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5 Anti-Inflammatory Diets You Should Try – Forbes Health

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Inflammation is a big buzzword in nutrition these days—and for good reason: About 60% of Americans have a condition caused by or complicated by chronic inflammation. However, an anti-inflammatory diet, which is a simple eating plan consisting of common foods found at the grocery store, can help tamp down those flames. 

What Is Inflammation? 

Cut your finger, and it might be a little swollen for a day or so. Get a cold, and you’re coughing up mucus for a bit. These reactions are called acute inflammation, and it’s usually a very good thing as it’s your immune cells rallying to fight off bacteria that could infiltrate the affected site.

However, while acute inflammation is short-lived, chronic inflammation hangs around for months, years or even a lifetime. Instead of fending off bad guys like bacteria or viruses, your immune system spins out of whack, damaging arteries and organs. 

Why the betrayal? In some instances, chronic inflammation can stem from a case of acute inflammation that never resolved itself, which can happen when the body doesn’t make enough of the chemicals responsible for calling off the immune response. Another culprit is obesity, especially when there’s too much fat parked in and around the liver and other organs. This abdominal, or visceral, fat spews out inflammatory compounds, which take aim at cells and tissues all over the body. 

Aside from its link to obesity, chronic inflammation is also a major cause—and consequence—of top killers of Americans, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, dementia, asthma, many types of cancer, osteoporosis and depression. In fact, you could have chronic inflammation and not even know it.

“Unlike the obvious symptoms of acute inflammation, [low-grade] chronic inflammation silently damages the body,” says Mari Anoushka Ricker, M.D., a director at the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona and an associate professor at the university. 

Blood tests for inflammation can include tests that detect the C-reactive protein (CRP, a protein produced by the liver in response to inflammation) and the erythrocyte sedimentation rate (which measures the speed that red blood cells pool in a test tube—a faster rate may mean more inflammatory compounds). But these tests aren’t routinely ordered, and may or may not reveal chronic inflammation, especially in its early stages. 

What Is an Anti-Inflammatory Diet?

The American way of eating is a recipe for chronic inflammation, thanks to its emphasis on saturated fats, added sugars, refined carbs and sodium. 

Meanwhile, there are thousands of health-promoting substances in healthier foods, including wider-known ones like vitamins, minerals, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, and lesser known ones, such as  flavan-3-ols (in tea and cocoa) and anthocyanins (in blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and other red and purple plant foods). Just as certain chemicals in the body cause inflammation, naturally-occurring chemicals in certain foods can prevent and combat it by providing key nutrients. For example:

  • Vitamin E (in nuts and seeds) and vitamin C (in cauliflower, citrus and berries) are antioxidants that deactivate free radicals, which are inflammatory molecules that drift into the body from pollution, cigarette smoke, sun radiation, poor diet or are created in the course of normal body metabolism. 
  • Omega-3 fatty acids in fish suppress the production of inflammatory compounds while ramping up chemicals that cool down inflammation. 
  • Fiber in whole grains, fruit, legumes and other vegetables fuels microbes in your intestines, which return the favor by producing butyrate, an anti-inflammatory fatty acid that protects against heart disease and offers other benefits.

Eat enough foods rich in these inflammation fighters, and you’ve got an anti-inflammatory diet. 

Types of Anti-Inflammatory Diets

Long before the invention of cheese curls, chicken nuggets, soda and all the other ultra-processed foods that make up the bulk of the average American diet, people around the globe thrived on their traditional diets. As different as a Chinese stir-fry might seem from a fresh Italian pasta topped with marinara sauce, at its core, a traditional diet meets an anti-inflammatory diet checklist.  

Below is a roundup of the more well-researched anti-inflammatory eating patterns from across the world, as well as the DASH diet, which takes its cue from traditional diets. 

Traditional Mediterranean Diet

Italy, Greece, the south of France, Lebanon and other countries along the Mediterranean Sea have unique cuisines, but they share many of the same ingredients. Research suggests the Mediterranean diet helps ward off a bevy of inflammatory-based diseases, including obesity, cardiovascular diseases, stroke, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, allergies, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.  

