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Five Foods That Cause Inflammation

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And Five That Fight It!

Our diet regulates how our body takes care of itself. Whatever we eat or drink inevitably end up as fuel and resources for the body’s natural processes – including inflammation.

The immune system is responsible for inflammation in the body. Short-term inflammation aids in eliminating the initial cause of cell injuries, clears out damaged tissues, serves as an alert to other immune responses, and catalyzes tissue repair. In short, it’s a natural part of the human body’s innate healing abilities, whether in the form of painful swelling or high body temperature.

So what’s the problem? Although short-term inflammation is a natural and necessary bodily response to damage, prolonged inflammation is not, and can even cause long-term damage when left unchecked.

In fact, chronic inflammatory diseases are the most significant cause of death in the world, according to the World Health Organization. Cardiovascular diseases account for 1 in 3 deaths in America. And Maryville University estimates that by 2025, 164 million people in the United States will be affected by some form of chronic disease – most of which are linked to chronic inflammation. Diabetes, arthritis and joint diseases, CVD, and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease are some of the worst and more common forms of these diseases.

While one of the most efficient tools to combat chronic inflammation is medication, opting for an anti-inflammatory diet can help reduce the risk of chronic illnesses. On the other hand, eating inflammatory food can actually aggravate the process.

So here’s what you need to know about optimizing your diet to fight inflammation:

What To Avoid

Sugary food. Sugar, in particular fructose, is one of the leading aggravators of inflammation indicators in the body according to numerous studies. In fact, a recent study published in the Molecular Neurobiology Journal supported the scientific consensus earlier that fructose induces inflammation and oxidation stress. High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is typically found in all sweetened beverages sold commercially.

Refined carbohydrates. Not all carbs are bad, but you should steer clear from refined carbohydrates. This type of food encourages the proliferation of inflammatory gut bacteria as it has a higher glycemic index.

Processed meats. Aside from carcinogens, processed meats like bacon, ham, and beef jerky contain more advanced glycation end (AGE) products. AGEs are formed when cooking meat at high temperatures. Deep fried meats in particular are well-known sources of inflammation.

Excessive alcohol. Alcohol consumption promotes neuro and intestinal inflammation. This happens when heavy too much alcohol progresses to leaky gut – where bacterial toxins move out of the colon – and lead to inflammation and even organ damage.

Artificial Trans Fats. These fats are the worst kind. They are found in fast food products, microwave ready meals, and junk food. Unlike other fats, artificial trans fat consumption is strongly linked to the rapid increase of C-reactive protein – an inflammatory marker.

What to eat:

Dark leafy greens. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, kale, and Brussels sprouts are linked to a reduction in inflammation, heart disease, and even cancer.

Berries. They contain an anti-inflammatory antioxidant called anthocyanins. Packed with vitamins and minerals, berries aid in strengthening your immune system and preventing it from going haywire.

Avocados. A study from the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition found that inflammation markers NF-kB and IL-6 were lower in those who eat avocados. This particular superfood also contains carotenoids and tocopherols – which reduces the risk of cancer.

Tomatoes. Rich in lycopene, which reduces inflammation, the humble and common tomato is a neglected superfood. One study found that tomato juice can decrease inflammation in overweight women.

Turmeric. An important part of Indian dishes such as this Paleo Turmeric Roast Chicken, turmeric contains curcumin – a strong anti-inflammatory nutrient. Similarly, there are supplements with isolated curcumin to boost this effect.

Although optimizing your daily food intake to fight inflammation is easier said than done, the long-term benefits of an anti-inflammatory diet are undeniable.

Piece exclusively submitted by Y. Lemare for