Monday, December 13, 2010

The Sugar & Inflammation Link

There are two types of inflammation: classic and silent.

The usual treatment for classic inflammation is aspirin and steroids. For example, redness, swelling and pain caused by a sprained ankle or skin infection. This is actually the body’s first line of defense as it begins to repair itself. However, long term use of anti-inflammatory drugs can suppress the immune system, resulting in osteoporosis and heart failure.

Silent inflammation is below the threshold of pain. It is even more dangerous as it can go undetected for years, resulting in chronic disease, including obesity, type II diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, allergies, and asthma.


Yet another reason to cut out the junk food from your diet, is that new research has revealed links between sugar and inflammation. It seems that sugar greatly speeds inflammation.

Carbs:

There aren’t any drugs that can reverse silent inflammation. However, anti-inflammatory foods matched with a healthy lifestyle can be a great preventive measure. Controlling insulin, a natural hormone made by the pancreas, is the key to managing silent inflammation. Insulin levels are dependent on what you eat, particularly carbs, which makes the right food choices critical to maintaining good health.

Daily meals high in carbohydrates increases insulin levels, which leads to decreased blood sugar, and the feeling of constant hunger. Causing you to eat more, which leads to more fat consumption, and increased inflammation.

Still a diet completely low in carbs can result in an increase in the stress hormone cortisol, which breaks down muscle mass, decreases the effectiveness of insulin and depresses the immune system.

Studies indicate that the best diet for inflammation prevention is one that is not too high, and not too low in carbs. One that focuses on a moderate amount of carbohydrates, is ideal.

Dr. Andrew Weil, a Harvard trained natural and preventive medicine physician, believes that simple changes in how you eat can help counteract chronic inflammation. Follow Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet for optimal inflammation prevention and nutrition.

Alternatively, you may be interested in reading Dr. Barry Sears' The Anti-Inflammation Zone. He is the creator of the Zone Diet and feels that Americans eat too many foods rich in omega-6 fatty acids {processed and fast foods} and not enough Omega 3 oils {nuts, seeds, flax seed oil, and olive oil}. When the balance of omega-6 to omega-3 is out of sync, inflammation can occur.

After the Food:

Fighting inflammation isn't just about food, but an active, balanced lifestyle. Don't think of being on a 'diet' as a way to quickly loosing weight, by restricting yourself from eating particular things all together. Think of it as all around holistic wellness, and that you are choosing what to eat and what not to eat, in order to live your best life!
  • Exercise...even if it's just a short walk! Make it a habit
  • Maintain a healthy body weight
  • Watch your intake of refined carbohydrates
  • Eat a variety of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables
  • Eat good sources of omega-3 fatty acids
  • Get enough sleep
  • Use spices like ginger, curry & turmeric that have natural anti-inflammatory properties
  • Have protein at every meal
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Take some time out daily to relax, meditate and de-stress

4 comments:

  1. I had no idea there was a connection between foods and inflammation!

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  2. Thank you for this! I really need to cut out a lot of my sugar. I find I eat it and don't even want it.

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  3. Dee I read 'The Sugar Blues' years ago and wish I had taken the advice it contained about sugar. I might not have arthritis today.

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