As we get older, our bodies don’t always keep up. Muscles aren’t as strong as they used to be, skin gets looser, belly fat increases, and joints aren’t as flexible as we’d like them to be. The modern diet, filled with inflammatory foods, doesn’t help much either.
As they say: “The body ages much faster than the mind”. Nothing is more true when it comes to your joints. Years of daily wear and tear (and a few injuries) can make your joints ages before their time. This translates to chronic pain, mobility issues, and swelling. The most common causes of joint pain are inflammatory conditions like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and bursitis (1).
What Is Inflammation?
Inflammation, according to Web MD “ is a process by which the body’s white blood cells and substances they produce protect us from infection with foreign organisms, such as bacteria and viruses.”(2) Chronic inflammation occurs when the immune system triggers an inflammatory response when there are no invaders to fight off. This lead the body to attack its own tissues.
Arthritis, an inflammatory condition of the joints, is characterized by:
- Swollen joint that’s sometimes warm to the touch
- Joint pain
- Joint stiffness
- Loss of joint function
Inflammation occurs when white blood cells release chemicals that increase blood flow to the site of infection or injury. This makes the area tender, swollen, and hot. In a healthy body, the extra blood promotes wound healing. However, when inflammation occurs in a healthy joint, cartilage slowly breaks down in response.
Inflammation and Disease
Although inflammation is part of your body’s natural healing system, too much of it isn’t great.
In fact, systemic inflammation is the root cause od many health conditions, including Alzheimer’s, heart attacks, Type 2 diabetes and much, much more. Cytokines and C-reactive protein (CRP) are the two main compounds responsible for all this damage (3).
Other inflammatory diseases include (4):
- Lung issues
- Bone problems
- Heart disease
- Anger disorders
So what causes inflammation, you may ask. Well, lack of sleep, stress, dehydration, smoking, drinking alcohol, visceral fat and gut bacteria imbalance are all contributing factors. But the main cause -and the most easily reversible-is eating an inflammatory diet (5).
Top 13 Foods that Cause Inflammation
Here are the top inflammatory foods you should avoid. If your diet contains inflammation triggers, learn how to replace these with anti-inflammatory foods below!
Excessive sugar intake causes tooth decay and increases your risks of obesity, inflammation and chronic diseases such as metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. Sugar also feed bad bacteria and cancer cells, giving your immune system a hard time. Because it’s excessively acidic, sugar directly causes inflammation too (6).
Find them in: Sugar-sweetened beverages like soft drinks, fruit drinks and punches. Sweets like pastries, desserts, candies and snacks, and other processed foods are an issue too.
Substitute: Opt for natural sweeteners like maple syrup, agave nectar, honey, or blackstrap molasses. If your sweet tooth bothers you every day, snack on some fresh berries or all-natural dried fruits for fix your craving.