When you are faced with an illness, wound, or stressful situation, your immune system will attempt to fight off the threat. According to Medline Plus, when cells are damaged, they release substances such as histamine, bradykinin, and prostaglandins, which trigger inflammation to protect your tissues from further trauma. In a time of immediate threat, these inflammatory substances can protect your body. However, long-term or chronic inflammation can actually cause further damage to your tissues and organs. To avoid inflammation triggered by foods, refrain from eating items that will trigger chronic inflammation.
13. Refined Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are a source of calories or energy found in starch, sugar, and fiber. You can obtain the carbohydrates necessary for daily life and activities in healthy sources such as fruits, vegetable, and whole grains. However, the term refined carbohydrates refers to the carbs found in highly processed white flour and sugars. The refining process in the making of white flour removes nutrients and fiber from the grain, leaving empty calories. Some studies suggest consuming refined carbohydrates can increase the number of inflammatory proteins in your bloodstream.
12. Sucrose and High Fructose Corn Syrup
High fructose corn syrup has a bad reputation for its adverse effects on health. However, table sugar can be equally as detrimental to your health. Table sugar (sucrose) is made up of 50 percent glucose and 50 percent fructose. Meanwhile, high fructose corn syrup is around 45 percent glucose and 55 percent fructose. In either case, sugar is a refined carbohydrate that can trigger chronic inflammation. Studies have suggested that sugar can increase fatty liver and pancreas inflammation and increase the inflammation associated with arthritis.
11. Fried Food
Frying your food makes for a quick, tasty meal. However, frying up your dinner means you are introducing additional fats to your foods. When you cook your food in oils that contain saturated fats, the high temperatures of the cooking process increase the number of trans fats in the oil and in your meal. Furthermore, calories from the oils are transferred to your food. If you love the taste of fried foods, try roasting your food in the oven to allow it to crisp up without absorbing excess oil. Air fryers are also popular gadgets for obtaining the taste of frying with less oil.
10. Grilled Meat
Nothing beats the fun of a summer barbecue with refreshing watermelon slices, ice-cold lemonade, and a burger hot off the grill. However, grilling your meat can cause the formation of toxic chemicals such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heterocyclic amines (HCAs). These chemicals can induce inflammation and may even be linked to cancer. While you may not want to give up your summer barbecue altogether, take steps to decrease the formation of these chemicals on your meat. Choose lean cuts and trim away any charred portions before eating grilled meat.
9. Processed Meat
Grilled meat isn’t the only type of meat that can trigger inflammation. Processed meats such as bacon, deli cuts, ham, and hot dogs are highly processed. This means that they have been altered from their original form. Studies have shown links between processed meats and heart disease, lung disease, and cancer. Processed meats may also contain the PAHs and HCAs found in grilled meat. Sodium nitrite is often added to processed meats as a preservative and to retain color and flavor. Furthermore, processed meats tend to contain excessive amounts of sodium.
Margarine was invented as a healthy alternative to cholesterol-laden butter. However, the early forms of margarine were high in the trans fats that contribute to heart disease and high cholesterol. According to the Mayo Clinic, the more solid the margarine, the higher the likelihood that it contains trans fats. Therefore, if you do choose to use margarine, seek out easily spreadable tub margarines and check the labels to be sure they are free from trans fats and low in saturated fats.
The term shortening refers to a fat, from either plant or animal sources, that is in a solid state at room temperature. Since shortening is made of fat, you will want to limit the amount you introduce into your body. When purchasing shortening to use in your baking, be sure to check the label and avoid products that contain trans fats such as hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils.
6. Microwave Popcorn
Popcorn is a healthy, fiber-rich snack when consumed without excess butter or salt. However, microwave popcorn introduces not only fatty oils to your popcorn, but it also can cause you to absorb toxic chemicals. Chemicals called polyfluoro alkyl substances (PFAs) may coat microwave popcorn bags in order to seal in the grease that pops the corn. When you heat up the bag, these chemicals can be transferred to your snack. To enjoy a wholesome treat of popcorn, try air popping your kernels and giving them a light spritz of olive oil and a dash of your favorite spices.
You may use cooking oils to coat your baking dishes, sprinkle over veggies before roasting, or add to homemade baked goods. Many of the available oils are high in saturated fats. Some cooking oils contain the omega-3 fatty acids that your body needs in appropriate doses. However, they may also provide an inappropriate balance of omega-6 fatty acids. The American Heart Association recommends using cooking oils that are lower in saturated fats. These include canola, corn, olive, safflower, and sunflower oils.
4. Store-Bought Baked Goods
If you are craving a sweet snack, avoid running to the store for a box of snack cakes or a package of muffins. Store-bought bakery items are often high in refined flour, white sugar, and saturated fats. Instead, satisfy your sweet tooth by baking up your own batch of cookies, muffins, or brownies. When you bake items yourself, you can search out recipes that use lower quantities of sugar or flour. Furthermore, you will have control over which ingredients have gone into your tasty treat.
An evening nightcap may be your favorite part of the day, but too much alcohol can trigger inflammation and increase your risk of disease. According to the World Journal of Gastroenterology, alcohol-induced medical disorders have been linked to chronic inflammation. In the case of stomach diseases, this may be due to the effects of alcohol on gut bacteria. The Arthritis Foundation also warns that alcohol may worsen the inflammation associated with arthritic conditions. Limiting your alcohol intake can help prevent the medical disorders triggered by chronic inflammation of body tissues.
2. Allergy-Triggering Foods
You may be exposing yourself to allergens if you do not recognize the signs of food allergies. Food allergies may crop up in adulthood and remain undiagnosed if they are mild. However, subjecting your body to these allergens can have negative health effects. Severe signs of food allergy include swelling of the throat or face and difficulty breathing. These require immediate emergency medical attention. The Mayo Clinic lists lesser symptoms of food allergy as a tingling of the mouth, tongue, or lips; itching or hives; a stuffy nose; and abdominal pain. Notify your doctor if you experience these symptoms.
1. Monosodium Glutamate
MSG is a sodium salt that occurs naturally in some foods and is an added ingredient in others. According to the FDA, this additive is made through a fermentation process. Foods that have MSG as an additive must list it on their nutrition label. While MSG is often associated with Chinese cooking, it may also turn up in many packaged foods such as chips, deli meats, and frozen dinners. MSG is linked to liver inflammation and headaches. Therefore, check the labels when purchasing pre-packaged foods and avoid those containing MSG.