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How Can Your Diet Trigger Inflammation?


If you find yourself suffering from inflammation, changing your diet may be the right course of action. Although it may not completely cure inflammation, it will surely reduce the number of flare-ups. Typically, what we consume will determine how our body functions on a daily basis and eventually affect your health in the future.

Carbohydrates have such a bad reputation, but what many do not know is there are good and bad carbs. Refined and processed carbs should be avoided such as white flour, bread, rolls, crackers, rice, potatoes and many cereals as they fuel the production of those products that cause inflammation. Instead, choose carbs full of fiber like whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and beans. A sensitivity to gluten can also trigger joint pain and inflammation. Gluten can be found in wheat, barley, and rye and should be avoided especially by those with celiac disease.

Processed sugars, also known as white sugar, trigger the release of pro-inflammatory messengers called cytokines. Aspartame, which is used as a sugar substitute in many food and beverages around the world, may also trigger an inflammatory response. Many people may choose aspartame rather than tabletop sugar because it uses less calories with the same sweetness, but if your body is sensitive to the artificial sweetener, it may cause the body to adversely react.

Alcohol should be eliminated or consumed in moderation. Not only does it disrupt the function of the liver, it also disrupts multi-organ interactions and can cause inflammation.

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a flavor enhancer found in prepared Asian dishes, soy sauce, and other processed foods such as fast food, prepared soup and soup mixes, salad dressings, and deli meat. The chemical found in MSG can trigger chronic inflammation as well as liver problems.

Trans fats, found in fried foods, are a guilty pleasure, but should be avoided because it can increase inflammation and may lead to cardiovascular disease. Trans fats are also found in processed snack foods, frozen breakfast products, cookies, donuts, and margarine. Another form of fat, saturated fats, at high levels of intake can also worsen inflammation. Instead of processed red meats and full-fat dairy products, opt for salmon or tuna and low-fat products.

Omega-6 fatty acids are good for our bodies if consumed properly. However, if consumed in excess, our bodies will release pro-inflammatory chemicals. Oils such as vegetable, corn, sunflower, and soy can be unhealthy with heavy consumption. Omega-6 can also be found in mayonnaise and some salad dressings.

As we have learned, certain foods can trigger inflammation and pain which can hinder your day-to-day activities and decrease your range of motion. An increase in your daily fruit and veggie intake, as well as, omega-3 fatty acids will significantly reduce inflammation. A change in your diet can result in a change in your life!

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