Inflammation can contribute to numerous health complications. When inflammation is present in the body, it means that the immune system is wrongly attacking healthy tissue. Over time, the presence of inflammation in the body can increase your risk of chronic disease, including heart disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and even cancer.
Your diet plays a large role in the development of inflammation. Certain foods can contribute to inflammation, while others can prevent it. Here, we’ll discuss five main foods that cause inflammation.
Artificial Trans Fat
While some types of fat can be considered healthy in moderate amounts, artificial trans fats have a negative effect on the body. Trans fats are commonly called partially hydrogenated oils on ingredient lists, and they’re created through the hydrogenation process to enhance shelf life.
Trans fats lower levels of good cholesterol (HDL) and increase levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) in the body. This can both increase inflammation in the body and raise your risk of disease.
Foods with high amounts of added sugars, such as candy, cakes, cookies, soda, some cereals, can trigger your body’s inflammatory response. This is because excess sugar in the body triggers free fatty acid production in the liver. Digestion of these fatty acids can stimulate inflammation.
In refined carbohydrates, most of the fiber has been taken out. Given that fiber regulates blood sugar levels by slowing down the body’s absorption of sugar in foods, the lack of fiber in refined carbohydrates can lead to inflammation.
When you eat foods that are high in refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, white rice, crackers, and French fries, the sugars in the food will reach your bloodstream quickly. This elevates blood sugar levels, again contributing to inflammation in the body.
Red Meat and Processed Meat
Red meat and processed meats, such as bacon, pepperoni, and hot dogs, contain high amounts of saturated fat. Consuming these types of meat regularly can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer. All of these diseases are closely linked to inflammation.
Omega-6 Fatty Acids
Omega-6 fatty acids are used in the body for energy production. These fatty acids don’t occur naturally in the body and are taken from the food that you consume. While a healthy balance of omega-6 fatty acids is essential for growth and development, an excess of omega-6s triggers inflammation.
By steering clear of these inflammatory foods, you can protect your body against sickness and disease. Additionally, eliminating these foods from your diet may ease symptoms of conditions that are exacerbated by inflammation.
For an integrative treatment approach to inflammation and many other health concerns, visit The Center for Natural & Integrative Medicine.