If you suffer from chronic pain and discomfort, your body is in an inflammatory state. Unfortunately, inflammation is like a double-edged sword. It’s your body’s way of healing cell damage. But in overdrive, it becomes dangerous and can lead to conditions such as arthritis, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Here are five inflammation inducing foods you should skip.
- Saturated Fats – Several studies have shown that saturated fats trigger adipose (fat tissue) inflammation, which is not only an indicator for heart disease but it also worsens pain inflammation. Pizza and cheese are the biggest sources of saturated fats in the average American diet, according to the National Cancer Institute. Other culprits include meat products (especially red meat), full-fat dairy products, pasta dishes and grain-based desserts.
- Added Sugars – The average American consumes roughly 17 teaspoons of added sugar per day. We should be averaging six teaspoons or less per day. It has become increasingly difficult to avoid added sugars because food manufacturers add large doses to improve the flavor of many packaged foods. But research shows that consuming too much added sugar leads to chronic inflammation. Be careful of foods that look healthy, but can have large amounts of added sugar, such as granola bars.
- Omega 6 Fatty Acids – Omega 6 fatty acids are an essential fatty acid that the body needs for normal growth and development. However, you need a healthy balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. Excess consumption of omega-6s can trigger the body to produce pro-inflammatory chemicals. These fatty acids are found in oils such corn, safflower, sunflower, grapeseed, soy, peanut, and vegetable; mayonnaise; and many salad dressings.
- Refined Carbohydrates – White flour products (breads, rolls, crackers) white rice, white potatoes (instant mashed potatoes, or french fries) and many cereals are refined carbohydrates. According to Scientific American, processed carbohydrates may trump fats as the main driver of escalating rates of obesity and other chronic conditions, such as arthritis. These high-glycemic index foods fuel the production of advanced glycation end (AGE) products that stimulate inflammation.
- Gluten and Casein – People who have joint pain and are sensitive to gluten, found in wheat, barley and rye, or casein, found in dairy products, may find relief by avoiding them. And those diagnosed with celiac disease, in which gluten sets off an autoimmune response that damages the small intestine and sometimes causes joint pain may find relief when they adopt a gluten-free diet. There may be an overlap in which some people with arthritis also have gluten sensitivity or also have celiac disease.
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