Inflammation plays a role in a wide range of health conditions, including things like arthritis and appendicitis – diseases with "itis" at the end which form the names of specific inflammatory conditions.
But, did you know that there are many others that may be triggered at least in part by inflammation, like certain cancers, heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, and even being overweight or obese?
Overweight and inflammation are intimately relatedInflammation causes the hormone leptin to be less effective, resulting in weight gain. If you're overweight, you probably don't realize it, but you're experiencing what's called "silent inflammation."
As we gain weight, more fat cells are not added, but those we already have actually become larger, and are filled with more fat.
Fat cells can even leak as they're stretched more and more, triggering immune cells known asmacrophages to help clean up – these then release inflammatory chemicals in fatty tissues.Your body counteracts silent inflammation by producing anti-inflammatory chemicals that can interfere with leptin – leptin is the hormone responsible for helping one maintain a proper weight.
When leptin is rendered ineffective by inflammation, it's called "leptin resistance," which means that leptin doesn't work properly when it comes to speeding metabolism and suppressing appetite.
Chronic inflammation can trigger all sorts of diseases over time.The average American diet is filled with foods that contribute to inflammation, particularly those that are rich in omega-6 fatty acids like processed and fast foods.
And, foods that are rich in omega-3s, like cold-water fish as well as plant foods that contain phytochemicals believed to help reduce inflammation, aren't consumed often enough.
If you'd like an almost immediate boost to your health, and a quick aid to your weight-loss efforts, avoiding the worst inflammatory foods, those that exaggerate inflammation, may be your best option.
One of the biggest offenders is trans fats.Trans fats are typically found in processed foods – and, while in recent years manufacturers have begun to cut back, it's always a good idea to read labels closely for ingredients like partially hydrogenated or hydrogenated oils which indicate trans fats are present.
If you see those ingredients, put that package on the shelf.
Trans fats induce inflammation by damaging the cells in the lining of blood vessels.While the dangers of trans fats are probably old news, you may not realize the role sugar plays in inflammation.
Sugar is a major factor in inflammationThat includes regular table sugar, organic sugar, brown sugar, maple sugar, corn sweetener, glucose (and any other word ending in "ose"), barley malt, concentrated fruit juice, and more.
Too much sugar alerts the body to send out extra inflammatory messengers known as cytokines.
White breads and pastas break down quickly into sugar, ultimately leading to inflammation as well.
Foods that are high in omega-6 fatty acids, like vegetable oil, shortening, processed foods like crackers, pastries and chips, and fast food like onion rings, French fries and chicken nuggets, all trigger inflammatory messengers as well.
The bottom line?Eliminate inflammatory foods as much as you can, and instead, base your diet on whole, organic foods from the earth.
Spices like ginger and curry offer "anti-inflammatory" effects as well as foods that are packed with good phytochemicals like cold-water fish as well as fruits and vegetables, beans and other plants.
Yours in health,