Inflammation is your body’s way of fighting invaders. Not only does it protect you from getting sick, but it also triggers healing. But in some cases, the body’s immune system triggers inflammation without any invader to fight off. This condition if continues over a long time increases your risk of several diseases, such as arthritis, diabetes and heart diseases. Many foods trigger inflammation. Hence, although we don’t have much control over the body’s reaction, we can reduce the intake of these foods to prevent inflammation.
Foods That Cause Inflammation:
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We all know how difficult it is to avoid sugar. Food manufacturers add it to packaged foods to enhance their taste. But research suggests that high sugar consumption is linked to chronic inflammation. Hence, foods that you must avoid to avoid inflammation are cakes, cookies, pastries, donuts, candy, soft drinks and other sugary foods.
If you read food labels, ‘partially hydrogenated oils’ is often written as one of the ingredients. This is nothing but artificial trans fat, one of the unhealthiest trans fats you can consume. This is manufactured by adding hydrogen to normal fat, in order to change its texture and increase its shelf life. Foods with trans fats include french fries, packaged cakes, cookies and other fast foods.
Carbohydrates have got a bad reputation in a way. However, unprocessed carbs are good for the body and it is the refined kind that causes problems, one of which is inflammation. One research suggests that refined carbs may encourage the growth of inflammatory gut bacteria, which can cause inflammatory bowel disease. Foods with refined carbs include white bread, cookies, cakes, pastries, white rice, sugary cereals etc.
Our body needs omega 6 fatty acids for growth and development. It also causes inflammation that helps the body fight against illnesses. Since our body doesn’t produce it, we get it via food. However, overconsumption leads to inflammation. Hence, you need to balance it with omega 3 fatty acids, found in fish, flaxseed and walnut. What you should do is consume both in proper balance. Foods rich in omega 6 are vegetable and seed oils such as sunflower oil, soybean oil, peanut oil etc.
As per research, red and processed meats are rich in saturated fats that cause inflammation. Red meat comes from pig, goats and sheep, while in the case of processed meats, they are salted, fermented and smoked. You can limit your red and processed meat intake by cutting down on it, going meatless for a day per week or having it as a side dish and not the main dish.
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Just like there are foods that cause inflammation, there are those that help fight the same. Here are some foods that fight inflammation:
- Berries such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries etc
- Green tea
- Fatty fish (rich in omega 3 fatty acids)
- Olive oil
Inflammation is not all bad. It is the body’s much-needed response against invaders needed to protect us from diseases. However, chronic inflammation is problematic. To prevent that what we can can do is to limit our intake of inflammatory foods. At the same time, we should incorporate anti-inflammatory foods in our diet for optimal health benefits.
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