Chronic inflammation can damage the immune system and cause various diseases, which seriously affect health. In our daily diet, we should avoid foods that cause inflammation in the body to reduce the risk of disease.
Inflammation is no stranger to anyone. Inflammation caused by diseases or injuries triggers the body’s defense mechanisms. The immune system then goes to work. It recognizes damaged cells, pathogens or irritants and repairs them.
Therefore, inflammation is part of the immune response. It is a normal phenomenon for the body to protect itself. Infections, wounds and any tissue damage cannot heal without inflammation.
However, inflammation also has a dark side. Chronic inflammation can eventually lead to a variety of diseases and conditions, including atherosclerosis, some cancers and rheumatoid arthritis.
Chronic or long-term inflammation can last for months or even years. There are many causes for chronic inflammation, such as environmental pollution, unhealthy diet, immune system diseases, etc.[*].
The cause most closely related to our lives is diet. Many foods can cause inflammation. A few examples are french fries, sausages, biscuits and sweets.
When your body induces inflammation for a long time, your immune system can be damaged, thus giving various diseases the opportunity to invade.
Avoiding inflammation can minimize the risk of disease as much as possible.
6 Foods That Cause Inflammation
The inflammation we are talking about does not refer to acute inflammation such as a sore throat or swelling and pain in the feet. It refers to inflammation that has penetrated into cells and is destroying your overall health.
The following are the most inflammatory foods you should avoid, to help reduce your risk of inflammation.
1. Hydrogenated oil
Hydrogenated oil is trans fat, which is an artificial oil. Hydrogenation is a process in which a liquid unsaturated fat is turned into a solid fat by adding hydrogen.
As the hardness of hydrogenated oil is increased, it helps maintain the solid shape of foods. Therefore, food can become more crispy.
At the same time, it also extends the shelf life of food. It has been widely used in food processing. For example, processed foods such as biscuits, cakes, potato chips and instant noodles all contain trans-fatty acids (hydrogenated oil).
Hydrogenated oil is very harmful to the human body. It can cause damage to the liver and heart and damage to the cognition of the brain. It not only affects your immune system but also increases the level of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL), which can lead to cardiovascular disease.
2. Some vegetable oils
Vegetable oils such as corn oil, soybean oil, rapeseed oil, peanut oil and sunflower oil are high in omega-6 fatty acids.
Although omega-6 is essential to the human body, excessive amounts can also cause inflammation. This can increase the risk of obesity, heart disease, arthritis and other chronic diseases.
Additionally, after repeated and high-temperature heating, Omega-6 will go through a series of chemical changes. These changes not only reduce the nutritional value of vegetable oils but also can cause toxic effects on your body.
Repeatedly heating vegetable oils can produce a lot of free radicals, trans fatty acids and other harmful substances, which have certain carcinogenicity.[*]
In particular, burnt foods could cause cancer, especially they can cause liver damage.[*]
Therefore, ingesting large amounts of hydrogenated oil, or unhealthy vegetable oils can cause inflammation in the body and also increase the risk of various diseases.
Try to add healthy fats, such as coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil or animal fats to your daily diet.
Commonly added sugar contains 50% glucose and 50% fructose.
One of the harmful effects of sugar is that it can increase inflammation in the body. In fact, sugar is one of the main fuels for cancer cells.
Although the fructose obtained from vegetables and fruits is beneficial to the body, too much fructose and artificially added sugars (such as sucrose or corn syrup) are harmful to health.
High intake of sugar or fructose is related to obesity, insulin resistance diseases such as diabetes, fatty liver, cancer and chronic kidney disease.[*]
Researchers also pointed out that sugar may cause inflammation of vascular endothelial cells, which is a risk factor for heart disease.
Various added sugars are used as food sweeteners or to extend shelf life. Processed foods with increased sweetness can make people addicted to these types of food. That result is what food processing and marketing companies are most happy to see.
