Inflammation is a process by which specific white blood cells protect us from infection. Although some degree of inflammation is a normal response to the stresses associated with exercise, it is important to manage it. Increased inflammation can cause damage when the body responds as if normal tissues are infected or somehow abnormal. This increase in inflammatory substances can eventually cause wearing down of the cartilage and cells themselves.
The foods that you eat have a huge impact on increasing or decreasing inflammation in the body. Having a list of things that you are not allowed to eat is not necessarily fun, but in order to combat chronic inflammation and its negative effects it is important to do your best to avoid these ingredients. Here are 7 ingredients that increase inflammation in the body.
- Sugar – It can be one of the hardest ingredients to give up because most of us are addicted to the taste of our favorite desserts, chocolate bars, sodas or even fruit juices. However, processed sugar is a huge culprit of inflammation in the body. Be careful to read the ingredients of your favorite foods. Sugar goes by many names, including sucrose and fructose.
- Saturated Fats – Pizza, cheese, full-fat dairy products, pasta dishes, grain-based desserts and some meat products are some of the biggest sources of saturated fats in the average American diet. Studies have shown that saturated fats trigger fat tissue inflammation, which can be an indication of heart disease.
- Trans Fats – They are known to trigger systemic inflammation. Trans fats are found mostly in fast food, fried products, processed snack foods, frozen food products, cookies, donuts and stick margarines. Look for “partially hydrogenated oils,” on the ingredients labels to indicate trans fats and avoid these products.
- Refined Carbohydrates – White flour breads, rolls, crackers, white rice, white potatoes and many cereals are examples of refined carbohydrates. These are quite possibly worse than fats; they are high-glycemic index foods and stimulate inflammation.
- MSG – Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a flavor-enhancing food additive that is most commonly found in Asian food, soy sauce, fast foods, soup mixes, salad dressing and deli meats. MSG can affect liver health and trigger chronic inflammation.
- Aspartame – Get rid of those diet sodas and don’t fall for any sweets that say “sugar free.” Aspartame is an artificial sweetener with zero nutritional value, and is a neurotoxin that affects the brain. It is a foreign substance that your immune system will react to by attacking if you are sensitive to this chemical. When the immune system triggers an attack it will also trigger an inflammatory response.
Cutting out or even just cutting back on these inflammatory ingredients, while increasing your intake of whole foods, fruits, vegetables and getting more omega-3 can make a world of difference when it comes to increasing or decreasing inflammation in the body.