5 Foods That Cause Inflammation
Inflammation is a natural bodily process that is beneficial in many situations. It fights off disease when your body is exposed to pathogens that could otherwise spiral out of control and lead to serious illness. It stimulates healing when you suffer an injury by increasing blood flow to the affected area bringing with it the necessary repair cells, growth factors and nutrients to remove damaged tissue and any pathogens present to allow new, healthy tissue to be made. However, inflammation can also be detrimental to your health if it is excessive or prolonged.
The foods that we eat can affect our bodies inflammatory processes based on the structure or the processes that are used in producing them. Eating too many foods that cause this inflammation over prolonged periods of time can lead to diseases like obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
To reduce your risk of developing these or other issues, here are 5 foods that cause inflammation that you should limit or avoid.
1. Added Sugars
Added sugars contribute to inflammation and have been shown to cause diseases such as obesity, diabetes, fatty liver disease and cancer. High amounts of sugar can even decrease the effects of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. Food producers must list “Added Sugars” under “Sugar” on nutrition labels, so these are easy to spot, and subsequently, avoid.
2. Red Meat and Processed Meat
Increased consumption of red meat has been linked to increased risks of heart disease, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. The healthiest diet involves limiting red meat consumption, replacing with fish (high in anti-inflammatory omega 3’s) or poultry substitutes whenever possible. Processed meat, on the other hand, should be avoided completely, as they have a very strong correlation to cancers of the GI tract, specifically the esophagus, colon and rectum.
3. Artificial Trans Fats
Artificial Trans Fats are a product of hydrogenation of unsaturated fats during food processing in order to improve shelf life. On top of increasing inflammation, they also contribute to higher LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) and lower HDL cholesterol (the good kind) levels. Fried and fast food are the biggest contributors to these types of fats. Avoid foods that contain phrases like “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil” on the ingredient list.
4. Vegetable and Seed Oils
Continuing on from the last food, vegetable and seed oils are high in pro-inflammatory Omega-6 fatty acids. In normal levels, these are healthy and necessary for normal body function, and are balanced out by healthy levels of anti-inflammatory Omega-3 fatty acids. However, the typical western diet includes excessive levels of Omega-6’s disrupting this balance and causing an inflammatory response. Cutting out processed foods is the easiest way to cut back on these oils, as they are typically used during most food processing.
5. Excessive Alcohol
Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to bacterial toxins moving out of the colon and into the body, causing an inflammatory response which is commonly referred to as “Leaky Gut.” This condition can cause widespread inflammation and damage to organs such as the liver. Alcohol consumption has been shown to have health benefits when limited to one drink per day for most people.
Overall, inflammation is not a bad thing, but steps should be taken in order to limit the amount of inflammation you experience due to diet. Doing so will ensure that you can continue living your healthiest life with the least amount of risk of developing numerous diseases in the future.