Inflammation is the natural way our bodies respond to protect itself, maintain immunity, fight infection and heal. Infections, wounds, and any damage to tissue would not be able to heal without an inflammatory response.
However, when inflammation has no purpose or lasts over time, it can damage your body and causes illnesses such as:
➡ Heart disease
When a body’s immune system responds to injury, it is with inflammation and there is redness, heat and swelling to the area of the injury.
- However, Chronic inflammation is often silent and has few noticeable symptoms.
Over time, chronic inflammation can cause several diseases and conditions, including some cancers and rheumatoid arthritis.
If you have high blood sugar or blood fats (cholesterol and triglycerides), low energy, are overweight, have heart disease or digestive problems, you probably have some level of inflammation.
While lack of exercise, being overweight, exposure to pollution and stress all contribute to chronic inflammation, what you eat can also have a major effect.
6 Foods That Cause Harmful Inflammation In Your Body
These six foods in particular can raise your levels of inflammation:
1. Sugar, fructose and high-fructose corn syrup (sugary drinks, desserts, candy) increase insulin resistance and uric acid levels, injures blood vessels and contain lots of calories, leading to weight gain.
2. Trans Fats
These fats, found in many processed and deep-fried foods, lower your “good” cholesterol (HDL), increase your “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and damage blood vessels.
3. Vegetable and Seed Oils:
Examples of oils with high amounts of omega-6 fat, include:
- Soy Oil
Canola and peanut oils can be healthy in small amounts. But most people use too much, which throws off the balance of omega-6 to omega-3 fats (fatty fish, flax), leading to inflammation.
4. Refined Carbs:
These raise your blood sugar levels, contribute to weight gain and cause inflammation in your gut.
- White bread
- Chips and snack foods
5. Processed Meats:
These form harmful substances in protein and fat when cooked at high temperatures as the meat is processed.
➡ They contribute to inflammation in every cell in the body, leading to conditions like heart disease and, in particular, colon cancer. Some examples include:
- Smoked meats
- Beef jerky
➡ Excessive alcohol consumption causes bad bacteria to move out of the digestive tract into other parts of the body, leading to increased inflammation.
While one or two standard-size drinks (5 ounces of wine, 12 ounces of beer or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor) per day have been shown to have some health benefits, too much alcohol is harmful.
Eat This, Not That
In addition to cutting down on inflammatory foods, you can reduce inflammation by eating whole, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant-rich foods.
Eat plenty of these:
- Brightly colored vegetables like dark green, red, orange and yellow
- Fruits, especially berries, tart cherries and grapes
- Avocados, olives, olive oil and avocado oil
- Whole grains and high-fiber carbohydrates
- Omega-3 fatty fish like salmon, tuna, sardines and mackerel
- Nuts and seeds
- Beans and legumes
- Dark chocolate (85 percent cacao is best)
- Green and white tea (black also has some antioxidants)
- Red wine (in moderation)
The good news is that the things you can do to reduce inflammation also improve your overall health: It’s a win/win situation. They include:
➡ Eating a healthy diet
➡ Being physically active
➡ Getting enough sleep
➡ Drinking plenty of water
➡ Finding ways to lower your stress levels
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