Many of us have high levels of inflammation in our bodies with elevated levels of white blood cells. Inflammation refers to your body’s process of fighting against things that harm it, such as infections, injuries and toxins in an attempt to heal itself. Diet is one of the top things that contribute to this. Others include environmental factors and chemicals to name a few. Chronic inflammation can lead to cancer, autoimmune diseases, obesity and many more. With the evolution of mankind came the evolution of the food we eat. Today I will discuss some of the top foods that cause inflammation and also suggest some foods that we can eat instead to fight inflammation.
Foods that cause inflammation
Whole milk and full fat dairy products are thought to cause inflammation because they contain saturated fats. These have been implicated in the development of acne and may cause bloating, stomach upset and diarrhea in people who are lactose intolerant.
Gluten is a group of proteins called prolamins and glutelins which are found in cereal grains, especially wheat and is responsible for the elastic texture of dough. It is common in foods such as bread, pizza, pasta and cereal. Many people are sensitive to gluten or have Celiac disease and have symptoms like bloating, gas, diarrhea, rashes. These people have an immune reaction triggered by gluten. They develop inflammation and damage in their intestinal tracts and other parts of their body. A gluten free diet is necessary to eliminate the inflammation.
MSG (Mono-sodium Glutamate)
This is a flavor enhancing food additive most commonly found in prepared Asian food and soy sauce, but it can also be added to fast foods, prepared soups and soup mixes, salad dressing and deli meats etc. While there is no clear link between MSG and inflammation, it is still a chemical that isn’t naturally digested by the human body.This can send certain people’s bodies into “attack” mode which is what causes inflammatory symptoms.
Processed Meats and Red Meats
Processed meats are high in trans fat and studies show that red meat intake is associated with higher levels of inflammatory markers like c-reactive proteins. C- reactive protein (CRP) is a protein made by the liver. CRP levels in the blood increases when there is a condition causing inflammation.
Other inflammatory causing foods include refined carbs, fried foods, sugar, soy. It is important to note that not everyone is affected by these foods.
What to eat instead?
One of the best ways to fight inflammation is with the foods we eat. An anti-inflammatory diet is the key. Some anti-inflammatory foods are:
green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale and lettuce
nuts like almonds and walnuts
fruits such as berries, citrus, melons, apples
fatty fish like salmon, sardines, tuna and mackerel.
Aim for foods that are high in antioxidants and polyphenols. According to experts, if you are looking for an eating plan that closely follows the tenets of anti-inflammatory eating, you should consider the Mediterranean diet, which is high in fruits, vegetables, nuts,whole grains, fish and fatty oils.