Foods that Increase Inflammation

A few weeks ago, I took a look at inflammation in the body and how it affects your appetite.

What is inflammation? Basically, inflammation is when your immune system kicks into overdrive. Something sends your body into defense mode, and that’s a problem — your immune system cells stay activated when they aren’t needed. Inflammation can be a warning sign for heart disease (it can weaken artery walls in your heart) and other serious health issues! Inflammation can also trigger major medical problems.

Certain foods can make things worse. On the positive side (if there is a positive side here), the inflammation inducing foods are foods that we already know are bad:

  • Saturated fats
  • Trans-fatty acids
  • Refined starches
  • Refined sugars

It’s no coincidence that some of the foods you should avoid to keep your cholesterol low — saturated fats and trans fats — are foods you should avoid to keep your inflammation low. LDL (bad) cholesterol can encourage inflammation in the body. When LDL cholesterol accumulates in artery walls, it begins to undergo chemical changes. This signals the immune system to go into overdrive.

Refined starches and sugars contribute to inflammation because they contribute to high blood sugar. If your blood glucose level is too high, it can encourage chemical changes to LDL cholesterol.

It’s a vicious cycle, isn’t it? The best thing you can do to protect your body and heart is work on lowering your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Without dangerous levels of LDL cholesterol in your body, you are less likely to suffer from chronic inflammation.

And by the way — body fat is also a source of inflammation. Losing weight and increasing your fitness level can help reduce inflammation in the body. Another thing you can do (with your doctor’s approval, of course) is take a low daily dose of aspirin. Aspirin is a good overall anti-inflammatory agent.