The major causes of chronic inflammation are: inflammatory diet, blood sugar imbalances, leaky gut syndrome, chronic stress, poor sleep habits, environmental toxins and chronic infections
Inflammatory Diet – One of the top causes of modern-day chronic inflammation is an inflammatory diet low in nutrients. Certain foods are known to trigger the immune system and result in the over-production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and the under-production of anti-inflammatory cytokines (cytokines are proteins secreted by your immune system that regulate your immune response). (1)
Inflammatory foods include: sugar, refined carbohydrates, trans fat, omega-6 fatty acids mono-sodium glutamate (MSG), gluten, casein, aspartame, and alcohol. In addition, foods that a person is allergic or sensitive to may also contribute to chronic inflammation. (2) This would also include refined grains, whole grains, deep fried foods, processed foods, most packaged foods, grain-fed meats/eggs, soda pop, and some oils (margarine, corn, safflower, sunflower, soybean).
Anti-inflammatory foods include: Grass/pasture fed meats and chicken, raw nuts, green tea, vegetables and fruits, turmeric, wild-caught fish, bone/vegetable broth, apple cider vinegar, ginger, good fats (organic extra virgin olive oil, organic coconut oil, grass-fed butter/ghee, dark chocolate, organic free-range eggs, herbs, garlic.
The Standard American Diet (SAD), typically lacks organic greens, vegetables and fruits, and relies heavily on processed food, refined sugars, starches and unhealthy fats. Therefore, it is very low in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber which is essential for healthy digestion and detoxification. The SAD diet has been linked to an increased risk of many health conditions: diabetes, arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and cancer, to name a few. (3)
To reduce inflammation, move away from a SAD diet, to an anti-inflammatory diet that is rich in organic whole foods, such as greens, vegetables, fruits, anti-inflammatory herbs, good fats, and high-quality animal products. Doing these three steps right now will greatly increase your health and energy: reduce sugar and grains, stop bad fat, add in more good fat, and eat more grass-fed meats/wild caught seafood.
My next post will cover blood sugar imbalances and how it contributes to chronic inflammation.
1. Giugliano, D, Ceriello, A, Esposito, K. The effects of diet on inflammation: emphasis on the metabolic syndrome. J Am Coll Cardiol.
2. 8 food ingredients that cause inflammation. Arthritis Foundation
3. Willett, W, Nugent, R., Dusenbury, C, Puska, P, Gaziano, TA. Prevention of Chronic Disease by Means of Diet and Lifestyle Changes. Disease Control Priorities in Developing Countries.