A few years ago, I interviewed Raymond Francis, an internationally recognized leader in the field of optimal health and the founder of Beyond Health, a health business that offers the highest quality vitamin and wellness-related products. Raymond’s interview was so informative about the condition of inflammation that I decided to reprint excerpts from the interview for you. You’ll appreciate the fact that he can translate complex scientific information and reduce it to a very simple language so we all know what we need to do to become well and stay well.
We began our interview by discussing how we get inflammation. Here’s what Raymond had to say:
We say inflammation is important. Then we ask the question, “How do you get inflammation? Where does it come from?” We start looking at the sugar, white flour and processed oils that we eat. These are all sources of inflammation. They make up a significant portion of the average North American diet and cause biochemical chaos in the body. In fact, the wheat-consuming nations of the world have the most inflammatory diseases.Then we’re overweight, and that’s a source of inflammation. Fat cells produce inflammatory chemicals, adding to the overload, and the result is massive amounts of inflammation occurring in our bodies. These pro-inflammatory chemicals, when released, damage our tissues, glands and everything else.
Still we have massive amounts of inflammation going on. You keep asking yourself, “Where is this coming from?” We are starting to find out where it’s coming from. Inflammation is the foundation stone of virtually every chronic disease. It certainly is a foundation stone of cancer. Inflammation drives cancer. Without inflammation, cancer would not exist. Our consumption of wheat is a major source of inflammation. In fact, Raymond strongly recommends that people stop eating wheat. Here’s what he said about wheat consumption: What we’ve done over the years is we have hybridized wheat to continually get higher and higher amounts of protein in the wheat. We now have wheat with very high amounts of protein, much higher than 2,000 years ago. There’s a component of this protein, which is actually one of the proteins; it’s a glycoprotein, which is a protein and a sugar molecule together.
This is a class of compounds called lectins.
Lectins are in the wheat to protect the wheat from attack by bacteria, viruses and fungi. It does a marvelous job of protecting the wheat from infection. It does this by damaging the cell walls of the bacteria and the fungi and destroying them. There’s something that is in there to protect the wheat from attack. Unfortunately, human beings have the same receptor sites on the cells as the fungi and bacteria have. That means that because we have the same receptor sites, the lectins are also going to damage our cells. Historically, when we were eating wheat 2,000 years ago, it had lectins in it, but we had adapted to the amount of lectins. Now what we’ve done, especially over the last couple hundred years is we’ve hybridized the wheat to where it has very large amounts of lectins in it. We have high-protein wheat with large amounts of lectins. We’re now getting exposed to a tremendous amount of lectins.
Guess what? Lectins, even in very small quantities, are capable of producing pro-inflammatory chemicals in the body. We really think that this is where a lot of our inflammation is coming from. Even at exceedingly low concentrations, lectins will stimulate this production of pro-inflammatory chemicals. Once you do this, the pro-inflammatory chemicals go out and damage all your tissues, glands, and everything else. The problem is that we’re producing a lot of inflammation here. Geographically, when you look at the wheat-consuming nations, the countries that consume the most wheat have the most problems with inflammatory diseases. Now we are looking at this thing and asking, “Where’s the inflammation coming from?” We are looking at the fact that the lectins produce inflammation and then looking at the fact that wheat-consuming nations have the most inflammatory diseases.
It’s starting to form a picture for me. You asked the question of what I’m doing and what my new research is. This is one of the things I’ve come up with recently. I’m beginning to believe that this is really very profound stuff here. I have gotten off of all wheat totally and completely, and I’m now advising everybody not to eat any wheat. It may, in fact, be a very bad choice. Again, it doesn’t take much. What we’re finding in the research is that exceedingly small concentrations of lectins can stimulate the production of inflammatory chemicals in the body. That muffin for breakfast may be enough to stimulate a lot of inflammation. Then there’s another problem here. Lectins are highly stable molecules, so they’re very resistant to the degradation through a wide variety of pH ranges and a wide variety of temperatures. They survive cooking, sprouting, fermenting and digesting. They’re very stable molecules, and they’re also highly resistant to breaking down in the body. They actually bio-accumulate in the body and become incorporated into the tissues where they begin to interfere with your normal biological processes.
I hope you take these words from Raymond to heart. His prescription for good health is one I share and also advocate: If you want to prevent disease, or if you want to get well, consume a diet high in a variety of fresh, organic vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. Get rid of those excess pounds. Take high quality anti-inflammatory supplements. If you take these principles to heart, you will be well on your way to a longer, higher quality, disease-free life.
And, now, here’s my recipe to help fight inflammation in the body. Enjoy!
Anti-Inflammatory Smoothie Recipe
Blend all ingredients together in a blender. You can mix and match your greens and fruits (berries). Try varying this recipe using kale, chard or arugula.