Updated: Nov 9, 2018
Please read to the end to find out why we've got an orangutan photo with a blog post on things you should limit in your diet for maximum health. :o)
When we have a cut that becomes infected, we know our immune system is fighting to fend off an attack on our body. Chronic inflammation is the same thing, but it doesn't shut down. Our immune system is working to protect our body from the unhealthy effects of a diet high in fats and sugar.
That's why inflammation has become such a hot topic for medical research. Many studies show chronic inflammation can lead to heart attacks, contribute to Alzheimers, cancer, Parkinson’s, rheumatoid arthritis, cataracts, kidney disease, and the development of Type 2 diabetes. Yes, that's a lot! That's why taking on inflammation as part of a healthy lifestyle is essential, and may prevent or even reverse some of the effects of these diseases aggravated by chronic inflammation.
This week we'll go over things you should consider eliminating or limiting in support of your health:
1. Sugar: Seriously, this should be a controlled substance! Refined sugar, in fact anything ending in -ose, from dextrose to fructose, as well as high-fructose corn syrup used in everything from candy to soft drinks, is a problem. Sugar leads to increased insulin resistance and uric acid levels, injures blood vessels, and contains lots of calories, leading to weight gain, which begins a vicious cycle that submarines your health.
2. Vegetable and Seed Oils: Oils with high amounts of omega-6 fat, such as corn, soy, sunflower, safflower, canola and peanut, can be healthy in small amounts. But most people use too much, which throws off the balance of omega-6 to omega-3 fats (fatty fish, flax), leading to inflammation.
3. Refined Carbs: White bread, rice, pasta, chips and snack foods raise blood glucose, contribute to weight gain and inflame your gut. 'Nuf said. Limit refined carbs to limit inflammation.
4. Processed or Smoked Meats: Meats in general, but especially those formed by high temperature, dry cooking such as sausage, bacon, ham and beef jerky form harmful substances called AGEs (advanced glycation end-products). Limiting AGEs promotes inflammation reduction, and thus improves health. A strategy for inhibiting AGEs is to marinate meat with acidic ingredients such as lemon juice and vinegar. At The Tasty Path, we marinate most of our meats--it's great for flavor, but also inhibits AGEs!
5. Alcohol: Excessive consumption causes bad bacteria to move out of the digestive tract into other parts of the body, leading to increased inflammation. While a couple of standard sized drinks may have some health benefits, too much alcohol is harmful to your personal biome.
There you have it. Science is getting more convinced inflammation is playing a big role in the diseases that contribute to the most common health problems. While big Pharma may be looking for a drug to treat inflammation, you can manage inflammation and the associated health risks by avoiding or limiting these items in support of your health. What we don't eat can help us keep chronic inflammation in check.
Next time we'll go over things you should consider adding to, or increasing in your diet in support of your health!
Footnote: Trans fats would have made the list of foods we can do without, but because the link to heart disease was so strong the FDA banned them this year (yay!). We bring it up here, however, because this change, is helping to fuel a crisis for wild orangutans as many food manufacturers are turning to palm oil as a trans fat substitute. The increased demand for palm oil is fueling destruction of the rainforests where orangutans live.
Colorado's own Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is working to raise awareness about the palm oil crisis by providing an app so we can ensure the products we buy come from sustainable palm oil sources that don't devastate orangutan habitats--thank you CMZ!. Learn more and download the app here: Help Save the Orangutans