There are quite a few diets in the mainstream that profess to be "anti-inflammatory."  Inflammation is commonly seen as something to be avoided nowadays, but it's not always bad for you.  The body's inflammatory response to illness and injury is an important part of the healing process, as the tissue around an injury swells to protect the damaged tissue while it begins to heal.  Without inflammation in that context, injuries would not heal properly. 


When food causes inflammation, however, and there aren't any wounds or illnesses present, it can cause a whole host of issues and discomfort.  For reference, arthritis is a condition that is caused mainly by chronic inflammation of joints in the body.  If internal organs are inflamed,however, you may never even know it.  In general, if you're not fighting an infection or an injury, you want to avoid inflammation.  Following are some common foods that cause inflammation, some that are known to be anti-inflammatory, and how inflammation can affect you.


In general, processed foods are inflammatory.  Sugary foods or foods high in high-fructose corn syrup, like soda, pastries, candy or similar items can cause inflammation in blood vessels  Small amounts of naturally occurring sugars, like fruits, are fine, but added sugar can cause significant health problems.  While the inflammation may not cause any physical discomfort, chronic inflammation that comes as a result of diet has been linked to numerous diseases and health problems.  


Fried foods , which are typically high in artificially added trans fats, are another food that are highly inflammatory.  Partially hydrogenated oils, the main source of artificial trans fats, are the key ingredient to look for on food packages, which may include some sorts of microwaveable popcorn, as well as other fried and fatty foods.  These foods, in addition to increasing inflammation in the body, have been linked to a higher risk for heart disease. 


Highly processed breads, which contain refined carbs are also a risky food if you're trying to lower your inflammation levels.  Examples are products made from processed white flours, as well as some cereals, processed white rice, or even boxed mashed potatoes.  These foods raise blood sugar, which in turn stimulates the production of hormones in the body that increase inflammation. 


Processed meats, as opposed to natural cuts of meat, have been shown to be linked to high levels of inflammation.  Examples are sausage, beef jerky, bacon, and other types of similar products.  Basically, if your meat comes in a sealed package instead of from the butcher section at your grocery store, it's risky.


You may wonder what foods are considered anti-inflammatory.  Broccoli, blueberries, salmon, ginger, tomatoes, nuts; if it grows on a plant, you can be pretty sure that it's anti-inflammatory.  If you're trying to mitigate the effects of inflammation on your body, you have yet another reason to try and consume more fruits and vegetables.  At the end of the day, natural is a good rule of thumb, and eating processed foods that are on a shelf in your grocery store is probably not the best bet. 



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