Inflammation: An immune response from our bodies in aims to protect us from a harmful irritant**. Often times, Inflammation from foods are often hard to identify, and many people walk around in this state on a daily basis, and it can appear in many different ways. For some, it’s as “regular” as feeling bloated or gassy, for others, it could show up as a skin rash or a visible redness on the surface; everyone reacts to different foods and their ingredients differently. Being aware of some of the most common inflammatory foods can help us understand our bodies and how we fuel for them on a daily basis.

Our first big culprit: sugar. Most American diets over-eat sugar due to its hidden presence in “everyday”, processed foods, sodas, baked goods, and even in “healthy” foods such as granola bars, peanut butters, or cereal. Further, sugar has many detrimental effects on several physiological systems in our bodies which essentially weaken our ability to fight against illness, and worse, get us craving for more. Here’s a quick visual of what happens when we eat/overeat sugar:

Tip: Be mindful of the sugar that is hidden in some of those processed, boxed, or packaged foods – they can be sneaky! If taking in sugar, try to ingest them from natural sources such as fresh fruit.

Another inflammatory ingredient for some is: gluten. Gluten is a protein substance that is found in certain grains such as wheat, barley, rye, and for some people: can cause inflammation due to the inability to digest the substance. Many products and companies advertise ”gluten free” products, but they aren’t always “healthy”! Some of these products can contain other non-natural ingredients and sugars as well.

Tip: Gluten sensitivities vs. gluten intolerances vs. gluten allergies all have different levels of reactions, where allergies are the most severe. Practicing an elimination diet, where omitting a certain ingredient such as gluten for several months, and re-introducing it back into the system is a great way to evaluate your body’s response to the eliminated food.

Be on the lookout for next week’s post on two additional inflammatory foods!

**If you suspect severe inflammation or other concerning symptoms, seek the attention of a medical professional