These Common Foods Are Actually Causing Gut Inflammation
By Yulli Agnes, MD, MBiomed (AAM)
Whether you're struggling with stubborn belly fat, concerning skin break-out or brain fog, you're likely dealing with low-level chronic inflammation's effects upon your body.
Inflammation is a complex process involving various cells and chemicals, a necessary part of our immune system. If a threat is detected by the immune system, chemicals like histamine are released that cause blood vessels to dilate, permitting white blood cells to arrive to clean up the area.
Inflammation can be activated acutely or long-term. Acute inflammation is the response in your body when dealing with an infection, bug bite, cut on the finger or a sprained ankle. Inflammation, without it, we would not heal. The best part about acute inflammation is that it goes away.
While inflammation can protect our health when it's an acute response, chronic inflammation is a different story. Many health concerns and illnesses are caused by the chronic activation of inflammatory pathways. These include brain fog, weight gain, faster aging, acne, autoimmunity, atherosclerosis of heart arteries and many more.
An important component to cultivating optimal health is to reduce chronic inflammation in the body. And what research is now showing is that our gut is the core center of optimal wellness.
More than half of our immune defenses are located in our gastrointestinal tract. And the foods that we eat everyday can be inflammatory and initiate a chronic response if eaten over and over, and other foods can be anti-inflammatory.
Here are the common food, other than gluten, that triggers gut inflammation:
You already know that sugar is bad — but did you know that it fans the flames of inflammation in your gut? When you eat sugar, it triggers the release of pro-inflammatory molecules called cytokines that stimulate the inflammation process. Sugar will feed the growth of yeast, candida and bad bacteria, which will further damage your gut.
2. Seed Oils
Oils like canola, corn, sunflower, safflower, and soybean—as well as margarine and vegetable fats—are highly processed and contain an unhealthy ratio of inflammatory omega-6 to anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, which kick-start the inflammatory process.
3. Processed & Pre-Packaged Foods
Not only they are lack of nutrition values and fibers, highly processed food contain unhealthy fats, free radicals and toxins (e.g. BPA), that burden to digestive and immune system.
4. Conventional Meat, Poultry and Dairy
It’s estimated that 75 percent of the adult population cannot properly digest dairy, and improper digestion and food intolerances are a major source of chronic inflammation. Also, conventional meat, poultry and dairy contain antibiotics, artificial hormones and chemicals that can disrupt the balance of our gut environment.
5. Unsprouted Grains, Nuts, Beans and Seeds
The problem with unsprouted grains, nuts, beans and seeds is that they contain large amounts of nutrient blocker or anti-nutrients called phytic acid and lectins. Phytic acid inhibits our digestive enzymes that breaks down starch and protein. Lectins are sugar-binding proteins that gravitate and attach to your digestive lining, it damages your gut and causes inflammation. Lectins are found in many foods, not just grains, and consumed in smaller amounts, your body will do just fine with them. But foods that have large amounts of lectins are more problematic.
6. Nightshades Vegetables
Nightshade vegetables are part of the Solanaceae plant family, contain alkaloids that can cause gut inflammation. Nightshade vegetables are completely healthy for most people, but for a few it can act as a trigger similar to wheat or dairy and cause major immune reactions. The main edible nightshade members include potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, bell peppers, cayenne pepper and okra.
Taking care of your gut may be one of the single most important things you can do for your health. Try kicking inflammatory foods out of your diet and see what happens. It may take a few weeks or even a few months, but you will feel healthier.