On the previous blog I wrote, I explained how Inflammation can be good and bad to our bodies. Inflammation is an immune response that happens when there is a perceived threat in the body. Researches also show that a significant contributor to chronic inflammation comes from what we eat, and you’ll soon find that many foods that stimulate inflammation is included in our day to day diet. When you eat them daily, you’ll constantly be turning on your body’s alarm system. Because your immune system alarm is never disarmed, over time, this constant inflammatory response can lead to weight gain, drowsiness, skin problems, digestive issues, and a host of diseases, from diabetes to obesity to cancer.
To give you ideas on what to alter in your diet to reduce and eliminate foods that cause inflammation, here’s a list of the main inflammation-causing culprits:
A protein found in wheat, gluten can trigger an immune reaction that damages the surface of the small intestine and can cause a variety of problems including interference with the absorption of nutrients, bloating, diarrhea, and sometimes constipation. People with sensitivity to gluten can experience anxiety, depression, mood swings, brain fog, fatigue, dizziness, migraine headaches, swelling or pain in joints.
Yeast is found in breads, rolls, croissants, pastries, dough- nuts, beer, wine, cider, some stocks, and other fermented foods. People with sensitivities to yeast can experience abdominal bloating, constipation, diarrhea, anxiety, depression, hives, psoriasis, infertility, menstrual problems, respiratory issues, and weight gain.
White flour, white rice, processed cereals, chips, crackers, French fries, and more are included on this list.
Lactose is the sugar found in milk and other dairy products. Lactose intolerance occurs in people who don’t have enough of the enzyme lactose, which is needed to break down lactose. Lactose intolerance can cause stomach pain, gas and bloating, nausea, and diarrhea. Interesting fact: Plain Greek yogurt (which is my go-to yogurt) is 99 percent lactose free, so I find that many people who have this sensitivity are still okay with this product.
Even if they don’t have lactose intolerance, some people have a sensitivity to milk and dairy products that can cause an allergic reaction ranging from rashes, hives, itching, and swelling to more severe issues such as wheezing and trouble breathing.
People with sensitive stomachs can have trouble digesting pork and red meats and, less often, poultry. This is especially true of factory-farmed, grain-fed, and antibiotic-infused animals. That’s why my recommendation for all meats is for grass-fed, humanely raised, antibiotic-free products. It’s the bacterial toxins in meat that most often trigger endotoxins in the blood.
Processed sugars are empty calories and just bad all around—they spike your blood sugar and are void of any valuable nutrients. Besides causing weight gain, they trigger the release of inflammatory messengers called cytokines and can cause suppression of white blood cells, which makes you more susceptible to getting sick. Inflammation caused by sugar has also been linked to certain cancers.
All alcoholic beverages cause inflammation in your liver, your gut, your joints, tissues, and blood vessels. Alcohol is also associated with heart disease, stroke, cancer, and other digestive problems. Best to be avoided.
Saturated and trans fats
These fats can trigger fat tissue inflammation in the body, which is an indicator of heart disease and is also linked to arthritis pain. Trans fats also trigger inflammation; they are most often found in fast foods, fried products, and processed snack foods.
Aspartame, found in diet sodas, is a neurotoxin that causes inflammation in the brain, and Splenda has been shown to spike blood sugar and increase the release of insulin (not good for anyone at risk of diabetes).
Most packaged foods have been altered for a long shelf life with preservatives, colorings, and artificial flavorings, all of which trigger inflammation in the body. If it comes in a box or bag and has a brand name, chances are good that it’s bad.
Whew! That’s a long list up there, and while doing research for this article, I found myself so guilty because every single day I have at least one of the items above. This is an eye-opener and I think it’s time for me to be really intentional on switching to a healthier lifestyle. How about you?
About The Author
Charlotte has tried every buffet restaurant in the Metro and is on the quest to try the ones in the provinces soon. She's an active blogger and you can find her in her think tank in Marco Polo on weekdays. She used to think Oleia Topical Oil can help her loose weight since it's good for inflammation only to realize it's better for after work massages.