Your health relies a great deal on the things you put into it. Many of today’s chronic conditions are characterized by inflammation including celiac disease, asthma and autoimmune diseases — to name just a few. Whether you have been diagnosed by your health provider with such a chronic disease, or you simply want to try getting a handle on conditions such as allergies, you can do a great deal on your own.
To get rid of inflammation in your body, start with the food you are eating. The six main causes are sugar, refined flour, fried foods, Omega-6 fatty acids and saturated fats and artificial sweeteners.
There is a link between consuming added sugar and an increase in inflammation. About 13 percent of the average adults daily caloric intake is from added sugars. For example, a study of 29 healthy individuals indicated that just 40 grams of sugar consumed by drinking a can of soda a day resulted in an increase in inflammation markers. It’s important to note that sugars that occur naturally in foods, such as those in fruits, don’t cause the same spikes in inflammation. In spite of this, even if you use natural sweeteners, like honey or maple syrup, it’s possible to add too much and risk increasing inflammation.
Refined flour is a key ingredient of many processed foods and bakery items. Not only does it contain few nutrients, but products made with refined flour — such as cookies, cakes, crackers and the like — are also notoriously easy to overeat. White flour isn’t the only culprit here though. Steer clear of white potatoes prepared in any manner and white rice, as well as most cereals. These foods have a high value on the glycemic index so your body digests and absorbs them quickly. This can lead to it becoming overwhelmed with the onslaught of carbohydrates that can then raise your blood sugar levels because your body cannot process them fast enough. The end result is an increase in inflammation.
Vegetable oils, like safflower and corn, have omega-6 fatty acids that can throw the balance of omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids out of balance. Omega-3 fatty acids are broken down more slowly by your body so there isn’t a sudden influx that it has to cope with. By frying foods in vegetable oils, it means that your body is getting more omega-6 fatty acids than it can process because they are broken down much more quickly. Not only does this mean that these kinds of foods don’t fill you up as long, but it also likely means that you’ll have to contend with greater inflammation as a result.
While your body needs some omega-6 fatty acids in order to function, if you’re like most Americans, then you probably get too much. The omega-6 fatty acids found in saturated fats are broken down by your body before being converted into inflammatory proteins. This process happens so quickly that your body isn’t able to metabolize them as effectively as it can omega-3 fatty acids which break down more slowly.
If you’re watching your weight, you might reach for your favorite sugary drink or snack that’s flavored with artificial sweetener and think you’re doing your body a favor. Like many processed foods, though, there is a hidden danger that you might not realize you’re exposing yourself to if you rely on these additives to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Because they are artificial, your body isn’t able to process sweeteners like aspartame very well. When you consume products with artificial sweeteners, as well as additives, like monosodium glutamate, they could trigger an immune response that your body engages when it’s faced with something that isn’t natural. This often results in inflammation within the body.
Red meat has continued to get bad press in recent years — and for good reason. It has plenty of saturated fat which can cause and increase inflammation if you consume more than just a tiny amount a day. Even worse is that the same holds true for those processed meats, like hot dogs and deli meats, that you might reach for to fix yourself a quick lunch.
Becoming aware of what you are putting into your body is just one aspect of controlling inflammation. Making sure that you get enough sleep, exercise regularly and keep your stress levels to a minimum are all factors that can help. Choosing the foods and beverages that don’t contain any of the above can help you reduce the inflammation inside your body, as well as the pain and discomfort that’s all too often associated with it.