Last week we posted Inflammatory Foods Part 1: Sugar and Gluten. This we take a brief look at two more: dairy and alcohol. To review, inflammation: An immune response from our bodies in aims to protect us from a harmful irritant**. Although everyone reacts to certain foods 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.
Part 2: Inflammatory Foods
Dairy: Yes, all those delicious cheeses or creams that enlighten the taste buds can certainly cause some inflammation for many people. To start, many dairy products contain a high level of saturated fat, which consumed in high quantities, begins to cause some irritation to our digestive tract. Further, many people may not produce enough lactase in their bodies to break down the amount of lactose in dairy, thus causing inflammation or sometimes irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Yes, that delicious cheesy goodness is now causing the not so goodness of bloating, gassiness or trips to the bathroom!
Tip: There are several options for replacing dairy in your diet. For example, opting for a cashew, almond, coconut or soy milk as a replacement for cow’s milk.
Another inflammatory culprit: alcohol. When taking in alcohol in excess, Alcohol causes damage to liver cells, which regularly creates the substances our bodies need to remove toxins; your body will put digesting and absorbing nutrients from food on hold, so that it can break down the alcohol molecules first. In addition, regular and/or long-term use of alcohol can create imbalances in the gut, which prevent us from absorbing nutrients from foods in the future. Lastly, alcohol weakens the immune system temporarily, but long-term damage can lead to a liver that is unable to remove toxins regularly.
Tip: If anticipating an occasion where taking in alcohol is going to be consumed, aim for nutrient-dense meals, including fiber, and hydrate all day leading up to the event! Your body will need the nutrients, and can also prevent those late night after hour appetites after a few boozy beverages.
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**If you suspect severe inflammation or other concerning symptoms, seek the attention of a medical professional