7 inflammatory foods to avoid

Saturday, March 8, 20140 Comments


7 inflammatory foods to avoid - sugar

Long-term ailments, highly processed foods and ongoing exposure to environmental toxins can result in the kind of persistent, low-grade inflammation researchers are linking to premature aging, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis and cancer.
Eating too much of the sweet stuff can be a significant contributor to many chronic conditions, including:

Anxiety: Sugar causes wide swings in blood sugar, wreaking havoc on the nervous system, which can leave you feeling on edge.

Depression: Eating sugar-laden foods rather than nutritionally dense ones often leads to B vitamin deficiencies, which can exacerbate the blues.

Type II diabetes: Eat too much sugar and your body can get overwhelmed by the demands of processing all the excess, which can lead to insulin resistance and weight gain—major factors in the onset of type II diabetes.

Fibromyalgia: Sugar suppresses the immune system (just one 12-ounce can of soda can drop immune function by 30 percent for three hours), which makes it harder to fight infection and can lead to both chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia.

Migraines: A drop in blood sugar after a sugar “high” can cause muscles to spasm, causing (and worsening) tension headaches and migraines.

Sinusitis: Too much sugar causes yeast overgrowth, which may trigger inflammatory reaction in the nose.


Meat contains inflammation-promoting arachidonic acid; beef has the highest content, double the amount in lamb, pork or chicken. A 2006 study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that women who ate 1 1∕2 servings or more per day of beef, lamb or pork had nearly double the risk of hormone-receptor positive breast cancer when compared with those who ate red meat just three times a week. If the meat is processed, the risk is even higher: A 2007 study put the number at 64 percent for women eating bacon, ham, hot dogs, sausages or other meats that may contain added sodium or nitrates.


"Dairy contains simple sugars that the human body was never intended to digest past the age of weaning. Because we don’t digest dairy well, it ends up contributing to inflammation in the body," says Donald Abrams, M.D., chief of oncology at San Francisco General Hospital. Milk, in particular, has been linked to cancers of the breasts, prostate and bladder, as well as lymphoma.


"We know that breast cancer in particular responds to alcohol in a negative way—possibly because excess alcohol can raise estrogen levels,” says Carolyn Lammersfeld, M.S., R.D., L.D.N., CNSC, national director of nutrition for Cancer Treatment Centers of America. “Alcohol also contains a variety of chemicals that may have a carcinogenic effect.”


Ironically, well-intentioned advice to consume vegetable oils rather than saturated-fat-rich butter has led to a multifold increase in the intake of omega-6 fatty acids, which promote inflammation. Popular vegetable oils such as sunflower, corn, peanut, soy, cottonseed and (regular) safflower are high in inflammatory omega-6s.

White Flour/Wheat/Gluten

“We really have been over-wheated,” says dietitian Ashley Koff. “Though researchers don’t believe a diet high in wheat products actually causes gluten intolerance, these foods can make it worse,” she says. Gluten intolerance symptoms vary in each person but can include diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating, vomiting, nausea, skin irritation, fatigue, muscle cramps, fog brain and depression. “Humans lack the enzymes to break down gluten completely,” says Robin Foroutan, M.S., R.D., H.H.C.

“This is not the bread we ate in biblical times,” says Scot Lewey, D.O., an integrative gastroenterologist. “Grain strains today have been biologically engineered to have a much higher gluten content.” Why? The additional gluten helps ward off insects (producing higher crop yields) and creates breads and cakes with more spring.


Coffee is acidic and caffeine impairs the absorption of calcium and other minerals. "In addition to be acidic, coffee beans are roasted. These beans have oils in them. Roasted oils become rancid and clog up your liver," writes Kris Carr in her book Crazy Sexy Diet.
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