Inflammation is the body’s natural way of protecting itself during injury or sickness.
Inflammation can be the body’s defensive measure against illness and stimulate healing.
Chronic or sustained inflammation has a relation with an increased risk of diseases including diabetes, heart disease, obesity, sinusitis, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn’s disease. Surprisingly, the foods that one eats has a significant effect on the inflammation in the body.
Below are 6 foods that can cause inflammation.
Eating a lot of sugar can cause diabetes, obesity, fatty liver disease, insulin resistance, cancer, and chronic kidney disease. Fructose, one of the main components of sugar can cause inflammation in the endothelial cells which line the blood vessels. This increases the risk of heart diseases. Foods with high amounts of added sugar include sweets, candies, chocolates, soft drinks, cakes, pastries, cookies, doughnuts, and some cereals.
Artificial Trans Fats
You must have read the label “No Trans Fats” on several packaged foods. Artificial trans fats are possibly the most unhealthy fats one can eat. Trans Fat is created by adding hydrogen to liquid unsaturated fats to turn into more solid fat.
Most kinds of margarine (spreads used for flavoring, baking or cooking) have trans fats and are often added to processed foods to extend their life. Unlike the naturally present trans fats which are found in dairy and meat, artificial trans fats can cause inflammation and increase the risk of diseases.
Vegetable and Seed oils
Vegetable and seed oils are commonly and widely used as cooking oils. Vegetable and seed oil are also major ingredients in several processed foods. Certain vegetable oils like soybean oil are believed to promote inflammation as they have a very high level of omega-6 fatty acid in them.
But, some omega-6 fats are necessary for the body. It is medically recommended to eat more omega-3-rich foods like fatty fish. Intake of natural Omega 3 can improve the omega-6 into an omega-3 ratio and harvest the anti-inflammatory benefits of omega-3 fatty acids.
Carbohydrates have a bad reputation in the nutrition list. But, the truth is that not all carbohydrates are bad.
Most of the fiber is removed in refined carbohydrates. The naturally present fiber aids fullness improves blood sugar control and feeds good gut bacteria.
The refined carbs present in candy, bread, pasta, pastries, some cereals, cookies, cakes, sugary soft drinks, and processed foods containing added sugar or flour may encourage the growth of inflammatory gut bacteria, which can increase the risk of obesity and IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease). (Also Read: IBS vs. IBD- Know The Difference)
Excessive alcohol consumption has been linked to developing problems linked to bacterial toxins moving out of the colon and into the body. This condition is called leaky gut and can cause widespread inflammation, which can also result in organ damage.
In order to prevent alcohol-related inflammation, alcohol intake should be limited to 1 standard drink for women and 2 standard drinks for men.
Processed meat is linked to several health conditions including an increased risk of stroke, heart diseases, erectile dysfunction, diabetes, stomach and gastric problems, constipation, acne, stomach cancer, and colon cancer. Common types of processed meat foods include ham, sausage, bacon, smoked meat, and beef jerky. Among all the diseases linked to the consumption of processed meat, association with colon cancer is the strongest.
What Foods to Avoid to prevent inflammation?
- Sugar-sweetened drinks and fruit juices
- White bread, white pasta, etc.
- Cookies, candy, cake, and ice cream
- Hot dogs, bologna, sausages, etc.
- Crackers, chips, and pretzels
- Processed seed and vegetable oils such as soybean and corn oil
- Foods with partially hydrogenated ingredients
- Excessive alcohol consumption
Anti-Inflammatory Diet- Foods to eat to prevent Inflammation
Increase the intake of anti-inflammatory foods to prevent inflammation caused due to foods:
- Broccoli, kale, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, etc.
- Grapes and cherries
- Avocados and olives
- Olive oil and coconut oil
- Salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, and anchovies
- Almonds and other nuts
- Bell peppers and chili peppers
- Dark chocolate
- Turmeric, fenugreek, cinnamon, etc.
- Green tea
- Red wine– Up to 140 ml per day for women and 280 ml per day for men
Inflammation can occur due to many triggers including pollution, injury, or sickness. However, an individual has a lot of control over factors that can promote inflammation, like foods and diet.
To maintain good health, keep inflammation at bay by minimizing the consumption of foods that can trigger inflammation and consider eating anti-inflammatory foods if you are troubled with such inflammation.