Inflammation is an essential part of your body’s attempt to heal itself and is an essential part of our survival. But while acute inflammation has its place in the body, chronic inflammation does not and is the cause of most DIS-ease in the body, including: aches and pains, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, stroke, cancer and MS. Inflammation has become one of the top causes of many health problems in today’s day and age, which is a result of the significant change in our diet as well as environmental factors.
Let’s take a quick look at some foods to avoid and things we can take to limit the inflammation in the body.
Foods That Cause Inflammation
- Fried Foods: Overcooked foods or foods cooked at high temperatures, including french fries, blackened or barbecued foods, and even fried chicken! High heat cooking creates AGES which the body treats as an invader which triggers the inflammatory response in the body
- Sugars: Poor regulation of your insulin and glucose levels screams inflammation, when blood sugar is high the body generates more free radicals and free radicals stimulate the immune response which can cause inflammation
- Trans fatty acids: Industrial trans fatty acids are considered the worst, damaging type of dietary fat. These types of fats are put in processed foods to extend the shelf-life of certain foods like chips, crackers, pastries and microwave popcorn. They are widely used in the fast food industry. They increase bad cholesterol, reduce good cholesterol and promote inflammation and resistance to insulin, don’t touch with a ten foot pole!
- Milk products: A large portion of the world’s population can’t digest the sugar found in milk called lactose unless you’re a little baby, which congrats if your reading this and you’r a baby thats impressive! But if not, milk is a common allergen that triggers an inflammatory response. Organic kefir, yogurt, and cheeses are a bit different because the bacteria or yeast will have broken down the proteins and lactose in milk, making it easier on the stomach.
- Commercially raised meats: Commercially raised meats are fed GMO grains like soy beans and corns, a diet that’s high in inflammatory Omega 6 fatty acids and low in anti-inflammatory Omega 3 fatty acids. This is unlike their counterpart of grass fed or organic humanely raised meats which are higher in the anti-inflammatory Omega 3 fatty acids
- Alcohol: Yes I am sorry to say but alcohol in excessive amounts causes inflammation. Although 1 study did show that people who abstain from alcohol completely have a higher C-reactive protein (the marker of inflammation), than those who drink lightly or moderately, so alcohol in low amounts may actually anti-inflammatory — just don’t overdue it!
- Refined Grains: Refined grains are devoid of fibre and important vitamins compared to unrefined which have all three layers still intact, which basically make them the same as sugar. Refined grains have a higher glycemic index than unprocessed and when consistently eaten can cause the onset of disease and inflammation.
- Food Additives: Most of the packaged foods we eat have additives whether to keep a longer shelf life or to add sweetness. Food additives like Aspartame or MSG have been reported to trigger high inflammatory responses
Other Causes of Inflammation
Food is huge when it comes to inflammation, but it’s not the only thing that can cause it. In the world we live in today there are a lot of other environmental factors that cause inflammations. Let’s look at a few here:
- Lack of sleep: Lack of restorative sleep is a major promoter of inflammation. Try to get 7-8 hours a night in a dark space
- Light: In a world filled with screens and artificial lights we take on too much blue light, especially at night, which can lead to high cortisol levels and diminished melatonin levels that cause lack of sleep and inflammatory response
- Excess Weight: Weight management is important in maintaining a healthy balanced immune system and controlling inflammation
- Reactive Foods: Common reactive foods such as gluten, milk, nuts, eggs and nightshade vegetables can cause inflammation
How To Reduce Inflammation
- Aim for eating a variety of foods.
- Eat as much fresh food as possible and stick to a whole foods diet
- Eliminate or minimize fast food and processed foods
- Eat fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants and phytonutrients
- When eating refined grains like pasta, white rice and potatoes cool after cooking to create resistance starch and minimize the insulin response
- Avoid eating sugar (processed sugar is not the same as the fructose sugar found in fruits that have other nutrients like fibre to minimize the insulin spike)
- Eat organic fruits and vegetables (especially the ones from the dirty dozen)
- Choose Grass Fed meat, wild caught fish and organic chicken
- Include healthy oils in your diet to ensure proper omega 3 to 6 ratios
* Flaxseed oil has one of the highest omega 3 to 6 ratio at 7,196 mg of omega 3 to 1,715 mg of omega 6
*Chia seeds have one of the highest ratio for seeds at 17,552 mg of omega 3 to 5,735 mg of omega 6
Check out this podcast with Functional Medicine Physician, Dr. Will Cole to learn more about inflammation and how to lower it.
Best Anti Inflammatory Supplements
- Omega 3 krill oil
- Vitamin C
If you want to live healthy, happy and stress-free like we preach here at HealthSimple then inflammation is something you need to keep under control. Start by removing the things in your diet and life that cause inflammation and then focus on eating the right foods to keep your inflammation to a minimum. If you find you’re still struggling, that’s when you will want to bring in the supplements for back up!