To pluck just one study of hundreds, researchers tracked thousands of Greek adults ages 20 to 86 for four years. For those adhering most closely to a Mediterranean-style diet, deaths from heart disease dropped by one-third, and the group experienced a quarter fewer cancer deaths and deaths from any cause.  

Characteristics of a  traditional Mediterranean diet include:

  • A wide diversity of fruit, vegetables and minimally processed grains and legumes form the bulk of the diet. 
  • Olive oil, nuts and seeds are the main fat sources.
  • Fish is the principal animal protein. A small portion of red meat is eaten just once every week or two.
  • Small amounts of cheese and yogurt are the principal dairy foods, with next to no butter or cream.
  • Wine is allowed in low to moderate amounts and only with meals.
  • Sweets are relegated to celebrations and based on nuts, olive oil and honey  A favorite snack: figs stuffed with walnuts.

Traditional Okinawan Diet

Okinawa is a Japanese island famous for having a high rate of its people reach 100 years old in good health. The local diet gets much of the credit. 

“The overall dietary pattern is dominated by anti-inflammatory vegetables, particularly Okinawan sweet potatoes,” says Bradley J. Willcox, M.D., a professor of geriatric medicine and director of research at the Department of Geriatric Medicine for the John A. Burns School of Medicine at the University of Hawaii. 

 “They also have the highest soy consumption in Japan, and likely, the world,” he says, adding the diet also boasts low amounts of pro-inflammatory foods, such as added sugar, saturated fat and red meat.  

A traditional Okinawan diet is:

  • Low calorie
  • Rich in vegetables, including seaweed
  • Rich in legumes, particularly soy
  • Moderate in fish
  • Low in meat and dairy
  • Moderate in alcohol

While this may sound like any other healthy diet, there are unique elements, such as:

  • It contains lots of soy. The diet averages about 3 ounces of tofu, miso and other soy foods daily. Soy contains anti-inflammatory isoflavones and other protective compounds, and is linked to cardiovascular health.
  • It’s rich in seaweed. You may be familiar with nori—the dark sushi wrapper— but it’s just one of more than a dozen types of seaweed in Okinawan cuisine. They’re rich in protective compounds, such as astaxanthin, a powerful antioxidant and inflammation-quencher.
  • Okinawan sweet potato is the main starch. Sure, it’s eaten in other cuisines, but it’s not fried and is the main starch in the traditional Okinawan diet. It’s rich in anti-inflammatory nutrients such as beta-carotene (the orange pigment), anthocyanins and vitamins E and C. 
  • It’s low-fat. The Okinawan diet certainly shares similarities with the popular Mediterranean diet, but its main differentiator is that it has far less fat, says Willcox. While the Mediterranean diet typically consists of 30% to 40% healthy, mainly monounsaturated fats, the traditional Okinawan diet consists of only about 10% fat. 

Traditional Nordic Diet 

The cuisines of Denmark, Sweden and Finland differ, but traditionally, they share core healthy foods, including:

  • Whole rye products (bread, muesli)
  • Berries
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Fish
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Sauerkraut
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes
  • Canola oil as the principle oil 

These foods provide anti-inflammatory benefits due to a wealth of nutrients. Rye deserves a special shoutout—it’s a grain that’s been shown to help reduce blood sugar, the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein, and PSA (a marker for prostate cancer in men). 

People who adhere more closely to this way of eating have lower blood levels of C-reactive protein and other markers of inflammation, according to a University of Eastern Finland review of the research. 

Especially protective are fruit (apples, pears, berries), grains (rye, oat and barley) and diets that limit non-lean and processed meat and keep alcohol in moderation. The review also found that even a short-term stint on a healthy Nordic diet can improve certain inflammatory markers and trim off pounds.  The randomized studies—done in various Nordic countries, and lasting six to 24 weeks—assigned a healthy Nordic diet to one group while the other stayed on the modern (and less healthy) diet of the country.

A healthy Nordic diet may also have big payoffs when it comes to type 2 diabetes protection, a disease closely linked with chronic inflammation. In a study tracking 57,053 middle-aged Danes for 15 years, those whose diet most closely mirrored a healthy Nordic pattern cut risk for type 2 diabetes by 25% (for women) and 38% (for men), compared to people whose diets strayed most from the healthy paradigm. 

