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Anywhere you go today in the United States you will see that at least half of our population is overweight or obese. What you don’t see are the underlying health conditions this population faces every day: diabetes, asthma, heart disease, multiple types of arthritis, high blood pressure, acne, and irritable bowel syndrome, just to name a few.
One of the main culprits, or causes, for all of these health issues could be a diet high in inflammatory foods. In order to lessen inflammation and defeat chronic illnesses, there is a simple fix. Change your diet.
What Is Inflammation?
Inflammation is a normal process that our body uses to fight off bacteria, viruses, any foreign invaders, and infection using our natural defense system. It’s how we heal or how our damaged tissues are repaired.
When Inflammation Becomes A Problem
Inflammation becomes a problem when the body “triggers an inflammatory response when there are no foreign invaders to fight off. In these diseases, called autoimmune diseases, the body's normally protective immune system causes damage to its own tissues (WebMD, 2016).”
Even with diseases that are not autoimmune, there can still be overreaction by the body in the form of inflammation. In this instance, the body is constantly trying to heal tissues in a certain area.
In both types of inflammation there is a strong link between foods that are consumed and the inflammation. When people consume diets high in sugar, high in fat, high in calories, and full of highly processed foods, the stage is set for chronic illness including:
- Heart attacks
- Memory loss
- Vascular dementia
- Peripheral artery disease
- And more…
What can we do about this growing epidemic?
Change our dieting patterns.
What’s Known About Diet
Dr. Nicholas Perricone, a nutritionist who wrote a book about anti-inflammatory eating, recognized that regardless of where a disease originated and its cause, anti-inflammatories often solved the problem or at least diminished the symptoms (Effects, 2016).
Diet is a key factor in chronic disease prevention. With all the readily available information about the foods we consume, one would think that people would be able to decipher between choices that are healthy and unhealthy, inflammatory and anti-inflammatory, and make the right food choices. However, labels are misleading and unclear or maybe people eat based on life-long habits.
American diets are extremely high in sugar, and one of the biggest offending foods on the inflammatory list is sugar. Tons of products on your local grocery store shelves are saturated in the sweet stuff, and they may not be the ones you are thinking of.
Watch the short video, Sugar, Hiding in Plain Sight by Robert Lustig. I included a link at the end of the article.
- Misleading, Unclear Labels – Have you ever read a label and could not pronounce the ingredients? If the food label has ingredients that you can’t pronounce, don’t eat it!
- According to Lustig (2014), sugar goes by 56 different names on nutrition labels. Would you be able to pick out even 10 of those names?
- Habitual Eating – Old habits die hard. Have you ever seen a two-year-old toddler running around with a soda and cringed? Sugar becomes a bad habit, and when we start kids at 2 with poor eating habits, it’s really going to be difficult for them to break the bad cycle later in their lives.
Bottom line is that we must take care of ourselves. Raw food diets, Mediterranean style eating, or eating produce that you don’t have to read a label is the best way to eat.