Chronic inflammation: Why you should care!

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    Have you ever sprained an ankle, hit your head really bad, or have simply gotten a splinter on a finger? Within a few minutes or hours after the injury, you most likely developed some of the common signs of inflammation: pain, redness, swelling, heat, and sometimes loss of movement or function.

    Acute inflammation is a short-term process and believe it or not, it is actually a good sign because it shows that the body has started the healing process.

    However, inflammation is not always so obvious. There is something called chronic low grade inflammation, which can silently affect every cell in your body. Among its causes are diet (especially one with excess sugar intake), free radicals, heavy metals and bacteria.

    Experts at the Heart MD Institute call inflammation the root cause of heart disease, which is also the leading cause of death in the U.S. Inflammation is also linked to Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, autoimmune diseases, Parkinson’s disease, and cancer.

    It sounds scary, doesn’t it?

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    Chronic inflammation can lead to heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and arthritis among many other problems. (Shutterstock photos)

    Inflammation and your health

    If you suffer from food sensitivities (allergy or intolerance), your immune system could trigger an inflammatory response. If you continue to expose yourself to the offending food(s), the inflammation remains within your body, and it becomes chronic.

    Also, certain foods are pro-inflammatory by nature and you don’t have to be allergic or have an intolerance to them to experience the negative effects they have on your levels of inflammation.

    • Most common inflammatory foods

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    If you want to prevent chronic inflammation, or if you have an inflammatory condition, you may want to avoid dairy products, especially those from cow.

    *Sugar: If consumed in excess it spikes insulin, which is a pro-inflammatory hormone.

    *Dairy products: Especially those derived from cow’s milk.

    *Some fats: From animal meats, dairy, eggs and peanuts.

    *Trans fats: Margarine, shortening and hydrogenated oils.

    *Gluten: Found in grains such as wheat, spelt, barley, rye, triticale and kamut.

    *Nightshades family: Tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes, tobacco and all peppers (except black pepper). They tend to have a major effect in cases of inflammation from arthritis (according to a medical study published in 1993 by the Journal of Neurological and Orthopedic Medical Surgery).

    *Eggs, soy, corn and oranges

    • What are we left with?

    It comes as no surprise that a healthy, natural diet with a limited content of processed foods will serve as an anti-inflammatory diet.  You can still eat delicious, anti-inflammatory foods following this guide:

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    Your diet might be the difference from chronic disease caused by inflammation, and health!

    *Plenty of fruits and vegetables (except those from the list above).

    *Breads and cereals made with rice, millet, quinoa, oats, buckwheat, tapioca, arrowroot, and amaranth.

    *All legumes (except soybeans).

    *Fish

    *Meats (in moderation) from chicken, turkey, wild game or lamb.

    *Vegetable oils: Cold-pressed olive, flaxseed, safflower, sunflower, sesame, walnut, pumpkin oils.

    *Natural sweeteners in moderation: Honey, maple syrup, brown rice syrup and stevia.

    *And water, lots and lots of water!

    As an additional and very interesting resource, there is a website that specializes in nutrition data and provides a rating for each food in what they call IF (inflammation factor).

    If you are concerned about the negative effects that chronic low grade inflammation could be having on your health, I highly recommend that you start watching your diet and see what aspects of it can be triggering this silent threat.

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