Inflammation is huge buzzword in the nutrition world these days. Plenty of books , articles, and apps offer inflammation indices, list of anti-inflammatory and pro-inflammatory foods and anti-inflammatory menu plans.
And there are plenty of supplements claiming to be anti-inflammatory. Why is inflammation so bad?
Inflammation is disruptive. It can block chemical signals required for normal, healthy cellular growth. Inflammation also tends to generate its own signals that tell our bodies to store fat.
You could say that healthy foods will educate your cells so they’ll grow up to be useful members of your physiology while pro-inflammatory foods trick individual cells into doing things that are dangerous for the body as whore.
The tendency for processed foods to cause inflammation is one big reason we have to go beyond the calorie content listed on the package to understand how the foods we eat will make us gain or lose weight.
Instead of focusing on calories, if we look at the signals different meals generate, we can readily understand why processed foods make us build fat and why the Human Diet helps us to lose it.
Foods that inflame:
Try to avoid or limit these foods as much as possible:
- refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and pastries
- French fries and other fried foods
- soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages
- red meat (burgers, steaks) and processed meat (hot dogs, sausage)
- margarine, shortening, and lard
To reduce levels of inflammation, aim for an overall healthy diet. If you’re looking for an eating plan that closely follows the tenets of anti-inflammatory eating, consider the Mediterranean diet, which is high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, fish, and healthy oils.
In addition to lowering inflammation, a more natural, less processed diet can have noticeable effects on your physical and emotional health. “A healthy diet is beneficial not only for reducing the risk of chronic diseases, but also for improving mood and overall quality of life,” Dr. Hu * says.
*Dr. Frank Hu | Professor of Nutrition and Epidemiology, Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Channing Division of Network Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
- Deep Nutrition by Catherine Shanahan, MD
- Harvard Health Publishing – Harvard Medical School