Emerging research concludes that the Western diet is a “disease vector” on par with influenza

When you think of the causes of diseases, what comes to mind? Many people are quick to think of infections like influenza or hepatitis, but there is one very important disease vector that deserves a lot of attention yet seems to be largely overlooked: the unhealthy Western diet.

After all, the Western diet has been found to cause a number of disease states, and some of them are quite serious. These range from inflammation, oxidative stress and skin problems to liver diseases, breast and other cancers, and neurodegenerative diseases.

In fact, the Western diet is so bad that studies have shown that even a short amount of exposure to it can raise your chances of cardiometabolic disorders like heart disease and diabetes.

In a study that was funded by the American Heart Association, female rats were fed the equivalent of a typical American diet, and those mice showed common symptoms of diabetes like high blood pressure and blood vessel damage, even after a short time, when compared to a control group. In addition, these rats had four times more fat in their abdominal area than those in the control group, despite some of them not appearing to be obese. This indicates that the negative effects of this way of eating might set in long before traditional disease markers become obvious.

In a human clinical study, participants who ate hamburgers quickly experienced pathological changes in blood vessels, including oxidative stress, inflammation, and vasoconstriction. Interestingly, the mere act of adding avocado to the burger canceled these effects out in a different group. It’s easy to see how giving one’s diet a complete overhaul could have a significant positive impact on their overall health.

The Western diet also plays a role in cancer. A study that was published in the journals Nature Communications and Nature Genetics showed that eating a meal that is high in fat promotes metastasis, especially for tumors like those found in prostate cancer. Epidemiological data links many different types of cancer to dietary fats, and the mortality rates and incidence rates of cancer in the U.S. are a lot higher than they are in countries where diets generally tend to be lower in fat.

Don’t keep your body in a state of constant disease

Meanwhile, a study published in the journal Cell explored the long-term effects of a Western diet on health. They discovered that a Western diet can prompt inflammasomes to activate the immune system in a similar way to that which occurs during bacterial infections.

In mice studies, analysis of bone marrow cells and splenic macrophages showed that these inflammatory responses stay active even after switching to a healthier diet; it’s almost as though the bone marrow cells “remember” the negative diet. Eating this way, in other words, causes your body’s defenses to stay in a hyperactive state so they can respond faster to new “attacks” – is that a healthy state for your body to be living in?

If you want to prevent cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and many other health problems that  society is currently struggling with, changing your diet is a relatively easy step to take that can have an incredibly big impact on your overall health. It’s time to ditch the refined flour and sugar, cut out processed meats and anything artificial, and start embracing organic foods in their natural state.

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