Traditional Mexican Diet  

Another popular, anti-inflammatory eating pattern hails from Mexico. Mainstays of a traditional Mexican diet include:

  • Corn tortillas
  • Beans
  • A wealth of fruits and vegetables (including hot peppers)
  • Rice (brown and white)
  • Cheese 

Indeed, research has linked a traditional Mexican diet to lower inflammation. A National Cancer Institute-funded study of 493 post-menopausal women of Mexican descent living in the U.S. found that those following a more traditional Mexican diet averaged a 23% lower CRP score—the blood marker of inflammation.

Legumes, which play a starring role in Mexican cuisine, are linked to protection from an impressive lineup of inflammatory-related conditions: High blood pressure, obesity, high blood cholesterol, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. How does a bean-based diet manage all that? According to a review in Advances in Nutrition much of the credit goes to its very high fiber level, which has bodywide effects: 

  • Reduces inflammation, especially when legumes replace red meat
  • Reduces “bad” cholesterol
  • Blunts the rise in blood sugar after a meal, which over time helps prevent type 2 diabetes and inflammation
  • Quells appetite, which helps with weight loss

Legumes are so nutritious that the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends we consume them weekly.

Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH)  

The DASH diet was created in the 1990s in the United States as a way to lower high blood pressure (hypertension). It does that—and more. A 2018 review of several studies found that DASH significantly lowers CRP compared to a typical American diet.

DASH follows the anti-inflammation playbook. It’s rich in fruits and vegetables, most grains are whole, its protein sources are mainly fish, poultry and legumes and it limits pro-inflammatory foods such as red meat, sweets and sugary beverages.  

Another perk of the DASH Diet is that it can lower your LDL. Excessive saturated fat raises LDL—the “bad” blood cholesterol—but DASH limits foods high in this fat, which are also known to trigger inflammation. These foods include fatty meat, high-fat dairy (butter, cream, cheese, whole milk), and coconut, palm and palm kernel oils. Instead, the menu features fat-free or low-fat dairy and vegetable oils, such as canola, corn, olive and safflower oil. 

Sources

Chronic Diseases in America. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed 3/24/2021.

Ricker MA, Haas WC. Anti-Inflammatory Diet in Clinical Practice: A Review. Nutrition in Clinical Practice. 2017;32(3):318-325.

Innes JK, Calder PC. Omega-6 fatty acids and inflammation. Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes and Essential Fatty Acids. 2018;132:41-48.

Longo M, Zatterale F, Naderi J, Parrillo L, Formisano P, Raciti GA, Beguinot F, Miele C. Adipose Tissue Dysfunction as Determinant of Obesity-Associated Metabolic Complications. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2019; 20(9):2358.

Phillips CM, Chen LW, Heude B, et al. Dietary Inflammatory Index and Non-Communicable Disease Risk: A Narrative Review. Nutrients. 2019;11(8):1873.

Hussain, T., Tan, B., Yin, Y., Blachier, F., Tossou, M., & Rahu, N. Oxidative Stress and Inflammation: What Polyphenols Can Do for Us? Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, 2016.

Cione E, La Torre C, Cannataro R, Caroleo MC, Plastina P, Gallelli L. Quercetin, Epigallocatechin Gallate, Curcumin, and Resveratrol: From Dietary Sources to Human MicroRNA Modulation. Molecules. 2019;25(1):63.

Fraga CG , Croft KD , Kennedy DO , Tomás-Barberán FA. The effects of polyphenols and other bioactives on human health. Food Funct. 2019;10(2):514-528.

Traber MG, Stevens JF. Vitamins C and E: beneficial effects from a mechanistic perspective. Free Radic Biol Med. 2011;51(5):1000-1013.

Bach Knudsen KE, Lærke HN, Hedemann MS, et al. Impact of Diet-Modulated Butyrate Production on Intestinal Barrier Function and Inflammation. Nutrients. 2018;10(10):1499.

