6 Inflammation Causing Foods
Sponsored by Koru Nutrition
Inflammation can be either a great thing or a terrible thing, it all depends on the situation. One on hand, it’s your body’s natural way of protecting itself from injury’s and sickness.
On the other hand, chronic inflammation is linked to an increased risk in a variety of diseases and health problems.
Your diet is a great factor on how inflammation can affect you. Here are 6 foods that can cause inflammation.
1. Refined Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates have gotten a bad rap over the years.
The truth is that not all carbs are as problematic as we make them out to be.
Our ancestors consumed high fiber, unprocessed carbs for millennia in the form of grasses, roots, and fruits (1).
Refined carbs are carbs that have had most of their fiber removed. Fiber is the most beneficial part of most carbs. It promotes fullness, improves blood sugar control, and feeds the beneficial bacteria in your gut.
Refined carbs also have a higher glycemic index (GI) than unprocessed ones. Higher GI foods raise blood sugar more rapidly than low GI foods.
In one study, older adults who reported the highest intake of high GI foods were 2.9 times more likely to die of an inflammatory disease like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
In a controlled study, young, healthy men who ate 50 grams of refined carbs in the form of white bread experienced higher blood sugar levels and increases in levels of a particular inflammatory marker.
Refined carbohydrates can be found in candy, bread, pasta, pastries, some cereals, cookies, cakes, sugary soft drinks, and all processed foods that contain added sugar or flour.
2. Excessive Alcohol
While moderate alcohol consumption has been shown to provide some benefits, consuming excessive amounts can lead to severe health problems.
In one study, levels of the inflammatory marker CRP increased in people who consumed alcohol. The more alcohol they consumed, the more their CRP levels increased.
People who drink excessively may begin to develop problems with bacterial toxins moving out of the colon and into the body. This condition — commonly called “leaky gut” — can drive widespread inflammation that leads to organ damage (7, 8).
In order to avoid alcohol-related health problems, intake should be limited to at most two standard drinks per day for men and one for women.
3. Processed Meat
The most common types of processed meat include sausage, bacon, ham, smoked meats, and beef jerky.
Of all the diseases linked to processed meat consumption, its association with colon cancer is the strongest.
Many factors contribute to colon cancer, however, one mechanism is believed to be colon cells’ inflammatory response to processed meat (12).
4. Sugar and High-Fructose Corn Syrup
The modern western diet is full of sugar. Table sugar (sucrose) and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) are the two main types that we use today.
Sugar is 50% glucose and 50% fructose, while high fructose corn syrup is about 45% glucose and 55% fructose.
In one study, mice fed high sucrose diets developed breast cancer that spread to their lungs, partly due to the inflammatory response to sugar.
In another study, the anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3 fatty acids were impaired in mice fed a high sugar diet.
Sugar is also harmful because it supplies excess amounts of fructose.
While the small amounts of fructose in fruits and vegetables are fine, consuming unnatural amounts from added sugars is a bad idea.
Researchers have also noted that fructose causes inflammation within the endothelial cells that line your blood vessels, which is a risk factor for heart-related issues (22).
Foods high in added sugar include candy, chocolate, soft drinks, cakes, cookies, doughnuts, sweet pastries, and certain cereals. You can check the ingredients for the estimated amount of sugar, just be careful as some companies try to hide sugar behind complicated names!
5. Artificial Trans-Fats
The unhealthiest fats you can eat are likely artificial trans fats.
They’re created by adding hydrogen to unsaturated fats, which are naturally a liquid, to give them the stability and solidity of a more solid fat.
On ingredient labels, trans fats are often listed as “partially hydrogenated oils”.
Many margarines contain trans fats, and they are often added to processed foods to extend their natural shelf life.
In a randomized controlled trial including older women with excess weight, hydrogenated soybean oil increased inflammation significantly more than palm and sunflower oils.
Some foods that are high in trans fats include French fries and other fried fast food, certain margarine and vegetable shortenings, packaged cakes and cookies, and all processed foods that list partially hydrogenated vegetable oil on the label.
6. Vegetable and Seed Oils
Within the 20th century, consumption of vegetable oils has increased by 130% in the United States.
Some scientists believe that certain vegetable oils, such as soybean oil, can promote inflammation due to their very high omega-6 fatty acid content.
Although some dietary omega-6 fats are needed, the typical Western diet provides far more than people naturally need.
In fact, health professionals recommend eating more omega-3-rich foods, such as fatty fish, to improve your omega-6 to omega-3 ratio and reap the anti-inflammatory benefits of omega-3s.
In one study, rats fed a diet with an omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of 20:1 had higher levels of inflammatory markers than those fed diets with ratios of 1:1 or 5:1.
However, the evidence that a high intake of omega-6 fatty acids increases inflammation in humans is currently limited.
More research is needed before any conclusions can be made.
Vegetable and seed oils are used as cooking oils and are a major ingredient in many processed foods.
Inflammation occurs as a response to many triggers, many of which aren’t preventable like pollution, injury or sickness.
Your diet, however, is one of the triggers you can control.
To stay as healthy as possible, keep inflammation down by minimizing your consumption of the foods discussed in this article which can help trigger inflammation.
Another way to stop inflammation is the use of supplements such as Joint Fx by Koru Nutrition. These supplements aid in stopping inflammation in its tracks and support mobility and recovery.
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