Inflammation: A Leading Cause of Weight Gain
What makes us gain weight? Most people would immediately say that consuming more calories than we eat is the cause. And that is definitely one reason. However, research is finding that there are other causes as well. One of them is our body’s inflammatory response to what we eat. If you are eating fewer calories, but these foods are creating inflammation in your body, this may be the reason the weight is not coming off.
Inflammation occurs when our bodies detect a foreign substance and go to work to defend the body against this “attack.” If we cut our finger, inflammation is a good thing to help fight off any germs that may enter through the cut. However chronic inflammation—that which lasts for extended periods of time—is dangerous. Our body may turn on itself and begin to attempt to destroy even good tissue. Many diseases such as arthritis, allergies, and asthma are due to chronic inflammation. Researchers are finding that inflammation may be at the root of nearly all diseases we face.
So what can we do to keep these inflammatory responses down? One of the biggest culprits in chronic inflammation is the food we eat:
- Watch for foods that end in “ose.” These substances are sugar in disguise.
- White flour, rice, and potatoes
- Saturated Fats. The biggest source of these is pizza and full-fat dairy.
- These are found in fast foods and fried foods. Watch out for foods containing “partially hydrogenated oils.”
- This is a neurotoxin, so if you are sensitive to it, it will trigger an inflammatory response
- They are prone to molds and fungus which can trigger inflammatory responses.
Instead of these foods, replace them with foods loaded with anti-oxidants and polyphenols—protective compounds found in plants.
- Fruits—especially berries, cherries, and oranges, and raisins
- Green, leafy vegetables—kale, arugula, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, or wasabi
- Yellow vegetables such as sweet potatoes, pumpkin, cantaloupe, and carrots
- Nuts—any nuts will have Omega 3’s, but walnuts have the most.
- Whole grains
- Fish—all fish has benefit; salmon is the best choice
- Healthy oils
- Herbs and spices—rosemary, thyme, tumeric, oregano, and cinnamon. Basil is especially good because it can be eaten fresh.
- Tea—green, white, or black
As a general rule, the closer to nature we can get with our foods the better. Try eliminating the offending foods for a week and replacing them with healthier choices. Let us know what difference you notice!