More and more we are hearing that inflammation is the root of disease, but what is inflammation & how can we avoid it?
There are two types of inflammation. Acute, which is normal and occurs with injury lasting minutes to days, and chronic, the type that may lead to disease. Chronic inflammation lasts weeks to years and is caused by environmental toxins, viral infections, poor nutrition, and stress leading the body to be incapable of maintaining homeostatic status. The development of a specific disease depends on the site of inflammatory response. For instance, disruption of intestinal enterocytes may lead to irritable bowel disease, or damage to the arterial lining may lead to heart disease. Chronic fatigue syndrome, celiac disease, arthritis, gout, acne, migraines, and depression are all disease states with links to chronic inflammation.
What foods cause inflammation? No single serving of any food will cause chronic inflammation, however, if your diet consists of these 3 foods on a regular basis, you may want to alter eating habits slightly.
- Did you know that post-menopausal women are 3 times more likely to develop inflammatory diseases like digestive, respiratory, nervous, and endocrine system disorders when they consume a diet high in carbohydrates and low in fiber (i.e. sugar)? Sugar is an equal opportunity offender, so you do not need to be a post-menopausal woman to receive inflammatory responses. The AHA recommends consuming no more than 6 tsp. of sugar a day for women, and 9 tsp. for men. That’s 25 grams of sugar a day- less than what you will find in a regular soda.
- High fat foods. Foods high in saturated fats and trans fatty acids like full fat dairy products, fried foods, and high fat meats have been found to release pro-inflammatory markers in the arterial walls. These markers are associated with atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and IBD (irritable bowel disease).
- Night Shade Plants. This third group of foods only causes inflammation in some people. A chemical alkaloid called solanine found in potatoes, tomatoes, and eggplants have anecdotally caused inflammation and pain. No formal research at this time has found conclusive evidence of this, however, if you feel you may be sensitive to solanine, cut it out for a few weeks to see if symptoms improve.