Popular American Foods Worsen Your Inflammation, Dietitian Says
The word “inflammation” and the phrase “inflammatory foods” are currently buzzing like bees all around us in the world of health and wellness. But what exactly does inflammation look like in your body, and how can certain foods help or hinder it?
Simply, not all inflammation is bad. In fact, it’s essential for our health and well-being, as it is a natural part of the body’s defense system that encompasses a critical cascade of reactions that fight disease and protect us from injury. Think about when you cut your leg and it turns red and swollen. This is a sign that your body is releasing an inflammatory response in this area, which alerts your immune system to begin the healing process.
RELATED: Anti-Inflammatory Diet 101: Your Guide to Reducing Chronic Inflammation
How Can Food Choices Cause Inflammation?
However, when it comes to diet and nutrition, certain lifestyle habits and diets can precipitate or prevent overall inflammation in our body. For example, you may be sensitive to certain foods, which can trigger signals that something foreign has entered your system. This type of inflammation can often be uncomfortable and even debilitating for some people and can manifest itself in different ways both inside and outside our body. Common symptoms range from redness, swelling, rashes, and pain to gastrointestinal upset, headaches, fatigue and more.
Our modern diet in this The country is full of packaged processed foods that are typically high in added sugar and devoid of nutrients. Pair a junky diet with a sedentary lifestyle and an abundance of stress and it’s no wonder that over time our bodies go into a chronic inflamed state which can cause a metabolic storm and make us sick.
With the help of fellow Registered Dietitian and Certified Personal Trainer Robin Barrie Kaiden MS, RD, CDN, of Robin Barrie Nutrition, here are five examples of popular foods in the American diet that are common culprits of initiation or failure. the worsening of inflammation in our body. .
Let’s get it straight: the American diet is screaming sugar. Research shows that a western diet high in sugar wreaks havoc in many systems in our body and manifests itself in insulin resistance and increased inflammatory markers. If you walk through any supermarket in this country, you’ll be bombarded with aisles with boxed and bagged cookies, crackers, crisps, colorful cereal, candy and loaves of bread that can last for months. on a shelf.
“Many snack foods use words like ‘organic’ and ‘natural’ and come in healthy packaging,” Kaiden adds. “A look at the ingredient list tells a different story.”
It makes sense: They’re convenient and they look healthy, so we keep buying them even though they’re actually secretly packed in added sugars.
This example falls into a category similar to sugar due to a diet high in processed foods, many of which consist of refined grains. The prevalence of refined grains in our diets may explain why so many people become intolerant of wheat or all gluten, a protein found in some grains. Studies show that a diet high in whole grains, as opposed to a diet high in refined grains, may reduce systemic inflammation.
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Fried foods are like a double whammy when it comes to promoting inflammation, as these foods are usually coated in white flour breading and then deep-fried. Studies show that fried foods can impact glucose management and cause systemic inflammation. There is also significant evidence that suggests that the chemical spoilage that occurs in foods when fried can worsen symptoms of inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease.
The alleged link between dairy products and inflammation still seems to be up for debate.
Dairy products can absolutely be a nutrient in a balanced diet if you enjoy it, but it is an allergen for some people and therefore can trigger an inflammatory response. Lactose intolerance is different from an allergy because it means you don’t have the enzyme lactase to digest dairy products. In an extensive review of the research on this topic, I found that the evidence is inconclusive on dairy products as a whole contributing to inflammation in the body. Keep in mind that this can also depend on the type of dairy you are consuming.
In general, there is a marked difference in the quality of some dairy products, so I recommend choosing organic yogurts and drinks with low or no added sugar.
“Not all oils are created equal,” Kaiden explains. “In fact, most of the products on the shelves, like bottled salad dressings, are made with safflower, sunflower, grape, vegetable or soybean oils.”
These oils have a higher omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acid ratio, and although research is mixed, some evidence suggests that omega-6 polyunsaturated linoleic acid promotes oxidative stress and chronic inflammation, especially when ‘it is consumed in the form of vegetable oils. Kaiden adds that vegetable oils “are primarily processed from their vegetable sources with chemicals, which makes them even more inflammatory.”
As always, look at the big picture when it comes to your lifestyle and diet. Most Significant Improvements in Inflammation and Overall Health will come by adjusting your habits instead of focusing on singular foods. If you think you have an intolerance to certain foods, consider talking to a doctor to help you determine if you are actually sensitive to certain foods.
To learn more, be sure to check out The Best Nut To Eat For Reducing Inflammation, According To A Dietitian. So, don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter.