Inflammation is a hot topic these days, and for good reason. Chronic inflammation has been linked to a whole host of health problems, including heart disease, arthritis, and even some forms of cancer. So it's no surprise that more and more people are looking for ways to reduce inflammation in their bodies. And one of the best ways to do that is by avoiding inflammatory foods.
But what exactly are inflammatory foods? Here's a quick breakdown:
• Refined sugars and flour: Foods made with white flour or refined sugar cause a spike in blood sugar levels, which leads to inflammation.
• Trans fats: These are found in processed foods like cookies, crackers, and chips, and can also be found in some types of cooking oil. Trans fats increase inflammation by raising "bad" LDL cholesterol levels and lowering "good" HDL cholesterol levels.
• Saturated fats: Saturated fats are found in animal products like red meat, poultry, and full-fat dairy products. They can also be found in some plant-based oils, such as coconut oil. Saturated fats promote inflammation by increasing LDL cholesterol levels.
• Omega-6 fatty acids: Omega-6 fatty acids are found in corn oil, soybean oil, and other vegetable oils. They're also found in processed foods like margarine, mayonnaise, and salad dressings. Too much omega-6 can lead to inflammation.
So now that we know what inflammatory foods are, let's talk about some specific examples of foods that you should avoid if you're trying to reduce inflammation in your body.
1. Sugar-sweetened beverages: Soda, energy drinks, sports drinks, and even fruit juices are loaded with sugar and empty calories. And as we mentioned before, sugar leads to inflammation. So ditch the sugary drinks and stick to water instead.
2. Refined carbs: White bread, pastries, white rice—these are all examples of refined carbs that cause spikes in blood sugar levels and promote inflammation. If you're looking for a healthier alternative, opt for whole grain breads or pastas instead.
3. Alcohol: We all know that alcohol can be damaging to our health if consumed in excess. But did you know that it's also a major contributor to inflammation? So if you're trying to reduce inflammation, it's best to limit your alcohol intake or avoid it altogether.
4. Unhealthy fats: Margarine, shortening, fried foods—these are all examples of unhealthy fats that can promote inflammation. Instead, cook with healthy oils like olive oil or avocado oil. And when it comes to fried foods, opt for baked or grilled instead.
If you're looking for ways to reduce inflammation in your body, one of the best things you can do is avoid inflammatory foods. These include refined sugars and flour, trans fats, saturated fats, omega-6 fatty acids, processed meats, refined carbs,, alcohol, and unhealthy fats. By avoiding these inflammatory foods, you'll be on your way to reducing chronic inflammation and promoting overall health.