Bowel is Not a Dumping Ground
Most people become anxious or even aggravated when asked to incorporate a change in their eating habits. Worse, if they’re asked to avoid or eliminate their favorite foods. I often hear hallmark responses such as “But surely, I must be allowed to eat bread- It’s my staple food and I could never feel full-enough without it” and “But sugar makes me feel good and gives me energy- I believe I need it”. Well, if truth be told- you don’t! Consuming foods that have repeatedly given you symptoms will only aggravate your levels of inflammation. On the contrary, eliminating foods that are harmful to your condition and incorporating foods that are anti-inflammatory can help you nip inflammation in its bud.
Allergy or Intolerance- Know Your Sore Points
The terms food intolerance and allergy can mean different things to different people. Allergens are foods that act as your trigger factors- foods that stimulate an immediate inflammatory response, irrespective of the portions you have them in. An allergic response to food usually occurs when your body’s immune system recognizes it as potentially harmful.
On the contrary, food intolerance is not triggered by an alert or an overactive immune system. In fact, most often, large quantities of intolerant food has to be ingested for it to trigger a response.
Sometimes however, you can become sensitive to foods that cause food intolerance. For instance, some people can be sensitive to particular foods because they lack the right digestive enzymes to digest it. So if you lack the digestive enzyme lactase, you’re more likely to be lactose intolerant.
Testing For Allergies and Food Intolerance
While there are a wide range of tests that “claim” to identify and differentiate allergens from food-intolerance, very few have shown substantial proof to validate their claim. Your best bet is to stay tuned to your body’s responses. Remember that when it comes to food allergies and intolerance- you are your best judge.
If you feel that you’re particularly allergic or intolerant to certain foods, have it in restricted quantities first to rule out any assumptions. However, if the responses persist, stop consuming it.
Here are some foods that cause inflammation. It might help to keep an eye on them while monitoring your responses to other foods as well.
Foods that are high in sugar tend to be high in calories and low in essential nutrients. While they might be delicious ingredients to include into your favorite recipes, processed sugars contain cytokines that trigger the release of inflammatory responses in your body.
2. Saturated Fats
Foods rich in saturated fats trigger fat tissues called adipose which cause inflammation. In addition to inflammation, foods rich in saturated fat (such as pizzas, cheese, red meat, full-fat dairy products, pasta and grain-based desserts) also trigger the onset of a host of diseases such as heart ailments, arthritis inflammation, obesity and even cancer.
Trans- fats cause inflammation and are found in frozen foods, fried foods, processed foods, cookies, donuts, and crackers.
As a stimulant, caffeine can give you the “kick” you need to get through a long and busy day. However, it also acts as an irritant to the bowel and can trigger inflammation. What’s more, excessive amounts of caffeine can exacerbate symptoms of inflammation in IBS and IBD patients.
Alcohol causes inflammation. It can also contribute to diarrhea, abdominal discomfort and indigestion (also recognized as heartburn).
6. Mono-Sodium Glutamate
Mono-sodium glutamate (MSG) enhances flavor in food and is commonly used in Asian cuisine. The substance also triggers chronic inflammation if consumed often enough.
7. Gluten and Casein
Gluten and casein promote symptoms of inflammation. While wheat, rye and barley contain gluten, most whey protein products contain casein.
In Pursuit of an Anti-Inflammation Diet
Given that inflammation is most often the root cause of all other health problems, nipping it in the bud will help strengthen the gut and bounce off any secondary disease. Simply avoiding foods that cause inflammation can alleviate inflammation and give you the results you’re looking for.