatoes, White Pasta: MINIMAL or NO
Sweets, Sugar, Chocolate. Fruit Juice: MINIMAL
Dried figs, dates, apricots, Greek yogurt PREFERRED SWEETS Wine: MINIMAL
Low fat Dairy Products: 2-3 DAILY
Skinless Poultry: 1 to 2 WEEKLY
Eggs: 2 WEEKLY for Men and 4 WEEKLY for women
Oils: Olive oil mainly, Canola or Grapeseed: 1-2 tablespoons DAILY
Supplements: Multi Vitamin, Magnesium, Vitamin E, Q10 coenzyme, etc.: DAILY
Water: Distilled: 8 glasses DAILY
Fats: Extra virgin oil, walnuts, avocados, seeds, ground flaxseed: 6 DAILY
Whole Grains: 5 DAILY
Omega 3 Foods: Salmon Fish or Sardines: 3-4 WEEKLY or Fish Oil: DAILY
Beans and Lentils: 1-2 DAILY and Nuts and Seeds 2 tablespoons: DAILY
Fruit: 3-4 DAILY
Vegetables: 4-5 or more DAILY
Leafy Dark Green Vegetables: Kale, Spinach, Collards, Lettuce, etc.: 2 DAILY

We can all make improvements in our diet. What is missing in your diet or needs to be reduced?

The photo below is my 800m at age 70 in 1999 at Gateshead GB Worlds, 0.5 seconds slower than my world record a few months before.

The Importance of Protein for Seniors

As we age we lose muscle particularly when lacking protein and frequent exercise and also lacking vitamin D. But seniors eat less protein and are less efficient in digesting protein and breaking down and converting protein into muscle (sarcopenia). Hence seniors require more protein than in youth. This article describes ways to retain protein to help achieve long term goals and at the same time increase longevity.

Useful Facts:

1. Health authorities recommend an inactive adult should consume I gram of protein for every kg of weight. An active athlete should consume 1.2 to 1.3 grams per kg, but ideally paired also with resistive training twice per week. A serious weight trainer needs 1.5grams/kg.

2. Usually, the majority of protein consumption during the day is at dinner. Whereas, protein should ideally be consumed equally at each meal. For example, a 150 pound (70kg) athlete should consume about 90gr protein per day. Or about 30gr at each meal. For example, I am not doing this and am also a vegetarian, but do consume fish and chicken regularly. The section below titled, High Protein Foods, will assist balancing the protein at each meal.

3. After about age 50, the non-exercisers start to lose muscle significantly faster, or about 2% per year. But those active can lose as little as 0.2% per year up to about age 70. For example, I believe I did not lose significant muscle from age 60 to 69 as my race times in the 800m increased by only 3 seconds.

4. I have always believed intuitively muscle strength is a good indicator of longevity. As I suspected research confirms this, for example: “Grip strength is a good predictor of longevity as it indicates lower risk of life-threatening diseases and hence increased longevity”: a 2018 BMJ study of a half million people from age 40 to 69.

5. Be aware excess fat in the diet particularly above 35% of daily calories hampers protein conversion to muscle.

6. It is important to not lack protein in the diet for muscle growth, tissue repair, healthy enzymes, fewer health problems, even stronger bones and a robust immune system, longevity, etc. Also protein increases satiety the feeling of fullness.

7. It is important to have the major amino acid, Leucine, in the diet to preserve muscle mass, as it is an essential amino acid— meaning it must be obtained from the diet. Foods high in leucine from high to low are: soybeans, beef, chicken , pork, nuts and seeds, fish, tuna, beans, milk, cheese, squash, and eggs. Fortunately, Leucine is obtained from most foods such as meats ,fish, vegetables, lentils and dairy products.

8. Be also aware, excess protein causes excess body fat. And If protein is lacking in the diet it is taken from muscle: called muscle wasting.

High Proteins Foods:

– Whey powder isolate usually 30 grams with about 95% protein
– Beef, salmon, chicken, pork, from 27 to 22gram/3.5 oz.
– Plain Greek yogurt 2 %, 23 gr/cup
– Cottage cheese low fat, 15gr/1/2 cup
– Tofu 11gr/1/2cup
– Oats porridge 6 gr/cup
– Tofu: 8gr/3oz or 100gr
– Beans 8gr/1/2 cup
– Skim milk 8gr/cup
– Lentils 8gr/cup
– Cashews, almonds, pumpkin seeds 5gr/1/4 cup
– Peanut butter 4gr/1/4 cup
– 1 egg 6gr
– Avocado 4gr/avocado
– Quinoa 4g/1/2 cup
– Other good proteins: beans of all sorts, chick peas, and multi- grain bread.

Avoid refined sugar, baked goods, fruit drinks, and soda drinks

Summary

To achieve your long- term goals, reduce disease, and live longer: exercise daily or frequently, eat the required amount of protein, spread over 3 meals and add the daily vitamin D supplement. It is never too late to start.

The photo by Alex Rotas is my 800m world record race in age group 80-84 in 2011 at Budapast, Hungary Indoor Worlds— and also my world record in the 400m. It took me 2 hours to recover from the 400 in view of my limited speed training on a tight turn 180m indoor track and a bad fall on ice 3 weeks before the meet.