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. Inflammation is a necessary defense mechanism of the body. It is the body’s attempt at self-protection; the aim being to remove harmful stimuli, including damaged cells, irritants, or pathogens, and begin the healing process. However, inflammation of the chronic variety can be very harmful. Studies suggest that chronic inflammation could have serious roles in a wide variety of age-related diseases including diabetes, cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases. Not so surprisingly, our diets affect the inflammatory response in the body. In America this is bad news; as our shelves are stocked with heavily-processed foods and ingredients. These are the foods that you need to avoid because they cause inflammation in the body.
Anything fried – Pretty much everything that is fried has a thick layer of fat, also known as batter, around it. As unhealthy as this unnecessary fat is, it is actually the temperatures that fried food is prepared in that primarily causes inflammation. Fried foods are prepared at temperatures between 350-375 degrees Fahrenheit. At this range, the food forms glycation end-products that are very unhealthy. Actually, the body perceives these byproducts as threats and initiates the inflammation response.
Foods containing trans fats – The reason is that trans fats damage the cells that line our blood vessels; of course, this stimulates inflammation. In the past, processed foods were notorious for containing excessive levels of trans fats. Due to damning medical research and consumer backlash, companies slowly but surely began eliminating them. It is still wise to check the ingredients label for hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, and leave them alone.
White bread – White breads and pastas are quickly broken down into sugars and are absorbed by the body. These products also cause inflammation. The refinement process that many of these foods undergo irritates our body as a result. A study links refined grains 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.
Alcohol – Granted alcohol is not a food, but the dangers it poses on human health cannot be ignored; specifically, the potentially hazardous inflammation responses induced by heavy consumption. In theory, alcohol shouldn’t lead to any lasting damage unless it is overdone. Heavy consumption, however, can allow bacteria to penetrate through the intestinal wall. Of course, the presence of bacteria initiates an autoimmune response that involves irritation and inflammation.
MSG foods – Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is thought to be an inflammation starter, although the exact mechanisms behind the response aren’t well-known, consumption of MSG is thought to cause inflammation of the blood vessels. Simply put, MSG is not an element that the human body is adapted to. When this is the case, it becomes very difficult to hypothesize the potential effects from consuming it. What is known about MSG is that the chemical can exacerbate weight gain, cause headaches, raise blood pressure, and is potentially damaging to the liver.
Gluten – There is perhaps no food additive that’s come under such intense scrutiny in recent years. Gluten, a substance in cereal grains and wheat, is known for causing bloating and digestive problems. These and other findings are persuading more and more individuals to stop consuming the substance. The side effects experienced from gluten are thought to surface from an inflammatory response to the chemical. Those that have abstained from gluten report feeling much healthier too.