Chronic inflammation can occur in certain diseases such as asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, type 2 diabetes, psoriasis and obesity. Research indicates that people with these conditions may have higher levels of inflammatory markers in their body. Although many factors are involved in inflammation, certain foods can increase or decrease symptoms. Here are the foods that can make symptoms worse. It also discusses inflammation and its effects on health. Finally, it looks at anti-inflammatory foods, including vegetables and fruits, and anti-inflammatory diets such as the Mediterranean diet.
- 1 Foods that cause inflammation
- 2 Anti-inflammatory foods and diets
- 3 The Mediterranean diet: the star of anti-inflammatory diets
Foods that cause inflammation
Many foods can make symptoms of inflammation worse. These include sugar, trans fats, refined carbohydrates, and red or processed meats.
A high-sugar diet may affect chronic inflammation by increasing inflammatory markers in the blood, according to a 2018 systematic review of several studies.
Also, excessive sugar consumption can increase inflammatory markers in children and lead to chronic inflammation. The study compared a 46% daily reduction in sugar with an 11% reduction in pro-inflammatory markers in 11 children. The researchers suggest that reducing the amount of sugary drinks consumed during childhood could lead to future health benefits. Another article from 2018 suggests that fructose could cause cellular inflammation. Excess fructose could also increase fat around the abdominal organs and increase the amount of fat in the liver.
Trans fats can increase inflammatory markers and the risk of chronic inflammation, which can lead to diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Trans fats may also increase low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels while lowering high-density lipoprotein (HDL), a combination that may increase the risk of heart disease.
Most trans fats are produced when manufacturers add hydrogen to vegetable oil. Trans fats can appear on labels as hydrogenated oil and are found in processed foods, baked goods, fried foods, and margarine.
Refined carbs have a high glycemic index, which can increase a type of protein called advanced glycation end product (AGE), which can increase inflammation.
Refined carbohydrates include white flour products such as:
– white bread and rolls
– white rice
– certain cereals
– Red and processed meats
Red and processed meats are high in saturated fat, which can cause inflammation of fatty tissue. Red and processed meat is linked to an increased inflammatory response in the body and may increase the risk of colon cancer.
What is inflammation?
There are two main types of inflammation, acute inflammation and chronic inflammation. Acute inflammation is the body’s rapid response to injury or infection, which increases blood flow to the affected area. White blood cells help rebuild damaged tissue, and acute inflammation usually stops when the injury heals. Chronic inflammation is a long-term condition that can develop gradually over months and years Trusted Source. Causes of chronic inflammation can include:
– prolonged infection
– exposure to toxic chemicals
– autoimmune disorders
– auto-inflammatory disorders
– repeated cases of acute inflammation
– oxidative stress in the body
Risk FactorsRisk factors for chronic inflammation are:
– advanced age
– low levels of testosterone and estrogen
– physical and emotional stress
– sleep disorders.
Processed foods, saturated fats, trans fats and refined sugar can increase the risk of the presence of pro-inflammatory molecules. This can be especially the case if a person is overweight or has diabetes.
How can inflammation affect health?
Inflammation can create DNA damage that can lead to cancer. Chronic inflammation is also linked to inflammatory bowel diseases, such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, which can increase the risk of colon cancer. Inflammation is often present in people with heart disease and strokes and may be linked to plaque formation in the arteries.
Other inflammatory conditions include:
– chronic kidney disease
– non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
– autoimmune diseases, such as lupus
– neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease
– arthritis and joint ailments
– allergies and asthma
– chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
Anti-inflammatory foods and diets
Inflammation is usually part of the body’s healing process and can also help fight disease. However, if a person has recurrent or persistent low-grade inflammation, certain foods and diets may help reduce symptoms.
While foods high in sugar or processed foods can make inflammation worse, a healthy diet based on fresh foods, such as vegetables and fruits, can help reduce symptoms.
Foods that may have anti-inflammatory effects include:
– Fruits and vegetables: Many fruits and vegetables, such as berries, apples, and cruciferous vegetables, are high in antioxidants and polyphenols that may have anti-inflammatory effects.
– Fibre: Increasing dietary fiber may help reduce certain inflammatory cytokines.
– Oily fish: Some oily fish contain omega-3 fatty acids, which can help reduce inflammatory protein levels in the body.
– Nuts: some nuts can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
– Turmeric: The curcumin in turmeric may help improve inflammatory health conditions.
The Mediterranean diet: the star of anti-inflammatory diets
In addition to a healthy diet, some people may find that specific diets have a beneficial effect on inflammation. The Mediterranean diet may have a strong anti-inflammatory effect, protecting the body against symptoms of chronic inflammatory diseases such as cancer, diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
This diet may also help ease symptoms and reduce the effects of inflammation on the cardiovascular system.
The Mediterranean diet includes:
– a high intake of plant foods, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and olive oil
– a moderate consumption of fish, seafood, yogurt, cheese and milk
– low consumption of red meat and processed meat
– low consumption of foods high in sugar