Foods That Promote Inflammation

Inflammation can strike anyone and in any part of the body. When it strikes your gut, it can be very problematic. How does it get started? Usually by the foods you eat.

It is very important to pay attention to what you’re putting into your body. These are just a few of the foods that cause damage and inflammation.

1. Processed foods with trans fats
Many processed foods, especially sugary treats like muffins and cakes, contain trans fats which are very damaging to the body. You need to check the ingredients labels to see if it lists hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils.

These trans fats have been proven to promote inflammation because they damage the cells that form the lining in your blood vessels. There are far more nutritionally wholesome foods to be found in another aisle of the store.

A healthy alternative: Avoid processed foods altogether. You can find great information on whole foods and also gluten-free baking recipes at The Alternative Daily.

2. Refined sugars
This cannot be emphasized enough: Sugar is deadly! Processed sugars and starches that are high on the glycemic index promote inflammation throughout the body. They can also cause swelling, redness, and pain.

As explained by CNN, “High amounts of sugar in the diet increase advanced glycation end-products, or AGEs, a protein bound to a glucose molecule, resulting in damaged, cross-linked proteins. As the body tries to break these AGEs apart, immune cells secrete inflammatory messengers called cytokines. Depending on where the AGEs occur and your genetic predisposition, they could eventually result in arthritis, cataracts, heart disease, poor memory, or wrinkled skin.”

A healthy alternative: Instead of choosing foods with refined sugars, use honey or coconut crystals in healthy recipes of your own.

3. Refined grains
Grains that have been processed generally have a higher glycemic index than whole grains, and this leads to inflammation, as we discussed above. However, pesticides are also a concern. Pesticides are heavily sprayed on whole wheat, both when the crop is growing and during the refinement process to produce flour for breads and baked goods.

Lastly, the gluten in and of itself is a real hazard for inflammation in the gut. Even for people that do not have celiac disease, a gluten intolerance can cause all kinds of painful inflammation symptoms and can lead to illness.

A healthy alternative: If you must have grains, then always choose gluten-free options and preferably organic if they are available. A great option is making your own food items with quinoa, which is gluten-free and full of protein. It can be used in cooking and baking recipes.

4. Animal fats
You may feel the desire for an occasional cheeseburger, but be aware it will come back to haunt you. A 2006 Australian study found that the flora or gut bacteria of participants actually changed after they had consumed saturated animal fats. Research published in Scientific American explained, “As the balance of species shift, it can trigger an immune response that results in inflammation and tissue damage.”

Also of note is the method of cooking. By grilling your meats over high heat, you can bring about the creation of inflammatory carcinogens in the food.

A healthy alternative: If you are a die-hard meat lover, be sure to look for grass-fed beef. And don’t forget about the healthy omega-3s from dishes prepared with wild-caught fish like salmon.

hamburger5. Dairy products
More than half of the global population is unable to digest milk. The allergens in milk can cause a number of uncomfortable inflammatory symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation, hives, and skin rashes. Dairy products are not always as obvious as cheese and milk. There can also be dairy content in cookies, cream sauces, breads, and crackers.

A healthy alternative: Kefir is a fermented food that contains a multitude of beneficial flora for your gut. Other dairy alternatives that you might want to try are almond milk and coconut milk.

To protect your health, prevent disease, and feel your best, it is important to watch your diet and eat wholesome, nutritious food. Avoid anything pre-packaged, as well as any foods with added sugars, preservatives, or food coloring.

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— Dr. Joshua Levitt

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