How Does Food Cause Inflammation
Did you know that there are some foods, more than others, that contribute to inflammation? We don’t need to eat perfectly; we just need to make sure that we’re eating some anti-inflammatory foods every day to counterbalance what we do eat.
So, how does your diet cause inflammation AND what kinds of foods contribute to that inflammation?
When you eat refined sugars and saturated fats, that kicks off the inflammatory response in the body which continues to build until there is physiological breakdown. That’s when you start noticing body pain, headaches, chronic fatigue, depression, gut issues, weight gain, and frequent infections.
When you eat a high sugar diet, fluctuations in your blood sugar causes the brain’s immune cells, called microglia, to become activated and this prompts an inflammatory chain of events in the brain leading to accelerated brain aging.
And those saturated fatty acids from fried foods and processed meats? Well, they trigger the expression of inflammatory genes and contribute to obesity-related chronic low-level inflammation.
Front Neurosci, Mar 2019
By the way, if you’ve ever wanted to find out JUST how inflamed you are…check out my YOUTUBE clip on measuring inflammation.
Alright, then, let’s learn about 5 foods that can help lower inflammation:
#1 High fiber ancient grains like quinoa, millet, and amaranth can help stabilize blood sugar and decrease levels of inflammatory promoters called interleukins. Even small elevations in blood sugar levels can promote systemic inflammation AND increase circulating levels of IGF-1, which helps cancer cells to develop and progress. So replacing highly refined white rice in your recipes with ancient grains is a great first step in controlling blood sugar levels.
Kidney Inf, Feb 2012
#2 There’s evidence that probiotics found in yogurt can support the remission of inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis by creating a barrier of healthy gut microbes so that inflammatory bacteria don’t reach the intestinal wall. You can eat yogurt from the dairy aisle of your grocery or choose probiotics. In fact, I have a youtube clip on how to choose the best probiotic to help you with this. And if you don’t care for either of those options? Try eating fermented vegetables instead.
Curr Clin Pharmacol, Dec 2020
#3 Eating a daily dose of prunes may counteract a pro-inflammatory pathway that contributes to bone loss, and eating 2-3 prunes a day has been shown to reduce the risk of osteoporosis in post-menopausal women. I am so impressed with prunes as a perfect swap for traditional blueberries that I have two youtube clips featuring prunes – one is a delicious smoothie recipe you will LOVE… and the other clip talking about the best fruit for bone health. So head over to my YOUTUBE channel and find those.
YouTube: DrKim Cancer Nutrition IQ
Exper Bio, Apr 2022
#4 Once just an old wives’ tale, current evidence suggests that antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds called polyphenols in tart cherry juice can decrease LDL (bad cholesterol) and reduce systolic blood pressure—both products of inflammation. So instead of drinking your typical juices, drink just 2 T of concentrated tart cherry juice OR—even better– consider a whole food plant powder that contains tart cherries. The dietitians at CNIQ have selected the most science-based plant powder that contributed many plant chemicals including tart cherry polyphenols.
Nutrients, Feb 2019
#5. Kaempferol, a nutrient found in leafy greens, may delay the initiation and progression of neurodegenerative disorders like dementia by soaking up free radicals and decreasing inflammation. Researchers found adults who ate 1/2 cup cooked or 1 cup raw kale, spinach, or arugula daily slowed brain function decline, and their brains worked like they were 11 years younger. So swap out those lighter greens like romaine and iceberg for one of these dark kaempferol-rich leafy veggies.
Neurology, Jan 2018
If there was one dietary pattern I would suggest for anti-inflammatory benefits, it would be the Mediterranean Diet, rich in olives, nuts, fish, and avocadoes. The Mediterranean diet also downregulates the immune system pathways associated with chronic diseases like cancer. So watch that sugar and saturated fat intake, consider supplementing with plant powders for consistent anti-inflammatory benefits and eat more plants, nuts, and seeds.
Biomedicines, Jul 2020