Inflammation is a natural, protective part of the body’s immune response that alerts you to a potentially-harmful invader or process. However, it only acts as a beneficial response in low doses. When you constantly put your immune system in a state of attack, you build up levels of pro-inflammatory biomarkers and the resulting state of chronic inflammation—ultimately causing weight gain, drowsiness, skin problems, digestive issues, and a host of diseases, from diabetes to obesity to cancer.
Effects of Chronic Inflammation
Studies have linked chronic low-grade inflammation to heart disease. Chronic early inflammation has been linked to dementia in older adults. Some studies suggest inflammation may cause common age-related diseases that lead to disability in older adults. Chronic inflammation can lead to chronic pain. Many autoimmune diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease are also linked to inflammation.
It’s not just stress, lack of sleep, or injury that causes inflammation. Research has proven that a significant contributor to chronic inflammation comes from what we eat. There are foods that exaggerate inflammation because they themselves are irritants. Here are some of the worst offenders you might want to avoid.
Common culprits: Soda, snack bars, candy, baked sweets, coffee drinks,etc.
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-Processed, packaged, or prepared foods. And, yes, fast food is atop the list of inflammatory foods thanks to the harmful oils, sugar and artificial sweeteners, food additives, and a whole host of nasty ingredients.
-Hydrogenated and trans fats found in margarine, shortening, lard or products made with them. That includes baked goods, cookies, pies, buns.
-Fried foods (French fries, onion rings, potato chips, nachos, hamburgers, etc.).
-Red and Processed Meat: Red meat contains a molecule that humans don’t naturally produce called Neu5GC. Once you ingest this compound, your body develops antibodies which may trigger constant inflammatory responses. Reduce red meat consumption and replace with poultry, fish and learn cuts of red meat, once a week at most.
-White sugar and sweets, including soft drinks and sweetened juices. Newer research is showing that sugar is one of the most addictive substances you can use. It’s also highly inflammatory.
-Food additives: colors, flavor enhancers, stabilizers, preservatives, etc.
-Dairy products (yogurt, ice cream, cottage cheese, butter, cheese, etc.). Dairy products are packed with hormones, antibiotics, and other harmful ingredients so avoid them as much as possible.
-Alcohol. High in sugar and a burden to the liver. It is best eliminated or used in moderation.
If your weight-loss efforts have plateaued before you’ve reached your body goals, make sure you’ve kicked these pesky foods to the curb.