Last Updated August 7th, 2021
What exactly is inflammation?
Well, inflammation can occur as swelling and can’t appear as such in certain conditions. However, inflammation occurs when the white blood cells in the body are released into the blood to protect the body from any foreign substances. This chemical reaction happens in order to preserve the area of injury or infection and prevent it from getting worse. For instance, a bee stings you and the affected area gets swollen, well you needn’t panic, it is just the way your body reacts to the sting.
Inflammation helps defend your body and stimulates healing. Inflammation, though seems good can get worse when they are persistent and present for a prolonged period of time. However, the foods that you consume can be labeled harmful as they could contribute to prolonging your inflammation. When such conditions are prevalent it is obviously wise to avoid such foods and build a better anti-inflammatory diet.
Inflammation and your body
To keep it simple, inflammation is a process that includes the body’s response to illness, infection, or injuries. When anything happens the immune system triggers a release of increased amounts of white blood cells which attach to the infected area and fight against the injury or infection. Inflammation cannot be termed harmful as it’s just the way the body works but when inflammation is persistent for a prolonged period of time then its time you consult a doctor and consider having a healthy diet.
Chronic inflammation can be seen only after the certain infection reaction that the body tends to react too. Acute inflammation can be diagnosed by the following symptoms,
- Pain: The affected or inflamed area is likely to develop pain, especially during and after touching. Chemicals that stimulate nerve endings are released, making the area more sensitive.
- Redness: This occurs because the capillaries in the area are filled with more blood than usual.
- Immobility: There may be some loss of function in the region of the inflammation.
- Swelling: This occurs when there is a buildup of fluid in the affected area.
- Heat: More blood flows to the affected area, and this makes it feel warm to the touch or sensitive to touch.
Common inflammatory foods present in your diet
It is necessary to avoid certain foods that cause chronic inflammation. The foods that should be avoided are as follows,
The excessive intake of table sugar (sucrose) and high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) are the most commonly used added sugars in the western diet. Added sugar is very harmful as it can increase inflammation and lead to many diseases such as insulin resistance, diabetes, fatty liver disease, cancer, and chronic kidney disease.
The sugar industry has made it a selling point to label sugar they sell as naturally derived from sugarcane but on the whole, the molasses derived from sugar cane are refined and processed and all you get as the end product is a whole lot chemical. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition warns that processed sugars trigger the release of inflammatory messengers called cytokines.
According to experts, fructose is a type of sugar which causes inflammation within the endothelial cells that are present in line with your blood vessels. This feature makes it a risk factor for heart disease.
To be more specific, it is refined carbohydrates that do damage to the inflammation process. Apart from getting a bad rap related to obesity and ill health carbohydrates have also been causing inflammation. Not all carbs fall under the harmful category. However, refined carbs do top the charts of harmful foods.
Refined carbs go through an array of processes that remove the fiber content from them. The removal of fibers leads to gut problems, obesity, and inflammatory bowel disease. Refined carbs consist of the higher glycemic index (GI) than unprocessed ones. The foods that contain High-GI raise blood sugar more rapidly than low-GI foods.
Though moderate consumption of alcohol could be ok for a few, when it crosses the limit it can lead to severe health issues and in certain prolonged conditions, death. Alcoholics develop problems like liver disorders, and leaky gut can be the major cause for inflammation which leads to organ damage. People who consume excessive alcohol show increased levels of inflammatory marker CRP.
Artificial Trans Fats
These trans fats are the unhealthiest fats that you can ever have. In order to keep the foodstuff, stable hydrogen is added to unsaturated fats. The added hydrogen is mostly in a liquid state and this in return causes harmful effects to the system. Hence trans fats are usually termed as “partially hydrogenated” oils.
These trans fats are present in margarine (a butter substitute made from vegetable oils). Margarine is a major substance present in canned and processed food in order to extend shelf life. The consumption of trans fat is related to raise levels of bad cholesterol. The trans fat impairs the functionality of the endothelial cells lining your arteries and cause risk of heart disease.
Oils from vegetables and seeds
Though vegetable oils promote inflammation due to its high content of omega-6 fatty acid, it can also be deemed harmful and cause adverse reactions when the inflammation is prolonged. The excessive intake of it can lead to an increase in inflammation and alter the inflammation reaction on the whole.
