Posts Tagged ‘chronic inflammation’

Inflammation and Your Diet

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

You probably think of inflammation as redness or swelling that you can see and feel, when in fact, it can occur throughout the body, including in the digestive tract and the arteries. Inflammation is the immune system’s response to damage within the body, and chronic inflammation has been linked to many diseases, including cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

Inflammation often begins in the gut. The gastrointestinal tract is the hub for the immune system, because it’s the elimination center for viruses and bacteria that enter the body through food. The digestive system is also sensitive to the toxins and chemicals that people ingest daily and if not properly balanced can lead to problems such as IBS, hemorrhoids or ulcers. Although foods are not the only cause of inflammation in the body, changing your diet can help your body repair itself and improve your health.

Inflammation DietPeople with heart disease, cancer, colitis, arthritis and other inflammatory diseases can benefit from an anti-inflammatory diet. Individuals who are at risk for these diseases can help prevent illness through an anti-inflammatory diet. Foods like polyunsaturated oils, trans fats and sugar can increase inflammation. Common allergens such as casein, which is found in dairy, and gluten, which is found in wheat, can also lead to an inflammatory response by the immune system. Eating fresh fruits, vegetables, wild fish and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acid help boost the immune system and reduce inflammation. Ginger and turmeric have healing properties as well.

People who are having trouble losing weight may be suffering from an inflammatory imbalance. Eating 100 calories worth of inflammatory foods has a much different effect on the body than eating 100 calories worth of foods that reduce inflammation. The unhealthy foods can increase insulin and glucose levels, which can cause the body to hold onto extra weight. Eating right isn’t just about eating fewer calories and less fat; it involves maintaining a balanced immune system.

Gastrointestinal issues such as irritable bowel syndrome, bloating, gas, constipation and diarrhea are often caused or exacerbated by inflammation. Eating foods that trigger an immune response can make symptoms worse. Many people are sensitive to eggs, soy, nuts, gluten and dairy. If these foods cause an inflammatory response in the digestive tract, it could wreak havoc on the entire immune system. An imbalanced gut can make it harder for a person to heal from any illness. Keeping the body balanced with diet is key to curbing inflammation and leading a healthier lifestyle.

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