Foods that cause inflammation: What to Skip for Better Health

Foods that cause inflammation significantly affect our overall health and well-being. Eating healthily is not just about weight loss; it’s also about promoting overall well-being and preventing chronic diseases.

Foods that cause inflammation can accelerate health problems, while others mitigate them.

Among the health issues we often overlook is inflammation, where inflammatory foods can play a significant part.

Chronic inflammation is a leading cause of several diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, and can be prevented by consuming an anti-inflammatory diet, among other things.

This article explores some dietary catalysts of inflammation, specifically focusing on inflammatory foods that you should consider eschewing for a more robust health status.

1. What is Chronic Inflammation

Chronic inflammation is a prolonged inflammatory response lasting for months or even years. It arises when the body’s immune system continuously sends out white blood cells and chemical messengers to fight a perceived threat, even when an infection or injury isn’t present to provoke healing.

This perpetual state of alert causes the body’s defence system to misfire. Unlike acute inflammation, which is beneficial in healing wounds and fighting infections, chronic inflammation doesn’t shut off when it should, leading to it attacking the body’s tissues and disrupting processes that would typically preserve health.

2. Why Cronic Inflammation is bad

The health effects of chronic inflammation are far-reaching and can contribute to a host of diseases.

Over time, this persistent inflammatory state can damage DNA and lead to cellular changes that, in turn, increase the risk of several chronic conditions.

These include heart disease associated with increased arterial inflammation, arthritis with persistent joint inflammation, and chronic respiratory conditions. Moreover, there is a growing body of evidence linking chronic inflammation to type 2 diabetes, obesity, and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.

The effect of chronic inflammation is systemic, affecting the entire body and undermining overall health.

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3. Harmful food categories 

Knowing what categories of foods accelerate chronic inflammation is essential for anyone aiming to maintain or improve their health.

Understanding these dietary culprits can empower individuals to make informed choices that help mitigate inflammation-related risks. 

This section delves into the foods that exacerbate inflammation, guiding you towards healthier dietary adjustments.

1. Refined Carbohydrates

Refined or processed carbohydrates strip away beneficial fibre, leading to faster digestion and hiking blood sugar levels. This is an ideal condition for triggering inflammation.

Hence, replacing dressings, sugary cereals, and white bread with healthier whole-grain products is advisable.

2. Fried Foods

There’s no denying that fried food like French fries and fried chicken is delicious.

However, due to their preparation at high temperatures, they contain high levels of inflammatory advanced glycation end products (AGEs). This exacerbates inflammation, leading to serious health problems in the long run.

3. Sugary Beverages

Sugary drinks such as sodas and fruit juices high in sugar not only pose a risk to your dental health but induce inflammation as well.

They facilitate insulin resistance and lead to abdominal obesity.  These factors catalyse inflammation and a list of harmful health conditions. 

4. Processed Meats & Red Meat

While meats are rich in protein, processed and red meats are notorious for promoting inflammation.

The high levels of saturated fat in red meat and the preservatives in processed meats stimulate an inflammatory response, increasing the risk of colon cancer and heart disease.

5. Certain Dairy Products

Many dairy products, especially those high in saturated fats like certain cheeses and full-fat milk, can cause inflammation in sensitive individuals.

If you often experience inflammation symptoms after consuming dairy, seek alternatives like almond milk, coconut milk, or lactose-free products.

6. Trans Fats

Trans fats, industrially created by adding hydrogen to solidify vegetable oil, are commonly found in margarine, baked goods, and fried food.

They stimulate systemic inflammation, contributing to heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

4. The Bottom Line

In essence, your dietary choices can significantly influence your health by either promoting or mitigating inflammation.

Foods that can cause inflammation include refined carbohydrates, fried foods, sugary drinks, processed meats, certain dairy products, and foods rich in trans fats. It’s advisable to minimize the consumption of these foods that cause inflammation.

Instead, replacing these foods with anti-inflammatory foods like fruits, vegetables, and lean meats can improve health and wellness over time.

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