Recent researches reveal that a host of illnesses, such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, gouty arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, psoriasis, chronic fatigue syndrome, breast cancer, carpal tunnel syndrome, hypertension and even heart disease start with the inflammatory process.
Inflammation is normal as it is the body’s main defense to irritation, infection and injury. However, due to sustained attacks on the body and with the pro-inflammatory diet that we feed on every day, the immune system is overwhelmed and the low-grade inflammation becomes chronic and systemic.
L.A. Pain Clinic declares that "the origin of all pain is inflammation and the inflammatory response. Irrespective of the type of pain whether it is acute or chronic pain, peripheral or central pain, the underlying origin is inflammation and the inflammatory response.
Regardless of the characteristic of the pain, whether it is sharp, dull, aching, burning, stabbing, numbing or tingling, all pain arises from inflammation and the inflammatory response". (S. Omoigui, Division of Inflammation and Pain Research, L.A. Pain Clinic, Los Angeles, California, USA)
What causes inflammation?
According to many medical experts, the most prevalent trigger for inflammation is our daily diet of processed foods and junk foods.
Cardiologist Dr. Richard Fleming goes so far as to call sodas, french fries, chips, burgers and other junk foods as Chronic inflammation’s Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs). He says, “Every day there are WMDs of our diet that assault our bodies rendering countless damage and casualties to our body’s defenses, yielding more and more inflammation and damage.” The bad news is that if you want to control inflammation you have to give up junk food. The good news is that it may save you from suffering from cancer, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, arthritis and other diseases caused by chronic inflammation.
Trans-fatty acids (hydrogenated oil) in foods such as chips, french fries, crackers, cookies, processed foods and margarine are positively associated with increased markers of chronic inflammation according to a study “Dietary Intake of Trans-fatty acids and Systemic Inflammation in Women” published in the American Journal of Nutrition, April, 2004.
The Journal of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention (September, 1997) reported that women with breast cancer have higher levels of trans-fatty acids stored in their bodies. Higher levels of trans-fatty acids increased risk of breast cancer by 40%.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (October 2008) reported that higher intake of partially hydrogenated vegetable oils are associated with elevated concentration of inflammatory markers.
Dr. Richard Fleming, nuclear cardiologist and founder of Fleming Heart Institute said in an interview with ABC News, “Trans-fatty acids interfere with enzymes that process healthy omega-3 fatty acids, an anti-inflammatory fat.”
White Sugar and White Flour
A diet high in white flour, white sugar and other refined carbohydrates definitely increases inflammation markers according to a study by Simin Liu, M.D., Ph.D., Harvard Medical School. Women whose diet included potatoes, breakfast cereals, white bread, muffins and white rice had elevated CRP levels. He concluded that high-glycemic foods contribute to chronic inflammation.
Foods Cooked at High Temperature
Eating foods cooked at high temperature such as burgers, french fries, fried foods, and chips contributes to the production of inflammatory cytokines. Eating these foods leads to the formation of products which bind a protein molecule to a glucose molecule resulting in the formation of damaged protein structures in the body. As these damaged proteins accumulate they cause cells to emit signals that increase the production of inflammatory cytokines.
How to Control Inflammation
The good news is: Inflammation can be controlled and reversed (although some permanent damages may not.)
Avoid pro-inflammatory foods like french fries (trans-fatty acids), burgers (red meat), bakery products (white flour, high sugar and dairy), canned, instant and processed foods (additives).
Eat healthy. Eat the right kinds of anti-inflammatory foods. Enrich family meals with variety of vegetables (cooked and raw), fish, and whole grains. These natural foods are rich in complex carbohydrates, proteins, fiber, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals deprived of us in processed foods. Fish and whole grain are also rich in omega-3 and omega-9 that help control the cycle that promotes unnecessary inflammation.
Take anti-inflammatory food supplements to balance-off your highly pro-inflammatory diet everyday.
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