The word ‘inflammation’ doesn’t really evoke much concern, does it? Actually, many people associate inflammation with swelling – which, is true to some extent – however, inflammation can actually be a very dangerous thing.
Strange as it sounds, inflammation is actually a necessary defense mechanism of the body. However, chronic inflammation can be very harmful.
From different studies and research chronic inflammation can actually cause a wide range of diseases, some of them fatal. Chronic (long-term) inflammation has been associated with conditions such as Alzheimer’s, cancer, heart disease and stroke.
Not so surprisingly, our diets affect the inflammatory response in the body. In America – along with other developed nations – this is bad news; as our shelves are stocked with heavily-processed foods and ingredients. In general, the foods you eat can have a major effect on inflammation in your body.
Here are 6 foods that can cause inflammation.
- Sugar and High-Fructose Corn Syrup
Consuming a diet high in sugar and high-fructose corn syrup drives inflammation that can lead to disease. Eating a lot of fructose has been linked to obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes, fatty liver disease, cancer and chronic kidney disease It may also counteract the anti-inflammatory effect of omega-3 fatty acids.
- Artificial Trans Fats
Artificial trans fats are the unhealthiest fats that exist. trans fats damage the cells that line our blood vessels; of course, this stimulates inflammation.
Most margarines contain trans fats, and they are often added to processed foods in order to extend shelf life. In contrast to naturally occurring trans fats found in dairy products and meat, artificial trans fats have been shown to cause inflammation and increase disease risk.
- Vegetable and Seed Oils
Because of their high omega-6 fatty acid content, vegetable and seed oils may promote inflammation when consumed in high amounts. These oils are often extracted from foods using solvents like hexane, a component of gasoline.
The vegetable oils that are produced in this manner include sunflower, corn, safflower, canola (also known as rapeseed), peanut, soybean oils and sesame.
- Refined Carbohydrates
High-fiber, unprocessed carbohydrates are healthy, but refined carbohydrates raise blood sugar levels and promote inflammatory changes that may lead to disease
Researchers report that the refined carbohydrates in our modern diet may encourage the growth of inflammatory gut bacteria that can increase risk of obesity and inflammatory bowel disease
A study published in The Journal of Nutrition links refined grains (including white bread) with higher concentrations of inflammatory proteins in the blood. Meanwhile, the same study attributes whole-grain consumption with lower levels of these proteins.
The lesson? Whole grain breads are much healthier, and white bread is even more unhealthy that we originally thought.
5. Excessive Alcohol
Heavy consumption of alcohol can allow bacteria to penetrate through the intestinal wall. Of course, the presence of bacteria initiates an autoimmune response that involves irritation and inflammation.
- Processed Meat
Common types of processed meat include sausage, bacon, ham, smoked meat and beef jerky. Consuming processed meat is associated with an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, stomach cancer and colon cancer. Of all the diseases linked to processed meat consumption, colon cancer’s association is the strongest.