Anti-Inflammatory Diet | What to Eat and What to Avoid

Inflammation is one of the body’s main defense mechanisms used to indicate that there is a problem that needs urgent solving. Inflammation occurs as a natural response to injuries, bacterial and viral infections, irritants, and diseases. inflammation has been linked to the type of diet you have, your level of physical activity, your weight, your stress levels, your amount and quality of sleep, whether you smoke or drink alcohol all these factors play great roles in your body’s reaction to may happen to you in a simple unnoticeable way or it can be exaggerated in some cases it all depends on the cause of the inflammation and the state of body health and immunity in order to protect you through the interactions between different immune cells, blood vessels, molecular mediators and the cause of the inflammation.

There are generally two main types of inflammation:

    • acute inflammation: this type of inflammation occurs for a short duration of time from days to a couple of weeks but no longer than a month, and it usually resolves fast as the body fights against the causative agent.
    • chronic inflammation: this type of inflammation on the other hand happens gradually and lasts for longer periods of time usually for over six weeks, it doesn’t always end with proper healing of the illness and is the type that is commonly related to autoimmune diseases.

Symptoms of inflammation:

When a pathogen enters the body the immune system responds to it by introducing white blood cells to the affected area where they secrete chemicals like cytokines and leukotrienes that cause the five cardinal symptoms of inflammation so as to get rid of that pathogen, these symptoms are :

    1. redness
    2. hotness
    3. swelling
    4. pain
    5. loss of function, like not being able to move the affected area

these symptoms don’t have to occur all at once or together it depends on the type of inflammatory mediators that are being produced and the extent of the inflammatory reaction; some types of inflammation may even pass silently without symptoms at all.

Foods that aggravate inflammation:

1. Sugary foods and drinks

Sugar is one of the most harmful ingredients we consume in huge amounts in our diets, without putting into consideration the horrible health impact it has on our bodies. some people add too much sugar to their drinks and food which makes the problem even bigger and harder to control, as there is already a huge amount of sugar present in soft drinks, candy, cookies, pastries, cereals, chocolate, doughnuts… sugar in food is mainly in the form of glucose and fructose and these two simple sugars are known for their ability to supply our bodies with fast energy that is why we get sugar rush after having too many sweets, fructose which is a monosaccharide that must be metabolized in the liver and that promotes the De Novo synthesis of free fatty acids FFA  in the liver which according to the lipotoxicity theory triggers the inflammatory process and reactive oxygen species formation, and since simple sugar gets burned fast it stimulates your appetite and makes you desire to have more sweet stuff, the thing that makes sugar very addictive and an easy ticket to obesity.

sugar also causes resistance to leptin, a hormone that controls your appetite and leads to insulin resistance promoting diabetes, it has also been linked to atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease, and even depression.

Basically, added sugar pumps up the level of inflammatory activity in the body that is why it is best to limit sugar intake to 10% of daily energy requirements almost equal to 36 grams or 9 teaspoons per day for men and 25 grams or 6 teaspoons for women as per the recommendations of the American Heart Association (AHA).

you should check the labels of the products you buy and look out for words like corn syrup, agave, maltose, dextrose, molasses as these are all types of sugar that are present in many manufactured goods that people don’t know they are all basically different forms of sugar, and you should try as well to get most of your sugar from natural sources like fruits and vegetables.