Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Fully Loaded Inflammatory Foods

Whenever the word inflammation is mentioned the first thing that comes to mind is arthritis and joint pain. While this may be common, there are other types that we may not see but affect us every day, that being gut inflammation and arterial inflammation.

There are certain foods we may consume on a regular or semi-regular basis that cause inflammation in the body. The four most commonly consumed inflammatory foods are: sugar, refined carbohydrates/starches, fried foods, and trans fats. We’ll see how each one affects the body causing inflammation.

Sugar
It is widely accepted that consuming sugar increases inflammation in the body, which may cause a higher risk of heart disease, cancer, and other health problems such as high cholesterol, high blood sugar, and high blood pressure.

Processed sugar that is found in many foods today has no nutritional value. Cane sugar for instance, has all of it’s nutrients removed (i.e. molasses) and all that is left is sucrose (sugar). In fact one sugary carbonated beverage can suppress the immune system for approximately four hours.

Consuming sugar greatly increases oxidative stress and inflammation. Eating sugar can cause gut permeability which means undigested food as well as bad bacteria can move out of the gut (e.g. leaky gut syndrome) causing inflammation. Sugar can also cause inflammation in the arteries leading to high cholesterol, more plaque formation, leading to higher risk of heart disease.

Refined Carbohydrates & Starches
Refined and processed carbohydrates derived from wheat, such as bread, pasta, cookies, crackers–basically anything that comes pre-packaged–can increase inflammation in the body. Starchy vegetables such as potatoes and corn also fit into the mix.

It is now believed that refined carbs and starches, along with sugar, are the driving force in chronic disease. These high-glycemic foods fuel the production of Advanced Glycation End (AGE). Glycation occurs when sugar comes in contact with [healthy] proteins and fats causing age-related chronic illness, cell damage, and inflammation.

Gluten–the protein in wheat, rye, oats, barley, and spelt–may also be an inflammatory trigger, not only to people with a gluten intolerance but overall. Gluten-containing foods, especially wheat, contribute to the production of histamine in the body leading to allergy symptoms.

Fried Foods
We consume different amounts of omega fatty acids every day. But largely we consume far more omega-6 which is pro-inflammatory, than we do omega-3 which is anti-inflammatory. High amounts of omega-6 is consumed in fried foods due to the types of oils food companies use, which is high in polyunsaturated fats (e.g. seed oils, peanut oil, vegetable oil).

Polyunsaturated fats, rich in pro-inflammatory omega-6, become unstable if used again and again, which often occurs in deep frying methods. This can lead to inflammation in the body, especially in the arteries and gut. The more an oil is used in frying exponentially increases the risk of disease.

Fried foods are often battered with refined flour adding to the inflammation. If a sauce that contains sugar is included with the fried foods, it escalates the amount of inflammation in the body.

Trans Fats
At one time it was believed that saturated fats are detrimental to your health. That is not the case. In fact some health care professionals, like Dr. Mark Hyman, believe that saturated fats shows to be no harm in the absence of refined carbs and sugar, and in the presence of enough omega-3.

The real culprit to inflammation in the arteries, oxidative damage, and high cholesterol is really trans fatty acids, or trans fats. Trans fats and fried foods both cause a great deal of damage to our heart as well as our gut.

Food containing a trans fat may say on the package zero grams of trans fat but still contain a minute amount using the phrase “partially-hydrogenated oil” which is a trans fat. Here is a list of the Top 10 foods that contain trans fats.

Reducing, or better yet, eliminating sugar, refined carbs/starches, fried foods, and trans fats all from your diet is a sizable first step to reducing inflammation and cell damage. While many of these foods may taste good, the big question is: is my health worth consuming these foods?

by John Connor, CNC

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