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What Foods Cause Inflammation?

Depending on the situation, bodily inflammation can either be harmful or helpful. While moderate inflammation can benefit your health by protecting you when you’re sick or injured, chronic inflammation can actually increase your risk for certain diseases. Continue reading for five foods that are linked to chronic inflammation.

1. Refined Carbs

Carbs–the infamous ‘c’ word. Believe it or not, not all carbohydrates are bad. Since the beginning of time, people have ingested fruits, grasses, and roots–all of which are unprocessed, fiber-rich carbs. Carbs with a high fiber content are safe to consume. It’s the refined carbs that you really need to worry about. 

Refined carbohydrates have the majority of their fiber extracted, which is a key element in maintaining a healthy blood sugar, feeding the good bacteria in your gut, and promoting fullness. These bad carbs can be found in bread, certain cereals, soft drinks, candy, processed foods containing flour or sugar, pasta, cookies, pastries, and cakes.

2. Sugar

Sugar–the devil in disguise. High-fructose corn syrup and sucrose (table sugar) are the two most commonly ingested forms of sugar. Not only does sugar increase inflammation, but it can also create insulin resistance and produce excessive fructose, which is ultimately linked to diabetes, cancer, fatty liver disease, chronic kidney disease, and obesity. Sugary foods to avoid include doughnuts, soft drinks, candy, pastries, specific cereals, cakes, and cookies.

3. Processed Meat

Diabetes, colon and stomach cancer, and heart disease can all be associated with processed meat consumption. Colon cancer is strongly associated with processed meat, which is thought to be because of the inflammatory response created upon digestion. Ham, beef jerky, sausage, smoked meat, and bacon are some examples of processed meat. What makes them so dangerous is the high levels of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) that they contain. AGEs are known to cause chronic inflammation, and are formed when foods like meat are cooked using high temperatures.

4. Seed and Vegetable Oils

The extremely high omega-6 fatty acid content in certain vegetable oils, like soybean oil, can cause inflammation. While some omega-6 fats are essential, modern diets include an excessive amount that is very harmful. These oils are typically used for cooking, and are one of the key ingredients in processed foods.

5. Artificial Trans Fats

One of the unhealthiest fats you can consume is probably artificial trans fats. These fats are usually listed as “partially hydrogenated” oils, and are formed when hydrogen is added to liquid unsaturated fats in order to make them more solid. Artificial trans fats are used to extend shelf life, and are added to processed foods as well as margarines. 

These trans fats are not to be confused with the naturally occurring trans fats in meat and dairy products. Only artificial trans fats are the ones linked to chronic inflammation, and can be found in fried fast foods, vegetable shortening, certain pastries, some microwavable popcorn, specific margarines, and packaged cookies and cakes.

All in all, chronic inflammation can be deadly, but can also be prevented by monitoring what you eat. By limiting your intake of foods that trigger it, you will not only feel better in the moment, but decrease your risk of disease in the long run as well. At Independence Wellness & Pulse Center, we can help you reduce pain and inflammation by identifying problem areas in your diet, providing continuous nutritional guidance, and optimizing your nutrition to maximize your health. Contact us today to request an appointment!

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