Inflammation occurs in response to many different stimuli including injuries, irritants and pathogens. It is a process where your body’s immune system responds by sending proteins and white blood cells to the irritated area in order to repair the damaged tissue. Blood vessels also dilate allowing an increase in blood flow to the area. This causes the symptoms of inflammation we usually see including pain, redness and swelling. Too much inflammation or inflammation of healthy tissue however can be unhealthy and cause numerous different diseases. Lack of exercise, stress, and smoking can all play a part in chronic inflammation. But one of the most important causes of inflammation is diet.
Pro-inflammatory foods are defined as any type of food that tends to cause inflammation. In general, there are about seven different food ingredients that can cause inflammation.
Sugars- soda, candy, deserts
Saturated fats- cheese, red meat, pizza
Trans fat- fast food, deep-fried foods, cookies, donuts
Omega 6 fatty acids- vegetable, corn, soy and peanut oil, mayonnaise
Refined carbs- rice, noodles, pasta, white rice and white flour products
Artificial sweeteners- aspartame, MSG (aspartame)
Alcohol- liquor, beer and wine
Who should avoid pro-inflammatory foods?
Although everyone should consider limiting their intake of pro-inflammatory foods, there are some who should avoid them more than others. Arthritis, eczema, Alzheimer’s, and acne are all conditions which inflammation can worsen symptoms. People who have high blood pressure, are obese, get frequent headaches, or is an athlete could also benefit from avoiding pro-inflammatory foods in their diet.
If you’re interested in having your diet assessed, please contact Dr. Lee at Seattle Naturopathic and Acupuncture Center or call 206-319-5322