6 Foods that cause Inflammation in the Body<< Go Back
Inflammation is the body's defense mechanism; the immune system recognizes pathogens, irritants, and damaged cells and initiates the healing process. So, when an irritant or something harmful effects any body part, there is a biological response as an attempt to get rid of it. While the symptoms of inflammation can be quite uncomfortable, they are signs that the body is working on healing itself. And yes, there are foods that cause inflammation too.
What is inflammation?
It is a process in which the white blood cells of the body and the substances they produce work to protect us from unknown organisms like viruses and bacteria. Inflammation can be beneficial for us when we get an injury and need protection.
For example, it can be beneficial for when you get a knee injury, and the tissues there require protection and care. On the other hand, inflammation can last for longer than is required, leading to increased harm.
Moreover, in some cases such as arthritis, the immune system starts an inflammatory response despite there being no foreign organisms. As a result, the immune system can damage the body's tissues and lead to more severe problems.
What causes inflammation?
According to medical research, various physical reactions triggered by the body's immune system as a response to an infection or physical injury can lead to inflammation. While inflammation isn't a sure sign of an infection, however, an infection can result in inflammation. Moreover, as mentioned, there are certain foods that cause inflammation too.
Inflammation is primarily divided into two kinds; acute inflammation and chronic inflammation.
Acute inflammation is caused by tissue injury or harmful bacteria. It has a rapid onset and only lasts for a few days.
On the other hand, chronic inflammation occurs when the body fails to break down pathogens including foreign bodies that persist in the system and some kinds of viruses. Chronic inflammation can also occur because of overactive immune responses, an autoimmune disorder, or a long exposure to low amounts of an irritant like an industrial chemical. It has a slow onset and can last for a number of years.
6 Foods that cause inflammation
According to research, the food we eat contributes significantly to chronic inflammation. Eating them daily results in keeping the immune system on high alert. As a result, with time, the constant inflammatory response causes digestive problems, skin issues, drowsiness, weight gain, as well as severe illnesses including obesity, cancer, and diabetes.
We commonly take sugar in the form of coffee, baked goods, soda, candy, and snack bars. When we eat food that causes too much sugar to enter the body in the form of glucose, the body fails to process the extra glucose quickly. As a result, pro-inflammatory messengers called the cytokines in the body increase. Moreover, sugar is also known for suppressing the ability of the white blood cells to kill germs. Consequently, the immune system becomes weak and we become more susceptible to infections.
Vegetable oil and processed foods
Bread, mayonnaise, potato chips, salad dressings, crackers, and barbecue sauce are all part of our daily diet. However, vegetable oils are high in omega-6 which is an inflammatory fat and is low in omega-3, the anti-inflammatory fat.
Plus, both processed foods, as well as items fried in vegetable oils, are rich in inflammatory AGEs â€“ advanced glycation end products. AGEs are formed when food is pasteurized, dried, grilled, smoked, cooked, or fried at high temperatures.
Refined flour is used for making bagels, breakfast cereals, flour tortillas, pasta, pizza, white bread, and pretzels, etc. Since refined wheat no longer contains nutrients and slow-digesting fiber, the body breaks down these foods made of flour quite quickly. The quicker the body digests glucose-rich foods, the less time it takes for the levels of blood sugar to rise. Consequently, insulin which is often linked to a pro-inflammatory response drastically increases.
Dairy products that we commonly consume include yogurt, milk, butter, and soft cheeses. It is a known fact that yogurt in moderate amounts can lower overall inflammation levels since it contains gut-healing probiotics. However, dairy also contains saturated fats that are responsible for inducing inflammation. Furthermore, there are studies that link a disruption in gut microbiome with full-fat dairy. These studies state that dairy products reduce levels of the good bacteria which are vital for reducing inflammation.
Foods containing trans-fat include baked items such as muffins, cookies, and doughnuts, margarine, frosting, frozen pizza, and non-dairy creamers. Trans-fats are partially hydrogenated, manmade oils that are not found in foods naturally. So, the body doesn't have the right mechanism to break down such oils which means that it treats trans-fat foods as foreign objects. Consequently, an inflammatory response is initiated by the body.
Alcohol in excess can be any alcohol including liquor, wine, and beer. Some studies suggest that one drink per day can reduce the levels of CRP, an inflammatory biomarker. However, excess alcohol does the exact opposite. Breaking down alcohol for digestion produces toxic by-products which damage liver cells, weaken the immune system, and promote inflammation.
Numerous medicines can be used for reducing inflammation. These include:
Deflazacort is a kind of medicine which is called corticosteroid. These are hormones that the body naturally produces and is responsible for controlling inflammatory responses. It is a synthetic corticosteroid that prevents the cells from preventing the release of chemicals that are essential to the immune system. As a result, inflammation is reduced.
Celebrex is an anti-inflammatory medicine used for relieving some of the symptoms of arthritis-like joint pain, stiffness, swelling, and inflammation. It works by reducing the hormones that lead to inflammation.
Entocort is classified as a glucocorticosteroid that is used for treating mild to moderate Crohn's disease, in which the bowel is inflamed. It works by toning down the inflammation in the colon and intestine.
Singulair is a leukotriene inhibitor used for preventing symptoms and attacks of asthma. This medicine works by fighting the substances that cause mucous secretion, fluid retention, and inflammation in the lungs.
Wrapping it up
As mentioned, while inflammation is the body's natural protective response, higher levels of inflammation are dangerous. So, be aware of the foods that cause inflammation as well as the proper ways to treat such a condition.
You can also learn more about foods that reduce inflammation on one of our past blog posts.
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