Inflammation is a bodily response that, believe it or not, can be good or bad. It can help our body defend itself from infection and injury, and it's a good sign for us to tell if something isn't right. On the other hand, chronic inflammation can lead to weight gain and disease. Read below to find out the foods that are helping or hurting your inflammation levels, and remember- everything in moderation is alright! Even when it comes to inflammation
Foods to Avoid in Excess:
Although hard to resist, processed sugars trigger the release of inflammatory messengers called cytokines. Over-consumption of processed sugars can lead to blood sugar spikes and chronic inflammation. Easier said than done to avoid processed sugar, but I want to remind you that everything is OK in moderation!
Excess Processed Carbohydrates
Going along the same lines as processed sugar, processed carbs contain very low or even no fiber. The fiber of whole grains keep us satiated and keep our blood sugars at a steady level, however processed carbohydrates trigger cytokines and chronic inflammation through the same mechanisms as processed sugar. Again, these are ok in moderation!
Saturated and Trans Fats
Several studies show that saturated fats trigger adipose (fat tissue) inflammation, which worsens conditions dealing with inflammation (like arthritis) and is an indicator for heart disease. Trans fats are chemically altered fats that trigger systemic inflammation. Trans fats are predominant in fast food, however the FDA determined that partially hydrogenated oils (laden with trans fats) are no longer under the "Generally Recognized as Safe" certification and should be limited as much as possible.
Foods to Add that Fight Inflammation
Kale, spinach, lettuce, and any leafy green vegetable contains the anti-inflammatory nutrients that your body needs. Vitamins A, D, E, and K, as well as alpha-linolenic acid are all found in vegetables and known for their anti-inflammatory benefits in the body.
Berries are so good for you, especially when it comes to your body's inflammatory process. They're filled with antioxidants help prevent, delay, and repair some types of cell and tissue damage. Our bodies produce natural killer cells (NK cells), which help keep our immune system functioning properly. Eating lots of berries are known to help us produce more NK cells and have lower levels of certain inflammatory markers associated with heart disease.
Fatty fish, like salmon, are one of the best sources for omega-3 fatty acids. These omega-3s play a major role in how we process inflammation- they're known to help regulate pain related to inflammation, and help your body process and overcome the damage related to inflammation. The omega-3 fatty acid chains EPA and DHA, in fish, are known to reduce inflammation and the inflammatory markers that can lead to metabolic syndrome, heart disease, diabetes, and kidney disease.
Although inflammation is a necessary part of our bodies functioning, chronic inflammation can create a whole slew of health problems. I hope this was helpful in understanding how certain foods impact your body! Remember, moderation is a beautiful thing!
What's your favorite anti-inflammatory food?
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