In my previous blog, I talked about Inflammation (A silent Killer!)
Inflammation is your body’s natural defence mechanism. However, when inflammation turns chronic, it becomes a problem. Chronic inflammation overwhelms your immune system and may lead to chronic pain and many other health issues.
Inflammatory foods are major culprits in the development of pain in many chronic health conditions. This is because inflammation is at the root cause of most chronic health issues. This makes it even more important for us to learn what foods you need to eliminate and what diet to follow to reduce inflammation, pain, and disease. With so much information out there, it may feel confusing at times! But one thing is very clear that eating an anti-inflammatory healing diet is crucial to reduce inflammation, pain, and diseases.
In this blog, let’s explore some of the PRO-INFLAMMATORY FOODS that we all MUST AVOID at any cost!
Here we go… the top 7 inflammatory foods you need to eliminate…
1. Sugar is on top of the list!
Sugar is one of the most inflammatory foods, and it’s found everywhere! It’s in chocolates, candy, baked goods, sodas, sugary drinks, pasta sauces, condiments, and more. And if you drink sweetened coffee and tea, it’s there as well! It’s hard to avoid sugar! Isn’t it?
You will be surprised to know that when you eat too much sugar, and if for any reason your body cannot process it quickly, it stays in our blood for too long and this is when your immune cells release pro-inflammatory messengers called cytokines which triggers inflammation!
2. Refined Carbohydrates
Refined carbs/ refined flour used in making most baked goods and other foods like white bread, bagels, crackers, flour tortillas, pasta, and breakfast cereals are all nutritionally bankrupt foods that are very low in nutrients and fiber. Therefore, your body breaks them down way too quickly leading to blood sugar spikes which in turn leads to a pro-inflammatory response, in other words inflammation!
Gluten is a protein found in a variety of grains, including wheat, rye, and barley. It’s found in bread, pizza, pasta, cereal, and many other foods. Gluten must be completely eliminated by individuals with Celiac disease or gluten allergy. What is more common, however, is gluten sensitivity; that may cause leaky gut leading to a low-level of chronic inflammation! Eliminating gluten may lower inflammation levels and improve your health.
4. Conventional Meat and Dairy
Any meat that is not organic and animals not being treated with the highest standards is full of hormones and not the best option. Hormones, antibiotics, and GMOs coming from grain-fed animals are highly inflammatory.
Conventional dairy is not organic and not obtained from pasture-raised animals. It’s also full of growth hormones, antibiotics, GMOs, and toxic pesticides making them highly inflammatory and disruptive to your gut microbiome.
5. Farm-Raised Fish and Seafood
Farm-raised fish are raised in crowded conditions, they are often given antibiotics, and fed a less-than-optimal diet. Farm-raised fish and seafood generally have more inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids, higher chemical exposure, and less protein than wild-caught counterparts. It’s important that you know your source and choose seafood that supports your health.
6. Trans Fats (Partially Hydrogenated Oils)
Oils that are industrially produced through a process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils in order to solidify them and make it look like butter are detrimental to health as they are trans fats! This is how margarine is made! They are highly inflammatory and may raise your risk of high cholesterol, heart disease, and stroke.
7. Processed foods with Food Additives and Preservatives
If you carefully look at the ingredients of some processed and packaged foods you will spot several food additives and preservatives. These ingredients are used to enhance flavor, texture, or color, or to extend shelf life. They have no nutritional value and are harmful to your health and definitely inflammatory in nature!
Monosodium glutamate (flavor enhancer), artificial coloring, such as Blue 1, Red 40, Yellow 5 and Yellow 6 have been associated with allergic reactions, inflammation, and some cancers. Sodium nitrate found in processed meats may lead to inflammation and cancer. Other food additives and preservatives you should avoid include high fructose corn syrup, guar gum, sodium benzoate, and any artificial flavoring, artificial sweeteners- aspartame! They all have neurotoxic effects on your brain and may lead to mood disorders and brain-related cancer.
Stay tuned for top 7 anti-inflammatory foods in my next blog!
Want to learn more on inflammation, what’s the difference between acute and chronic inflammation and what are its risk factors, causes and consequences. Powerful strategies on how to lower inflammation and reduce the risk of disease with diet and lifestyle instead of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), do check out our self-paced online course on Managing Pain with Diet and Lifestyle backed with the wisdom of Ayurveda!
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M.Sc., R.H.N., Certified Ayurvedic Lifestyle Consultant
The content provided in my blogs are for knowledge sharing purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.