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6 Foods That Cause Inflammation

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The inflammation it can be good or bad depending on the situation. For one, it’s your body’s natural way to protect itself when it’s injured or sick. It can help your body fend off diseases and stimulate healing.

On the other hand, chronic and sustained inflammation is related to a increased risk of disease such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity. Interestingly, the foods you eat can significantly affect inflammation in your body.

6 Foods That Can Cause Inflammation

1. Vegetable and seed oils

During the twentieth century, the consumption of vegetable oils increased by 130% in the United States. Some scientists believe that certain vegetable oils, such as soybean oil, promote inflammation due to their very high content of omega-6 fatty acids.

Although some omega-6 fats in the diet are necessary, the typical Western diet provides much more than people need. In fact, health professionals recommend eating more omega-3-rich foods, such as fatty fish, to improve the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 and get the anti-inflammatory benefits of omega-3s.

In one study, rats fed a diet with an omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of 20:1 had much higher levels of inflammatory markers than those fed diets with ratios of 1:1 or 5:1.

However, evidence that a high intake of omega-6 fatty acids increases inflammation in humans is currently limited. Controlled studies show that linoleic acid, the most common dietary omega-6 acid, does not affect inflammatory markers.

Therefore, more research is needed before conclusions can be drawn. Vegetable and seed oils are used as cooking oils and are an important ingredient in many processed foods.

2. Processed meat

The consumption of processed meat is associated with a increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stomach and colon cancer. Common types of processed meat include sausages, bacon, ham, smoked meat, and jerky.

Processed meat contains more advanced glycation end products than most other meats. AGEs are formed by cooking meats and some other foods at high temperatures. Known to cause inflammation

Of all diseases related to the consumption of processed meat, its association with colon cancer is the strongest. Although many factors contribute to colon cancer, one mechanism is thought to be the inflammatory response of colon cells to processed meat.

Foods that cause inflammation

3. Sugar and corn syrup high in fructose

Table sugar (sucrose) and high-fructose corn syrup are the two main types of added sugar in the Western diet. Sugar has 50% glucose and 50% fructose , while high-fructose corn syrup is about 45% glucose and 55% fructose.

One of the reasons added sugars are harmful is that they can increase inflammation, which can cause disease. In one study, mice fed diets high in sucrose developed breast cancer that spread to their lungs, in part due to the inflammatory response to sugar.

In another study, the anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3 fatty acids were affected in mice fed a high-sugar diet. What’s more, in a randomized clinical trial in which people drank regular sodas, diet sodas, milk or water, only those in the regular soda group had increased uric acid levels, which drives inflammation and insulin resistance.

Sugar can also be harmful because provides excessive amounts of fructose. While small amounts of fructose in fruits and vegetables are fine, consuming large amounts of added sugars is a bad idea .

Eating a lot of fructose has been linked to obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes, fatty liver disease, cancer and chronic kidney disease. In addition, researchers have observed that fructose causes inflammation within the endothelial cells that line blood vessels, which is a risk factor for heart disease.

High fructose intake has also been shown to be increases several inflammatory markers in mice and humans. Foods high in added sugar include candy, chocolate, soda, cakes, cookies, donuts, candy cakes, and certain cereals.

4. Artificial trans fats

The Artificial trans fats are probably the least healthy fats you can eat. They are created by adding hydrogen to unsaturated fats, which are liquid, to give them the stability of a more solid fat.

On ingredient labels, trans fats are often listed as partially hydrogenated oils. Most margarines contain trans fats and are often added to processed foods to prolong shelf life.

Unlike the natural trans fats found in dairy and meat, artificial trans fats have been shown to cause inflammation and increase the risk of disease.

In addition to reducing the HDL cholesterol (well), trans fats can affect the function of the endothelial cells that line the arteries, which is a risk factor for heart disease. Consumption of artificial trans fats is linked to high levels of inflammatory markers, such as C-reactive protein (CRP).

In fact, in one study, CRP levels were 78% higher among women who reported the highest trans fat intake. In a randomized controlled trial that included overweight older women, hydrogenated soybean oil increased inflammation significantly more than palm and sunflower oils.

Studies in healthy men and men with elevated cholesterol levels have revealed similar increases in inflammatory markers in response to trans fats. Foods high in trans fats include potato chips and other fried fast foods, some varieties of microwave popcorn, certain margarines and vegetable butters, packaged cakes and cookies, some cakes, and all processed foods that include partially hydrogenated vegetable oil on the label.

5. Refined carbohydrates

Carbohydrates get a bad rap. However, the truth is that not all carbohydrates are problematic. Ancient humans consumed unprocessed carbohydrates high in fiber for millennia in the form of herbs, roots, and fruits.

However, eating refined carbohydrates can lead to inflammation. Refined carbohydrates have had most of their fiber removed. Fiber promotes fullness, improves blood sugar control, and feeds the beneficial bacteria in your gut.

Researchers suggest that refined carbohydrates in the modern diet may stimulate the growth of inflammatory bowel bacteria which can increase your risk of obesity and inflammatory bowel disease. Refined carbohydrates have a higher glycemic index (GI) than unprocessed ones. Foods with high GI raise blood sugar more quickly than foods with low GI.

In one study, older adults who reported the highest intake of high-GI foods had 2.9 times more likely to die from an inflammatory disease such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

In a controlled study, young, healthy men who ate 50 grams of refined carbohydrates in the form of white bread experienced higher blood sugar levels and increases in levels of a particular inflammatory marker.

Refined carbohydrates are found in sweets, bread, pasta, cakes, some cereals, cookies, cakes, sugary soft drinks and all processed foods containing added sugar or flour.

6. Alcohol abuse

It has been shown that the moderate alcohol consumption provides some health benefits. However, higher amounts can cause serious problems.

In one study, the levels of marker inflammatory CRP increased in people who consumed alcohol. The more alcohol they consumed, the more their CRP levels increased. People who drink heavily can develop problems with bacterial toxins leaving the colon and entering the body. This condition, often referred to as «leaky gut» can lead to widespread inflammation that results in organ damage.

To avoid alcohol-related health problems, intake should be limited to two standard drinks per day for men and one for women.


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About Andrew Parkinson

Andrew Parkinson is a highly accomplished pharmacist with a passion for improving healthcare. With a wealth of experience in both community and clinical pharmacy settings, he's known for his dedication to patient well-being. Mr. Parkinson actively engages in medication management, offering personalized solutions and promoting better health outcomes. He has also played a pivotal role in educating patients on proper medication usage and potential interactions. Andrew's commitment to advancing the field of pharmacy and ensuring safe and effective drug therapies has garnered him recognition as a trusted and invaluable healthcare professional, making a positive impact on countless lives.

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