Processed meat consumption is linked to the risk of heart disease, diabetes, stomach cancer, and colon cancer. The content in the processed meat is added to prevent it from getting spoiled and make it look fancy for a longer period of time on the shelf of a supermarket. They contain a high quantity of advanced glycation end products(AGEs) when compared to other meats.
These AGE’s are formed when meat is cooked at high temperature. AGE’s are famous for causing inflammation and are found in some of the processed meats such as sausage, bacon, smoked meat, and beef jerky. Experts have proved that processed meat has caused severe medical conditions like colon cancer. The colon cells are more prone to react to processed meat and they are easily affected when consumed frequently.
A considerable amount of yogurt consumption helps in inflammation and provides gut healing probiotics, on the other hand, dairy products including yogurt are an avid source of inflammation-inducing saturated fats. Severed studies have proved that full-fat dairy alters your gut process and decreases the levels of good bacteria present in the gut. The removal of good bacteria cause inflammatory problems and hinders the inflammation process.
Adding to it, many Americans exhibit allergic reactions to lactose which when consumed can cause inflammatory reactions as it releases histamines. Histamines are organic nitrogenous compound involved in local immune responses, as well as regulating physiological function in the gut and acting as a neurotransmitter for the brain, spinal cord, and uterus.
Your colorful cereals are just a way to ingest both known and unknown chemicals in a colorful way. The preservatives and artificial sweeteners used in foods tend to interfere with the body’s inflammatory process. Apart from hindering the inflammatory process it also leads to complications related to diabetes, weight issues, and several other relevant issues. These artificial sweeteners and additives used in bottled beverages are immense contributors to cause pain as a result of triggering an inflammatory process in the body.
The best ways to prevent inflammation
On the brighter side, nature has gifted you with a considerable amount of anti-inflammatory food. Certain vegetables and fruits have shown anti-inflammatory properties which have made it a go-to-food for controlling chronic inflammation.
In order to keep your inflammation under control, it is necessary to make it point to consume a healthy diet. The best diet that would fit your diet chart and reduce inflammation is a Mediterranean diet. This diet consists of fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, fish, and healthy oils. In addition to treating inflammatory problems, it also contributes to several health benefits. A person following an anti-inflammatory diet should keep in mind to include the following foods:
- Kale and spinach, along with other dark green leafy vegetables.
- Cherries, blackberries, and blueberries.
- Dark red grapes.
- Broccoli and cauliflower, and other nutrition-dense vegetables.
- Lentils and beans
- Green tea
- Consumption of red wine in a moderate amount.
- Coconut and avocado.
- Olives and olive oil.
- Walnuts, pistachios, pine nuts, and almonds.
- Salmon and sardines.
- Dark chocolate
- Herbs and spices.
Avoid chronic inflammation
A healthy lifestyle with a plate full of nutrients would help you avoid complications that arise due to inflammation. There are simple lists of things a person can do to make the transition to an anti-inflammatory diet easier; they can try making it possible by
- Adding a considerable variety of fruits and vegetables
- Reducing the consumption of fast food.
- Eliminating soda and sugary beverages.
- Planning a healthy shopping list to ensure that healthful meals and snacks are on your diet chart.
- Making sure to carry a small anti-inflammatory snack while traveling.
- Drinking plenty of water, it also helps stay hydrated.
- Maintaining a diet chart and adhere to stay within the daily calorie requirements.
- Adding supplements, such as omega-3and turmeric to the diet.
- Following a proper exercise routine.
- Trying to get an adequate amount of sleep.
How to deal with inflammation?
Inflammation is a natural process that plays a vital role in your life. If the same is consistent for a longer period of time it is of great necessity that you follow an anti-inflammatory diet combine with medical supervision. By reducing inflammation a person returns to a normal life without any discomforts. It is important to keep track of your inflammation in order to avoid any further health complications.
By keeping a track of your inflammation you could also help solve or avoid some potential health problems that can arise from the blue. As Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology in the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, says “A healthy diet is beneficial not only for reducing the risk of chronic diseases but also for improving mood and overall quality of life.” Maintaining a healthy diet with a healthy body is the best combination to keep inflammation and other associated risk on a checkmate.
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