You might automatically think about the swelling of a wound when you think about inflammation. Well, a wound is not the only condition that triggers an inflammatory response from the body. Certain foods that we consume also trigger inflammation within our bodies in a way that can make us sick, and that can also make weight loss difficult. So if you are always getting sick, or can’t lose weight no matter how vigorously or frequently you exercise, then read on.
First, I think it is fundamental to understand the internal processes that are taking place after consuming certain foods that cause inflammation. Only then can you really understand why an anti-inflammatory diet might be helpful.
Why your body becomes inflammatory
In the most basic sense, inflammation is your body’s protective response to danger. Therefore, when you consume sugary or greasy or highly processed foods that contain carcinogens (substances capable of causing cancer), and have minimal nutritional value, your body’s immune system becomes triggered to protect your health. Of course, putting undue stress on your immune system triggers illness and promotes a state in your body that makes it difficult to lose weight. Some people develop chronic inflammation where the immune system is always in this state, which then leads to other diseases like cancer, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and arthritis.
Here is a short list of the types of foods known to be carcinogenic and to cause inflammation:
- Soda and sweetened drinks
- Refined carbs (eg. candy, crackers, cereal, pizza, cookies, pastries, white bread)
- Dairy (eg. animal milk, cheese, yogurt, creamers- I know this is a tough one!!)
- Fried foods
- Processed meats (eg. Hot dogs, burgers)
All of these types of foods are unnatural to your body and starts an internal immunity fight that causes inflammation. In other words, eating these highly processed and unnatural foods is like introducing an infection to your body. Unfortunately, these foods are readily available everywhere. Also, because they are convenient, cheap, and quick to prepare we tend to choose them easily when we are short on time and/or cash. How many times do you find yourself running late or without a meal plan for the day so that you just eat whatever food is available? It is definitely possible to make a healthy choice even under these circumstances, but most of the time you might take the more convenient unhealthy option just to stop hunger and get on with your day.
So, as I said above, if you’re getting sick easily or can’t drop weight, it is time to scrutinize every bit of food you’re consuming and ask yourself whether it helps or fights inflammation.
Not surprisingly, anti-inflammatory foods include what most of us already know that we should be eating more of—fruits, veggies and nuts. But more specifically, below is list of the anti-inflammatory foods I recommend because they are usually reasonably priced and readily available. Of course, I recommend buying organic because the whole point is to eliminate toxins:
- Black beans
- Red peppers
All of the above ingredients toss together into a delicious salad. Alternatively, I like to prepare them individually as snacks to have in between meals throughout the day. I suggest that you make it convenient to enjoy these anti-inflammatory foods each day by packaging them together for snacks at the beginning of the week. The goal is to consume more of these types of foods, and little, if any, of the inflammatory foods discussed above. Eat more REAL FOOD!