Inflammation has been linked to many serious conditions, including cancer and heart disease. What you eat may help inflammation or contribute to it. Some foods cause inflammation. Not all inflammation is bad. It’s a natural process that helps the body recover from infection, injury, irritants and foreign invaders. If tissue is damaged or invaded by a virus, bacteria or other microbe, the body sends out inflammatory response to protect it.
Chronic inflammation can be caused by a number of things, including what you eat.
Acute inflammation is the body’s way of handling an immediate problem, like a bacterial infection or cut. Chronic inflammation is more insidious. It goes amuck and continues to send out inflammatory cells even though there’s no danger. Rheumatoid arthritis is one example of that occurring. It can cause painful joints and deformities. Autoimmune diseases, colitis and atherosclerosis are also examples. Food with added sugar is just one example of things you eat that can cause inflammation.
What foods contain added sugar?
Just look on the grocery shelf at processed food and you’ll find sugar everywhere. It’s in pizza sauce and even yogurt, especially low fat yogurt. The manufacturers add sugar to improve the taste that was diminished by removing fat. You’ll find added sugar in salad dressing, ketchup, crackers and bread. The presence of too much added sugar increases insulin levels spike. Then the body tries to store the excess insulin in fat cells, causing weight gain and increased inflammation. Trans fats have been recognized as unhealthy and the cause of chronic inflammation, but it’s still found in a few foods like baked goods, pastries, crackers and some restaurant food.
Processed meat and red meat contribute to inflammation.
If you love bacon, sorry, but it’s highly processed and bad for you. Processed meat includes those that are cured, salted, fermented or smoked. Red meat also makes the list, especially if you eat too much. Studies show that both red meat and processed meat can increase the risk of cancer, heart disease and stroke, to which inflammation contributes. An imbalance of omega-6 and omega-3 increases inflammation, as well. You need both types of fatty acids, You need an approximate balance of one omega-3 for six omega-6 or a ratio of 1:6. The average American diet is a 1:25 ration, which causes inflammation. Lower omega 6 food and increase those containing omega 3.
- Refined carbs have little fiber or nutrition but are often at the top of the list in people’s diets. They include white rice, French fries, white bread and crackers. Just like food with added sugar, they spike insulin levels.
- Increasing the foods that reduce inflammation is one way to approach the problem. Most of these foods are fresh fruits and vegetables. They’re filled with fiber, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals. Foods high in vitamin K are also anti-inflammatory.
- Avoid fried foods to help reduce inflammation. If you’re using oil, use olive oil, flaxseed oil and avocado oil, since they’re anti-inflammatory. Oils high in omega-6, like corn oil, increase inflammation.
- You don’t have to remove red meat from your diet completely. Get smaller servings or eat it less frequently, with meatless days throughout the week. Start by focusing on eating red meat just once a day and eat fish, vegetarian alternatives or eggs the other meals.
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