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Numerous studies have indicated that a high intake of pro-inflammatory foods increases our risk of developing chronic diseases. These are the kind of foods that cause you to gain excess weight (and become obese), become diabetic, develop arthritis and other joint-related problems, age prematurely, leading to the development of cardiovascular diseases and cancer, and many other conditions.
These foods, when taken usually or frequently, can worsen the evolution of people with chronic pathologies, and can also inhibit the therapeutic action of drugs, supplements and other applied therapies.
Inflammation is the body’s natural response to protect against foreign infections, viruses, and bacteria.When a threat is detected, the body triggers the release of chemicals and white blood cells (which are responsible for fighting the germs in our body).Although inflammation is the body’s healing response, if it persists and is not remedied, it becomes chronic, damaging the body and causing disease.
Recent figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that the prevalence of obesity among adults stands at approximately 66%. Statistics released by the CDC in 2008 suggest that nearly 24 million Americans have diabetes. Statistics also indicate that arthritis and joint diseases affect about 43 million people in the United States, which is 20% of the total population.
Statistics from WHO, the World Health Organization, indicate that approximately 12.9 million people died from cardiovascular-related diseases in 2004. According to the World Cancer Research Fund, approximately 8 million people succumbed to cancer in 2012.The Majority of these disorders which mainly result from chronic inflammation are predicted to remain as some of the leading causes of death in most developed countries for years to come.
In this article, we are going to discuss the top 8 proinflammatory foods that you should avoid for good overall health.
Pro-inflammatory Foods You Should Consider Avoiding
Eating processed sugars is bad for your health, especially when it comes to weight gain and tooth decay. Excessive intake of sugars has also been linked to chronic inflammation, chronic health conditions like Type II Diabetes and Metabolic syndrome . Overeating sugars have also been linked to the development of acne.
Sugar-packed foods include refined carbohydrates such as pasta and bread, pastries, candies, soft drinks, snacks, fruit drinks, and products such as corn syrup, golden syrup, dextrose, and others. You need to watch out your sugar intake and if you’ve got a sweet tooth, you can try out sugar substitutes like honey, Stevia, and Blackstrap molasses.
2.Red meat and processed meats
A recent multiethnic cohort study published on June 2017 found that the intake of red and processed meats may be associated with serious health effects such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and arthritis, through an inflammation pathway in specific population groups.(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5540319/).
Another study found that red meat contains a certain molecule called Neu5Gc , a molecule that human beings do not produce naturally.Upon ingesting this molecule, your body produces anti-Neu5Gc antibodies, which is an immune response that triggers a chronic inflammatory response.
Inflammation caused by dietary intake of red meat and other processed meats has time and again been linked to heart disease and cancer. Therefore, avoiding these pro-inflammatory foods will significantly reduce your risk of developing chronic inflammation.
Trans fats or trans fatty acids are infamous for their bad cholesterol-raising effects. Besides that, trans fats have been found to promote inflammation, weight gain/obesity, increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases, resistance to insulin, and other serious conditions.
Trans fats are commonly found in fried foods, some commercially baked goods, and other food products prepared with margarine and hydrogenated oils. These are some of the most dangerous pro-inflammatory food that you should consider avoiding.
4.Vegetable Oils/Common Cooking Oils
While vegetable oils are considered a healthier alternative to trans fats, the hype is just a marketing ploy. Polyunsaturated vegetable oils have high concentrations of Omega-6, which lead to serious inflammation and low concentrations of the healthy, anti-inflammatory Omega-3 fatty acids.Eicosanoids are substances derived from polyunsaturated fatty acids that affect cellular messaging, inflammation and immunity.The greater the amount of Omega-6s in your body the higher the levels of eicosanoids that can contribute to chronic inflammation.
These are healthier cooking oil alternatives you can use like coconut oil, macadamia nuts oil, and salad dressing oils like olive oil.These oils contain balanced levels of Omega-6 and Omega-3 oils. You might want to include more oils and foods containing Omega-3 fatty acids to fight inflammation.
Meats from commercially fed animals contain high concentrations of the inflammatory Omega-6 fatty acids but significantly low in Omega-3 fatty acids. These meats also contain high amounts of saturated fats.The animals are fed with grains like corns, soy, and beans, all which are high in Omega-6 fatty acids.
You might want to avoid meats from feedlot-fed animals and opt for grass-fed animals whose meat is purely organic. Please note that this doesn’t mean that all meats from supermarkets and food stores are sourced from feedlot animals. Always check the package before purchasing.
Most of the food products we consume today are made from refined grains. These foods may include wheat flour, corn flour, white rice, pasta, biscuits, noodles, bread, and others. These foods do not contain fiber and have low amounts of essential nutrients. They also contain high amounts of sugar.
Refined grains are known to cause inflammation in the body and hasten the onset of diseases like cancer, diabetes, coronary diseases, and others.If you’re not allergic to grains or gluten, consider consuming products made from whole grains like whole wheat grains, brown rice,and others.
7.Artificial food additives
Most packaged foods contain additives, with some of the most popular being Aspartame and Monosodium glutamate (MSG). These artificial food additives are known to trigger inflammatory responses, more in individuals who have rheumatoid arthritis.Avoid any food or drink containing such food additives.Instead, use natural sweeteners or anti-inflammatory herbs.
Consumption of alcohol on a regular basis is known to cause irritation and inflammation of the esophagus, liver, and larynx. Chronic inflammation in these parts leads to tumor growth and after that, cancer.If you have to take alcohol, limit your intake to no more than one drink a day.
Food Intolerance Inflammation
We cannot talk about pro-inflammatory foods without mentioning the direct relationship that exists between these foods and food intolerance.Food intolerance takes longer to manifest. However, the effects can be long-term, causing inflammation and the appearance of chronic diseases that affect the intestine, heart, among others. The inflammatory foods that commonly cause intolerance are gluten, nuts, solanaceous vegetables, eggs and dairy products. This depends on each person, not all are intolerant to each of these products, that is why it is necessary to monitor how you react when consuming any of them.
There is no other solution to reduce inflammation than giving up on those Pro-inflammatory foods and consume food as close as possible to its natural state.Consume more protein to increase muscle mass.Choose complex carbohydrates, such as those present in colorful fruits, vegetables. Reduce or eliminate the consumption of omega-6 fatty acids that cause inflammation, such as corn and soybean oil, and processed foods that have been made with these oils.