Nowadays, more and more people are beginning to realize the health hazards of adding sugar. They are now beginning to shift their attention to natural sugars and “sugar substitutes.”
In fact, many anti-inflammatory vegetables and fruits contain natural sugars, such as green leafy vegetables, garlic, onions, ginger, tomatoes, celery, berries and nuts.
You can also find some sugar substitutes on the market. The most common ones are stevia and erythritol. At present, stevia has secured second place in the $400 million sugar packet market (the first place is still sucrose).
Stevia is made from the leaves of the stevia plant. It’s about 100 to 300 times sweeter than table sugar but has no carbohydrates, calories or artificial ingredients.
It is stable to heat and does not cause blood sugar fluctuations. The European Union also passed an amendment bill in 2017 to expand the use of stevia.
In other words, although we still can’t completely get rid of the influence of added sugar, at least you can consider some alternatives to satisfy your sweet tooth.
4. Refined carbohydrates
More and more people have realized that carbohydrates are the main cause of obesity and other health problems. However, the fact is that not all carbs are created equal.
In ancient times, humans collected plant roots or fruits, while also hunting animals for a living. They ate unprocessed carbohydrates for thousands of years.
To this day, common fruits and vegetables in our lives, still contain healthy carbohydrates.
However, with the development of human society and the improvement of industry and technology, the foods that people eat have become more and more refined.
Refined carbohydrates (bread, rice, pasta, cereals) is one of them. It not only improves the taste of food but also increases more food choices, which leads to dining tables becoming much more full.
However, people have also become heavier and get sick more easily. They visit the hospital more often than ever before.
Why does all this happen? Here is the answer.
Your body breaks down or converts most carbohydrates into sugar glucose. Eating a large number of refined carbohydrates increases the amount of sugar in the body.
Studies have shown that refined carbs have a higher glycemic index (GI) than unprocessed natural carbs (found in fruits and vegetables). They also have a higher risk of causing inflammation.
Long-term consumption of refined carbohydrates in large quantities can cause obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases and even cancer. These chronic diseases are closely related to inflammation.
The most effective way to avoid these risks is to change your eating habits. Focus on a low-carbohydrate diet eating more whole grains, vegetables and low-sugar fruits.
5. Processed meat
Eating too much deep-processed meat may increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes, gastric cancer and colon cancer.
Common processed meats include sausages, bacon, ham and beef jerky. These foods contain a high concentration of Advanced Glycation End-Product (AGEs). AGEs are formed by cooking meat and other foods at high temperatures. They are known to cause inflammation.[*]
Among all diseases related to processed meat, colon cancer has the highest occurrence. Although many factors can cause colon cancer, studies have shown a link to the inflammatory response of colon cells to processed meat.
6. Preservatives, additives and MSG
In order to extend the shelf life of food, enhance the taste or improve the appearance of food, various additives, preservatives, monosodium glutamate, pigments, and other items are added during food processing.
Even when cooking at home, many people are used to putting some MSG into their food to enhance the taste. In addition, you have to wonder what ingredients are used in restaurants that we don’t know about.
These unhealthy by-products are all harmful substances to the body. They do not have any nutrients and can lead to increased inflammation in your body.
Maybe we can’t avoid them completely. After all, the world is full of various processed products.
However, we can make better choices, such as trying not to use MSG or sugar when cooking at home, using healthier alternatives instead.
We have shared some of the foods that are most likely to cause inflammation in your body. Certainly, there are other factors that increase your risk of inflammation, such as smoking, drinking, staying up late, bad lifestyle habits, insufficient exercise or environmental pollution, for example. Some of them can be controlled and changed, while others are difficult to prevent.
In order to reduce body inflammation and minimize your risk of inflammatory diseases, the best and most direct way is to eat a healthier diet. Stay away from unhealthy diets and try to eat more anti-inflammatory foods.
In short, our health is closely related to our diet.