Do you know if you’re eating inflammatory foods? Anti-inflammatory foods are gaining popularity as we become more informed of the effects of inflammatory foods and what they do to our body. Inflammation is a natural immune response and is initially beneficial. But, when inflammation is out of control, it’s thought to contribute to certain chronic illnesses, weight gain and even accelerate aging. Inflammation can happen internally and externally and while it’s easy to tell when something is inflamed on the outside from an injury, it’s not so easy to tell on the inside. Avoid the following inflammatory foods below to keep inflammation at bay.
One of the top inflammatory foods to avoid is anything sugary. Eating too much sugar can lead to weight gain, immune system impairment and even lead to diabetes down the line. While it’s good to consume some foods containing sugar in moderation, a diet with lots of sugar can exacerbate certain health conditions and, according to Dr. Perricone, can even make you look older than you are!
Eaten in excess, a little known food that causes inflammation is meat. Eating too much beef, pork or chicken can cause inflammation since they often contain excess sodium, nitrates and arachidonic acid. This doesn’t mean you should eliminate meat from your diet; just be careful not to eat too much of any one type of meat. Instead, add some more fish to your diet and buy organic, free-range meat whenever possible.
Trans fats are one of those things that we avoid due to their effect on cholesterol levels, but they’re also one of the inflammatory foods to avoid. Although trans fats aren’t actual foods, they’re in many of the foods we eat so it’s always smart to read labels carefully. According to the Mayo Clinic, trans fats contribute to inflammation and damage the cells in the lining of blood vessels.
This is another inflammatory food that’s not really a food, but is widely consumed. Alcohol is an irritant to the body and can raise estrogen levels which induces inflammation. It’s also high in sugar and irritates as well as inflames many of our organs, so it’s best to drink alcohol in moderation.
I’ve never met a fried food that I didn’t like so it’s quite disappointing to learn that they’re an inflammatory food. I never expected them to be good for me, but it’s just another reason to cut back. A study done at Mount Sinai School of Medicine found that decreasing your intake of fried and processed foods helped reduce inflammation and help repair the body’s natural defenses!
Another one of the inflammatory foods to avoid is dairy. Dairy products are often hard on our bodies anyway, with many of them containing hormones and antibiotics. Dairy seems to be a common allergen for many people which can cause digestive problems, rashes, hives and skin problems. You don’t have to ban all dairy foods from your grocery list though. According to Karen H. Costenbader, MD, from Harvard Medical School, low and non-fat milk are great sources of calcium, Vitamin D and are anti-inflammatory.
I’ve come to the conclusion that anything that’s refined is something to avoid. Refined foods refer to foods that have been processed to the point where it is void of any nutritional value. Eating a diet high in refined sugars, carbs, grains or flours contributes to weight gain, fatigue, malnourishment and inflammation. Stick to whole grains and minimally-processed food whenever possible.
It might seem like just about every food can contribute to inflammation, but there are lots of delicious and healthy foods out there that will fight or curb inflammation in your body. The best thing to do is to eat whole foods whenever you can and limit processed foods as much as possible. Processed foods do nothing for you and can actually harm you in the long run.
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