What Is Inflammation?
Inflammation is a normal response of the body to injury, cellular death or some invading germ which causes illness or infection. It is characterized by redness, heat, swelling and pain. Under normal circumstances it is a reaction that happens to help your body heal. Hormones cause the spaces between cells to widen so more nutrients can be brought to the site of injury to aid in healing. Those spaces fill with fluid and swelling occurs. Circulation to the area increases to bring in the healing nutrients. This causes increased heat and redness at the site. White blood cells rush in to fight off any invading germs. However, this process may irritate the nerves, causing pain. Increased pain causes you to protect that site from further injury while it heals.
What Causes Inflammation?
Inflammation is caused by a wide variety of factors. These include:
- Our Standard American Diet which is high in processed meats, refined grains, refined fats, sugars and diet drinks. All of these foods cause inflammation.
- Food allergies and sensitivities also contribute to inflammation.
- Stress plays a pivotal role.
- Environmental toxins like air pollution, food additives, pesticides, heavy metal poisoning and ionizing radiation contribute to inflammation.
- Chronic dehydration caused by over-consumption of sodas or caffeine.
- Lack of exercise.
- Lack of sleep, and
- Obesity makes inflammation worse.
Are There Any Foods That Cause Inflammation?
Foods containing these ingredients cause inflammation:
- Artificial sweeteners
- Desserts made with refined ingredients such as white flour, and sugar
- Meats (especially red meats and processed meats)
- Refined flour
- Partially hydrogenated vegetable shortening
- Cooking oils such as Corn, Soy, Sunflower, and Grape Seed
How Can I Get Rid of Inflammation?
Eat more high-nutrient foods such as whole, plant-based foods. These foods heal inflammation.
Avoid processed foods and food additives. Eat less red meat, whole-fat dairy, cheese and processed meats. Avoid foods to which you are sensitive or allergic. Avoid sugar, refined oils/fats, refined grains diet sodas, caffeine, alcohol and smoking.
The Bottom Line
Local, acute inflammation can be healthful. But when it involves the whole body or becomes chronic it causes significant damage to your body organs and makes diabetes worse.
- Avoid alcohol, smoking, caffeine and sugar.
- Get 8 hours of sleep a night.
- Manage your stress.
- Concentrate on eating more of the healing foods and avoid eating the highly inflammatory foods.
- Click on this link to view or print your copy of our Food Choice List.
- To see the relative impact of those food groups on inflammation, click this link to view or print a copy of the Food Choice Graph.
For more information, click here.
For those looking for a report on a scientific study, watch this video by Dr. Michael Greger.
Here’s recent information from several studies reported by the Cleveland Clinic’s diabetes educators.