Sugar is the number one cause of inflammation!
Inflammation is an essential part of a healthy immune system that helps your body heal after an injury or infection. But when it becomes chronic, i.e. when your immune system produces immune cells constantly – it can cause a wide range of health problems!
Inflammatory diseases include: asthma, crohn’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, tendonitis, bursitis, laryngitis, gingivitis, gastritis, otitis, coeliac disease, diverticulitis and inflammatory bowel disease. Also linked with chronic inflammation are heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke, alzheimer’s disease, osteoporosis, depression and premature ageing.
Chronic inflammation can affect most parts of the body, but because it tends to be hidden you may not realise you have it. Even if you have not spotted the obvious signs, such as joint pain and stiffness, or general symptoms such as lack of energy or headaches, you may still be affected!
Besides diet; increased weight; lack of exercise and stress, other lifestyle factors thought to contribute to chronic inflammation include: poor sleeping habbits, smoking, drinking too much alcohol, nutritional deficiencies and an imbalance of digestive bacteria.
Treat inflammation with foods:
Dr Nathan Wei, a rheumatologist at the Arthritis Treatment Centre in Maryland, USA, comments that there is a compelling reason to use diet rather than drugs:
“While inflammation can be reduced with medication, these drugs may have significant side effects, for example, the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug group increases the incidence of gastric or peptic ulcers as well as cardiovascular events. As a result, there has been a burgeoning interest in the use of foods that help reduce inflammation.”
Food to avoid for inflammation:
Many nutrition experts agree that where inflammation is concerned, the number one food enemy is sugar.
According to Renae Norton, (a specialist in the treatment of eating disorders and obesity:
“When you eat sugar, you deplete the enzymes that help you to digest protein. So the protein gets into the bloodstream as a partially digested protein, and is attacked by the immune system. Also, white foods with added sugars need to be avoided as they increase blood sugar levels and frequent spikes of blood sugar which promote inflammatory damage. In addition, If someone has food intolerances as a result of increased permeability of the gut lining, the body recognises gluten and dairy foods as a foreign invader and mounts an immune response, causing elevated inflammation.”
Foods to eat for inflammation:
To reduce inflammation, your diet should consist of fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and oily fish.
Sarah West, (nutrionist) also recommends plenty of fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, flaxseeds, walnuts, turmeric, magnesium, ginger, cinnamon, garlic, chilli, cayenne pepper and black pepper which may help reduce inflammation.
Hope you enjoyed this month’s article. Please do give us feedback as it makes our job much more interesting!