What many people don’t realize is that one of the major causes of pain (muscle and back, knee, shoulder, elbow pain) and physical ailments (stomach and bowel issues, blood sugar imbalance, skin disorders, weight gain, hormone imbalance, arthritis, fibromyalgia, heart disease, allergies and more) is due to the chronic inflammation and imbalance that occurs from the foods that you eat along with unmanaged stress, toxins and lack of exercise.
At the same time, it is also important to know that inflammation is very important, protects us and has its place and purpose to help increase the nourishment and immune activity to an injured, damaged or infected area of the body as part of the normal healing process to help in repairing damaged tissue. Examples include when we cut our finger, sprain our ankle, get a bruise or sore throat we develop inflammation. The familiar signs of normal inflammation which includes heat, pain, redness, and swelling are the first signals that your immune system is being called into action.
The important distinction is however when the inflammatory response is not short term, and is out of control and persists for a long period of time (chronic) and serves no purpose, then it can damage the body and actually cause illness.
It is crucial to learn how specific foods can affect and cause chronic inflammation so by decreasing or avoiding these foods, you can enhance your health and vitality!
The medical community is starting to agree on the fact that chronic inflammation begins in your gut (gastrointestinal system) which is the biggest part of your immune system. Two-thirds of the body’s defenses is within the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
Here’s what you should focus on significantly decreasing or removing from your diet:
1. Sugar: One of the biggest causes of inflammation is ingesting sugar. High amounts of sugar in the diet result in an increase in insulin levels and AGEs, which are advanced glycation end products (called AGE’s) which can lead to high levels of inflammation. The sugar in your bloodstream attaches to proteins to form these harmful new AGE molecules. The more sugar in your diet, the more AGEs you develop. This also causes the skin to age faster leading to more fine lines and wrinkles.
2. Alcohol: Alcoholic beverages can damage your gut lining, gut flora and liver when consumed in excess. Overconsumption of alcohol can increase the body’s inflammatory response throughout your body. The stomach, liver and larynx are commonly inflamed in people who regularly consumer multiple alcoholic beverages everyday.
3. Grains (wheat, corn, soy): Grains, in general are inflammatory (this includes bread, pasta, cereals, corn chips, bagels). The high levels of gluten in current grains, GMO grains (from genetically modified seeds), phytic acid and lecithins in grains are causing health problems for many people. GMO grains have been linked with stomach and intestinal inflammation.
4. Refined vegetable oil: Canola, soybean, safflower, corn, and sunflower oils. Even though these oils are said to be “healthy” or free of trans-fat, they go through an intense refining process which damages the healthy fats and turns them into inflammatory causing oils. Most people get too much of these oils, which affects the healthy balance of omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acids. Since these oils are also fragile if they’re exposed to heat, air or light they go rancid quickly and create free radicals. These free radicals then create inflammation. Keep in mind that canola oil, soybean oil and corn oil are also currently genetically engineered.
5. Pasteurized dairy: The majority (at least 75%) of the world’s population has lactose intolerance which means they are not able to digest the milk sugar lactose leading to bloating, gas, cramps and/or diarrhea. One of the reasons is because the pasteurization process destroys the healthy bacteria and enzymes in raw milk which makes milk hard to digest.