What does the term inflammation mean? Is it helpful for your body or not? What are anti-inflammatory foods? What foods cause inflammation? Multiple questions arise from one single terminology that plays a big role in your developing immunity. Inflammation is a mechanism in your immune system, which is your body’s way of fighting infectious pathogens and diseases. In other words, inflammation is indicative of your body’s defense mechanism against any form of cellular damage.
When a pathogen (antigen) attacks your body cells, it needs healing as its defense. Inflammation contributes to the healing of damaged body cells with white blood cells and antibody production. If inflammation plays a positive part in your body, why do you need to avoid foods that aggravate inflammation?
The simple answer is anything in excess is never good. Inflammatory mechanisms are a part of your body’s defense mechanism, but low-grade inflammation is dangerous. Low-grade inflammation refers to chronic inflammation, suggestive of a steady and persistent inflammation rate that fails to halt. Chronic inflammation can turn into ugly health complications related to heart disorders, arthritis, diabetes, and stroke in the long run.
To learn about what foods cause inflammation, first carefully understand the biology behind inflammatory reactions.
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What triggers inflammation?
When your body encounters any foreign particle (stimuli), it immediately responds to the outside stimulus. Inflammation is the first sign of response that helps your immune system to identify foreign pathogens. According to the type of foreign body, your immune system signals specific antibodies against its destruction.
Intermittent or acute inflammation can come out to be protective in your defense, but what about chronic inflammation? Is it safe for your system, but does that come with unnecessary complexities? Chronic inflammation finds its link with various forms of severe illnesses that need critical care as treatment.
If you are looking forward to battling high levels of inflammation, take a quick peek into your kitchen. Judge the foods that you eat every day. Are they safe for you? Do they have an anti-inflammatory effect? Out of all the items in your regular diet, what foods cause inflammation and associated health risks? Your lifestyle choices and daily diet chart say a lot about whether you can reduce chronic inflammation with ease or not.
When you make a grocery list, choose foods with anti-inflammatory effects such as seeds, nuts, veggies, fruits, fatty fish, and legumes.
How is added sugar dangerous?
The health value of added sugars takes a hike every time the quantity increases in your daily diet. The average size of intake of added sugar across the world is 17 teaspoons each day. If the consumption rate can take a reduction by 1/4th (nearly 4-5 teaspoons) a day, you can avoid chronic inflammation.
It is challenging to avoid added sugar from the diet, as manufacturers overuse it in almost every packaged food. To improve the taste and quality of canned food items, manufacturers add high doses of added sugar. If you can avoid the consumption of packaged foods, you can significantly control chronic inflammation. Mostly candies, cookies, and certain cereals contain added sugar. Some of the undercover ‘sugary villains’ include white bread, granola bars, crackers, and salad dressings.
Why do added sugars influence inflammation?
As you digest food, the sugar in it enters your bloodstream. The insulin hormone helps carry the ingested sugar to various body cells to convert glucose into energy for work. When excess sugar is present in your system, insulin facilitates storing that sugar into fat or adipose tissues.
Fat cells increase in size when receiving excess sugar, which is the reason behind sudden weight gain. Such a phenomenon can also result in insulin tolerance by your body cells, along with other metabolic imbalances.
How to reduce intake of added sugar?
To reduce the risks associated with added sugar consumption, you need to do two basic things. The most crucial step to do first is to go through the ingredient list on any food label you buy. Check if you find sugar or syrup-kind of items among the first three names in the ingredient list. If so, be assured that being in the top three ingredients calls for an overload of sugar.
The second vital step to take is by looking at the nutritional facts about the food item. Always buy foods that have sugar content of not more than 4 grams per serving. Most generic foods will have a separate line noted as added sugar in the nutritious fact column.
Be careful about differentiating between natural and added sugar. Natural sugars are the ones pre-existing in fruits and various dairy items. Added sugars are tasted enhancers, posing an extra ingredient to give a unique flavor to your food. Moreover, there is no nutritional value associated with added sugar.
Natural sugar is full of dietary fiber and lean proteins to help build body mass and muscle strength. They promote slower and easy digestion, unlike added sugar, which typically plays a role in raising your blood glucose level.
How do trans-fat and processed meat affect inflammation?
Trans fat is a product of hydrogenation. Food manufacturers carry out hydrogenation, where they add hydrogen molecules to fats to increase their consistency, shelf life, and texture. There is no particular threshold for safe consumption of trans fat. Dieticians usually recommend that you try to take less than 1 g of trans fat every day.
Trans fat significantly raises low-density lipoprotein levels (bad cholesterol) and reduces high-density lipoprotein (good cholesterol) levels. Both the actions are responsible for messing up your inflammatory, immunological mechanism. Some of the serious reasons of increased LDL levels include cardiac arrest, type 2 diabetes, and stroke.
Processed meat and red meat are hazardous inflammatory foods. Thus, on questioning what foods cause inflammation, processed meats would typically top the list. Red meat and processed meat are very rich in saturated fats (unhealthy fats), a killer cause of inflammation. So, avoid foods like bacon, pepperoni, salami, and similar kinds to avoid inflammation.