How Inflammation Can be the Enemy of Your Weight Loss
The story of inflammation is one of “too much of a good thing”. The absolutely wonderful thing about inflammation is that it helps your body heal after an injury like a cut or a sprain.
While we think of it as painful and uncomfortable, inflammation’s pain and swelling that happens when you twist your knee, or get a sliver under your skin, are all part of your body’s defence system doing its job to prevent further injury and fight off any nasty germs that might have come in on the sliver.
When there is a threat to your health, either a pathogen, like viruses or bacteria, or an injury, like the twisted knee, your body identifies the threat and triggers the appropriate response. In the case of the sliver, the threat could be both from a pathogen on the wood, and the injury caused by the sliver.
Once the threat has been identified, your body sends in the ‘troops’, including healing oxygen, proteins to rebuild tissue and killer white blood cells to attack the pathogens, all carried by increased blood flow to the area.
When the affected area heals, the inflammation response goes away and everything returns to normal.
When Inflammation Becomes a Problem – Chronic Inflammation
Sometimes the inflammation response doesn’t go away and chronic inflammation results. Conditions like repetitive strain injuries, like carpal tunnel syndrome; arthritis, which triggers inflammation even though no real threat exists, and high-glycemic foods, those with simple carbohydrates that spike your blood sugar and trigger the production of insulin, can all produce chronic inflammation.
In addition to the scarring and nerve damage that can happen in an area of chronic inflammation because of your body’s ongoing effort to heal itself, chronic inflammation from eating the wrong foods can increase your resistance to insulin, which helps to manage your blood sugar, and hormones like leptin, which helps to manage your appetite.
The combination of insulin not being able to do its job properly and reduced appetite control can make it even more difficult for you to lose weight.
Foods That Cause Inflammation
Food can trigger inflammation in many ways. Overeating alone can cause inflammation. Some foods have inflammatory ingredients and others are simply foreign to your system. Here are a few of the foods that can cause inflammation:
Sugars and Artificial Sweeteners
Both sugar and artificial sweeteners boost your blood sugar levels and cause increased production of insulin, which, in turn, trigger inflammation.
Including white bread and baked goods made with refined flour, they can all be inflammatory and increase insulin production.
Including French fries, fried chicken and fish sticks, have high levels of inflammatory compounds that are produced from cooking at high temperatures.
Meats like hamburger, and processed meats like cold cuts, hot dogs and sausage are high in saturated fats that can produce an inflammatory response.
Trans fats, which can be found in margarine, shortening and lard, do not occur naturally in food, so your body treats them as a foreign object, which can trigger inflammation.
Foods that Suppress Inflammation
Fortunately, you can very quickly reverse the effect of inflammatory foods by substituting them with foods that don’t cause inflammation, including the following.
An excellent source of lycopene, a known inflammation fighter.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Oleocanthal, which you can only get from extra virgin olive oil, reduces inflammation.
Green, Leafy Vegetables
Spinach, kale and collards, among others, protect the body against inflammation-causing compounds, like cytokines.
Omega 3 fatty acids help to fight inflammation and they are found in nuts like walnuts and almonds.
Salmon, mackerel and tuna are also great sources of omega 3s.
High anti-oxidant fruits, like strawberries, raspberries, oranges and blueberries, deliver anti-inflammatory compounds, like flavonoids.
If you would like to learn more about how to reduce the effect of chronic inflammation on your weight management, call or visit your local Herbal One Centre. Our nutritional counselors will not only offer helpful advice, but they can recommend herbal supplements, including our Ultra Joint Support, made with herbs that have been associated with having anti-inflammatory properties, to help keep your weight loss program on track.