Inflammation is an underlying factor in various chronic diseases, and it’s also linked to premature aging. While inflammation is your body’s way of healing damage, it’s problematic when it goes from a temporary response to a lasting, low-grade state.
Even in situations such as arthritis, you can take steps to lower inflammation. Diet is one area where you have the control to make some beneficial changes.
The team at Monarque Health and Wellness Center in Ashland, Oregon, is here to support you in your wellness journey. We take a patient-centered approach to health care and consider you as a whole person.
Good nutrition reduces the risk of disease, improves well-being, and in some cases helps manage chronic conditions. Take a moment to learn more about diet and inflammation.
Inflammation is an essential component to your body’s defense system. If you sustain an injury or encounter a pathogen, your immune system activates, releasing inflammatory substances, which act as first responders.
Problems ensue when inflammation becomes chronic. When this happens, the body releases inflammatory substances even when there is no danger. Certain foods and dietary habits contribute to inflammation and may affect your health in unexpected ways.
Fortunately, we don’t have to shoot in the dark when it comes to the impact of your diet and habits on your inflammation levels. We can measure common inflammatory markers, such as c-reactive protein (CRP). This gives us an idea of your baseline inflammation.
Our wellness experts work closely with you to create an individualized nutrition and wellness plan to reduce inflammation and help you reach and maintain optimal wellness.
Eating at night
The time you eat influences inflammation. Eating large meals between 5pm and midnight increases CRP, according to a study published in the journal PLOS One in 2015. Nighttime fasting gives your body the opportunity to renew and rejuvenate.
Eating large meals late in the evening or at night appears to interfere with the vital time your body needs to recover, which may increase inflammation. The more calories you consume in the late evening, the higher the inflammatory markers, according to the study.
Eating too much processed and red meat
Certain foods contain advanced glycation end (AGE) products that are formed during the cooking process. For example, oils, butter, margarine, mayonnaise, and red meat contain high levels of AGEs.
Eating too many AGEs can promote inflammation, and red meat is one of the food groups with the highest levels of AGEs.
The levels of AGEs in a food are also directly affected by the cooking method; grilling, broiling, and pan-frying are linked to increased levels of AGEs. Cooking meat, especially red meat, with these methods may have inflammatory effects.
Consuming hidden sugars
Refined sugar is a known driver of inflammation. A diet high in added sugar is linked to obesity, insulin resistance, and heart disease.
Sources of added sugar aren’t always obvious. Refined sugar lurks in granola bars, pasta sauces, applesauce, and smoothies, to name a few. It’s always a good idea to check nutrition labels, even for foods marketed as healthy.
Indulging in too many refined carbs
Like added sugars, refined carbohydrates may contribute to inflammation. They break down rapidly, causing blood sugar to rise quickly and sharply. Large spikes in blood sugar trigger an inflammatory response, and repeated surges may cause low-grade inflammation.
Examples of refined carbohydrates include:
- Pizza dough
- White bread
- White flour
- White rice
Complex carbohydrates are a better option. Foods containing complex carbs such as oatmeal, sweet potatoes, and whole grains break down more slowly, causing a gradual and less dramatic rise in blood sugar.
We’re excited to help you discover the many health benefits of good nutrition, and you never have to go it alone. Our experts have the knowledge and experience to guide you on your wellness journey.
To get started, give us a call to schedule an appointment with one of our providers. We look forward to working with you.