Inflammation is part of your body’s immune response to protect you from foreign invaders and promote healing. Without inflammation, which is part of your immune system’s self-healing defense, wounds and infections could result in damage to tissues and even lead to death. Acute inflammation enhances healing; however, chronic inflammation can lead to chronic pain and many diseases. Today, we look at the foods that contribute to chronic inflammation. Their removal can improve your situation.
Chronic inflammation damages our bodies in several ways. According to Dr. David Jockers, one of the endorsers of my book, it increases our risk of heart disease, memory loss and cognitive decline. It promotes the abnormal growth of cells and contributes to an unhealthy gut, joint pain and loss of mobility. Chronic inflammation is the “common soil” that plays a role in metabolic syndrome (which 90 percent of Americans have), non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, type 2 diabetes, asthma, obesity, and oh yes, the disease that befell me—cancer!
According to the CDC, chronic inflammation results in seven out of ten of the leading causes of death. Cytokines are proteins secreted by your immune system that regulate your immune response. Sugar and some other foods cause the body to release cytokines in excess. According to Dr. Jill Carnahan, COVID-19 cases that escalate into critical levels all have something in common—an excess accumulation of cytokines and immune cells in the lung tissues caused by a cytokine storm.
The causes of inflammation are eating inflammatory foods, chronic stress, inadequate sleep, high toxic load, blood sugar imbalances, unhealthy gut, and chronic infections. One of the top causes of chronic inflammation in our day is clearly inflammatory foods.
The Arthritis Foundation lists the following food ingredients that can cause an inflammatory response:
Refined carbohydrates and fried foods
Omega-6 (not 3) fatty acids
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
Dr. David Jockers adds to this list:
Food additives and preservatives
Conventional meat and dairy products (GMO’s, hormones and antibiotics from grain-fed animals are highly inflammatory)
Also added to this list would be any food you personally are allergic to.
Unfortunately, the Standard American Diet (SAD) is linked to chronic inflammation and many diseases. I used to be a card-carrying member of SAD, but no more. I’ve learned my lessons from the School of Hard Knocks (SHK). Someone needs to give me a degree from the SHK. When chronic inflammation overwhelms our immune system, it overreacts. This results in more white blood cells, changes in cells, and eventually tissue and organ damage. When we remove inflammatory foods, we can reduce our risk for many chronic diseases.
In my next blog post, we’ll look at the top anti-inflammatory foods.
Cancer was my wake-up call that warned me my lifestyle and diet needed to change. The research clearly shows that lifestyle changes make a difference in our health. What wake up calls have you had? What changes do you need to make?
For Your Health,
Ginny (the former “Junk Food Queen”)