Food can be a source of inflammation through allergens, bacteria or other toxins. The body can also see foods that "don't agree" with its biochemistry which causes your whole body to start attacking these "foreign invaders," thus causing more inflammation in the bloodstream, Sadie Wells, RD, LDN, CPT, says.
Similarly, she adds, eating unhealthy food is like having a chronic infection that triggers an immune response which then causes inflammation.
Generally speaking, a diet high in trans-fatty acids, saturated fats, sugar and refined carbohydrates contributes to chronic inflammation, Nicole Simonin, a health and fitness expert at Shape it Up, says. Consuming too much sugar and refined carbohydrates can flood the blood stream of glucose which causes the body to send out cytokines which contributes to inflammation, she adds.
In addition to sugar, other high glycemic foods usually tops the list of worst offenders mainly due to prevalence in the diet, Wells says. “Sugar is everywhere—in soda, coffee drinks, candy, cereal, baked snack foods, desserts, and a whole host of foods you wouldn't normally suspect such as condiments such as yogurt, bread, and even ‘healthy’ beverages.”
Any food that your body is intolerant or allergic to can also be a significant source of inflammation; and low grade inflammation is a factor in most health issues.
Moderation is key to avoiding problems. “The majority of your foods should come from whole, completely natural foods,” Simonin says. “Not foods made in a petri dish that are mostly chemicals or genetically modified.”
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