Plant Based Diet
Plant Based Diet
By | December 30th, 2012 | Modified - December 4th, 2014

Chronic Inflammation Is The Root Of Chronic Disease

Foods That Cause Inflammation
Foods That Cause Inflammation

When we speak about foods that cause inflammation we are really talking about foods or the over eating of foods that cause chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation occurs when acute inflammation is not completely turned off.

Acute inflammation is a process where the body increases blood flow to an area of the body that has been injured or infected. The process includes dilation of the blood vessels, which allows blood to flow through less restricted.

More fluids, proteins, and white blood cells (neutrophils, eosinophils, and or macrophages), and pro-inflammatory cells are sent to the affected area. This action localizes the infected or injured tissue causing inflammation or swelling in the area to maximize the healing process. Under normal circumstances the acute inflammation is turned off after the infected or injured area has been healed.

During chronic inflammation the release of pro-inflammatory cells are not turned off and are slowly and continuously released into the body and act like a slow-burning fire, slowly destroying the cells they come in contact with. This continuous release of inflammatory cells can lead to diseases like cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and arthritis.

Foods That Cause Inflammation

Processed And Added Sugars Are Inflammatory Foods

Sugar gets a bad rap because all sugars are often lumped together. It is the processed or refined sugars and the large amounts of additive natural sugar that triggers the inflammation process.

Sugar from plant life exists in a synergistic way with the plant’s other nutrients and fiber. The nutrients and fiber regulate how the sugar is released into the body. This balance is thrown off in processed foods containing refined or added natural sugars, and the sugar from those foods do not enter the bloodstream in a regulated manner and they become foods that trigger inflammation:

  • Candy
  • Cakes
  • Sweetened Food

Sugar from fruits is good for us. Fruits are our friends.

Vegetable Oils High In Omega-6 Fatty Acids Are Inflammatory Foods

Most omega-6 fatty acids promote inflammation. Most of the common vegetable oils we use are high in omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-6 fatty acids are necessary for healthy, but a diet high in omega-6 fatty acids promotes inflammation.

Omega-6 fatty acids need to be balanced by the anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acid, and our diets should have a ratio of 3:1 omega-6 to omega-3. The high amount of omega-6 vegetable oils used to cook in the western diet throws off this balance and which results in cooked foods that cause inflammation. Vegetable oils high in omega-6 are:

  • Corn Oil
  • Cottonseed Oil
  • Grapeseed Oil
  • Safflower Oil
  • Soybean Oil
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Vegetable Oil

(Vegetable oils are foods that increase inflammation quickly because they are concentrated with omega-6 and are used heavily in cooking.)

I use coconut oil instead of these oils because it is made up mostly of medium-chain fatty acids compared to the long chain fatty acids of the above oils. The medium chain fatty acids of coconut oil are turned into energy and burned by the body quickly, in comparison to the long chain fatty acids of the above vegetable oils which are often not completely used and are stored as triglycerides in fat cells triggering inflammatory responses.

Hydrogenated And Trans Fats Cause Inflammation In The Body

Most trans fats we eat are made from processing vegetable oils and they are very harmful to us. Trans fats promote inflammation, lower good cholesterol, raise bad cholesterol, promote obesity and resistance to insulin increasing the risk of diabetes.

Watch out for products containing trans fats. Even watch out for products with labels claiming “0 Trans Fats!” The FDA allows products containing 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving to have that label. So manufacturers are allowed to continue to use trans fats in their products, but they make it appear that they are not using any. Trans fats used in these foods become foods that cause inflammation:

  • Cereals
  • Cakes
  • Muffins
  • Cookies
  • Fast Food
  • Frozen Dinner Food
  • Margarine
  • Candy

Alcohol Causes Inflammation In The Body

Heavy alcohol consumption promotes chronic inflammation by interfering with the body’s natural defense against harmful microbes in the stomach. Is also interferes with the brain’s ability to regulate inflammation, the liver’s ability to detoxify bacteria, and the liver’s ability to regulate the production of the pro-inflammatory cytokine cells.

Meat Is An Inflammatory Food

Meat contains endotoxins that are released from bacteria in meat during the digestive process. These endotoxins trigger the inflammation process to release immune cells into the body to combat the endotoxins.

I speak with my elders and they use the argument that they grew up on eating meat and it wasn’t a problem for them. They have a valid argument if we considered the meat they grew up on the same as the meat that is processed today.

Livestock today is often raised on inflammatory foods such as genetically modified soy and corn. The livestock develop excess fat because they are raised in confined areas, they injected with hormones to make them bigger and fatter, and then they are dosed with antibiotics to combat the diseases and inflammation they develop.

The diseases then become resistant to the antibiotics, and then we eat the meat that has antibiotic resistant bacteria in it, is laden with fat, and full of hormones. The livestock my elders grew up on were grass fed and were not fed genetically modified corn, which recent studies have shown to cause cancer:

  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Chicken
  • Dairy
  • Eggs

Dairy Is An Inflammatory Food

Hormones given to cows are passed into their milk. The Bovine Growth Hormone is given to cows to increase milk production but causes cows udder infections. This and other hormones and proteins specific to cow’s are passed on to cow’s milk and cause inflammatory reactions in the body.

Artificial Food Additives And Preservatives Cause Inflammation In The Body

Additives and preservatives are perceived as foreign and toxic inflammatory foods in the body which results in the body releasing an inflammatory response to combat the toxic substances:

  • MSG
  • Aspartame
  • Saccharine

Gluten Grains Are Foods That Cause Inflammation

Many people have allergic reactions to grains that contain gluten. The allergic reaction promotes inflammation in the body to combat what is seen as a disruptive substance. Gluten allergies and sensitivities have been increasingly linked to autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, which results when the immune system mistakenly attacks the joints.

Refined Grains Are Foods That Cause Inflammation

The processing of refined grains removes most of the fiber, minerals, vitamins and essential fatty acids and develops a high glycemic load. This spikes blood glucose levels, stimulates a high demand for insulin, and boosts levels of the inflammatory proteins making them foods that cause inflammation in the body.

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About Author:

I obtained a Certificate in Plant Based Nutrition from Cornell University. I eat a plant based diet and I am an avid researcher of the benefits of a whole food, plant based alkaline diet. I obtained a BA in Organizational Behavior and Communications from NYU, worked as an elementary school teacher, and have studied social work. I am a web designer/developer and I enjoy boxing, kick boxing, cycling, power walking, and basically anything challenging. Eating a plant based diet and exercising is a great way to achieve healthy living. ~ Natural Life Energy

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