7 Inflammatory Foods You May Want To Eliminate From Your Diet
Chronic inflammation is a risk factor for a variety of long term illnesses (related article). You should avoid the following food items if you want to lower inflammation to healthier levels and improve your performance in the gym:
Saturated and Trans-fatty Acids
Not all saturated fats are created equal. That being said, there is a positive correlation between these fatty acids and inflammation. Consuming processed red meat, fast food and some dairy products in particular cause an increase in the inflammatory response (Source). Trans-fatty acids cause cardiovascular problems and type 2 diabetes mellitus by inducing endothelial dysfunction (Source) and accelerating atherosclerosis (Source).
Omega-6 Fatty Acids in Excess
These are essential fatty acids and the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 is an important health indicator. High levels of omega-6 fatty acids in our diet cause various diseases including cardiovascular, inflammatory, cancer and autoimmune diseases. The high omega-6 to omega-3 ratio is responsible for various diseases in western and developing countries (Source). Although a ratio of 10:1 is harmful, western diets tend to have a ratio of 15:1. Optimising the ratio to 3:1 lowers chronic inflammation enough to be helpful for patients with rheumatoid arthritis and 5:1 for asthma. Omega-6 fatty acids are high in vegetable oils like in grape seed oil, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and nuts including pistachios.
Drinking Too Much Alcohol
Reducing alcohol intake has an anti-inflammatory role and is somewhat protective of the body. High alcohol intake involves several molecular pathways which increase oxidative stress and cause liver injury through inflammation known as alcoholic liver disease (Source).
High red meat intake has shown to cause a greater increase in cardiovascular incidence and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Studies have shown an increase in inflammatory biomarkers in plasma with higher red meat intake. Substituting red meat with alternative protein sources have shown improvement in health among people (Source). Red meat includes beef, pork, mutton and veal.
Refined carbohydrates and poor micronutrient intake increase inflammation in the body (Source). High fructose syrup also reduces the production of nitric oxide (NO) from endothelial cells which results in hypertension (Source). NO is a neurotransmitter which is released by endothelial cells and is responsible for vasodilatation. Nitroglycerines are used to prevent angina attack and they work by vasodilatation of blood vessels through NO.
Refined carbohydrates include white bread, white rice, pasta, sweets and added sugars.
Cholesterol (For Some People)
High levels of cholesterol in blood cause accumulation of cholesterol in macrophages and production of an inflammatory response (Source). Dietary cholesterol has variable results among different people, there is a high capacity of cholesterol absorption in hyper responders and this variation is due to genetic causes (Source). Cholesterol is found in cheese, shellfish and organ meats.
Gluten is a protein complex that is present in many kinds of cereal and is notorious for damaging the small intestine in celiac disease. Gluten causes an increase in body weight increases insulin resistance and causes inflammation. Gluten should be excluded from the diet to control body weight and inflammation (Source).
Did you know that Omega 3 has been shown to lower chronic inflammation? You can read more about it