Martínez Steele E, Baraldi LG, Louzada ML, Moubarac JC, Mozaffarian D, Monteiro CA. Ultra-processed foods and added sugars in the US diet: evidence from a nationally representative cross-sectional study. BMJ Open. 2016;6(3):e009892.

Phaniendra A, Jestadi DB, Periyasamy L. Free radicals: properties, sources, targets, and their implication in various diseases. Indian J Clin Biochem. 2015;30(1):11-26.

Tosti V, Bertozzi B, Fontana L. Health Benefits of the Mediterranean Diet: Metabolic and Molecular Mechanisms. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2018;73(3):318-326. doi:10.1093/gerona/glx227

Trichopoulou A, Costacou T, Bamia C, Trichopoulos D. Adherence to a Mediterranean diet and survival in a Greek population. N Engl J Med. 2003;348(26):2599-2608.

Simopoulos AP. The Mediterranean diets: What is so special about the diet of Greece? The scientific evidence. J Nutr. 2001;131(11 Suppl):3065S-73S.

Willcox BJ, Willcox DC, Suzuki M. Demographic, phenotypic, and genetic characteristics of centenarians in Okinawa and Japan: Part 1-centenarians in Okinawa. Mech Ageing Dev. 2017;165(Pt B):75-79.

Willcox DC, Scapagnini G, Willcox BJ. Healthy aging diets other than the Mediterranean: a focus on the Okinawan diet. Mech Ageing Dev. 2014;136-137:148-162.

Lankinen M, Uusitupa M, Schwab U. Nordic Diet and Inflammation-A Review of Observational and Intervention Studies. Nutrients. 2019;11(6):1369.

Galbete C, Kröger J, Jannasch F, et al. Nordic diet, Mediterranean diet, and the risk of chronic diseases: the EPIC-Potsdam study. BMC Med. 2018;16(1):99.

Santiago-Torres M, Tinker LF, Allison MA, et al. Development and Use of a Traditional Mexican Diet Score in Relation to Systemic Inflammation and Insulin Resistance among Women of Mexican Descent. J Nutr. 2015;145(12):2732-2740.

Challa HJ, Ameer MA, Uppaluri KR. DASH Diet To Stop Hypertension. In: StatPearls. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; May 23, 2020.

Soltani S, Chitsazi MJ, Salehi-Abargouei A. The effect of dietary approaches to stop hypertension (DASH) on serum inflammatory markers: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized trials. Clin Nutr. 2018;37(2):542-550.

Hadjichambis ACh, Paraskeva-Hadjichambi D, Della A, et al. Wild and semi-domesticated food plant consumption in seven circum-Mediterranean areas. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2008;59(5):383-414.

Whole Grain Pasta Nutrients

These Popped Sorghum Snacks Will Satisfy Your Crunchy Cravings

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In the category of crispy snacks, popcorn has the edge over its chip and cracker competition: with a few spices, it can take on any taste profile, makes your entire kitchen smell of melted butter and can be eaten in large portions, without your stomach feeling like it has exceeded its maximum capacity. Still, munching has a big trap: it leaves sharp pits in your gums and teeth, forcing you to floss a few minutes after each snack.

The equally delicious solution to the dental problem: Swap your popcorn for popped sorghum. The age-old whole grain has a barely visible shell that won’t slip between your teeth when chewed, and it offers the same light and fluffy, but extremely crunchy texture as the OG pop snack. And despite its tiny size (seriously, the grain is about 3 millimeters in diameter), sorghum is full of nutrients; half a cup of the unroasted, naturally gluten-free grain contains 6.5 grams of fiber, 51 percent of the recommended dietary allowance for magnesium (a mineral that regulates muscle and nerve function) and 85 percent of the recommended daily allowance for manganese (a mineral that helps Energy and protect your cells from damage), according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

How to Pop Sorghum

To gather these nutrients and satisfy your cravings for a crispy nibble, you have several options. If you’d rather cook your popped sorghum from scratch, simply pour grains of sorghum (Buy It, $ 13, amazon.com) into a hot stainless steel saucepan, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and cook over medium heat under constant pressure Shake the pot. As soon as you hear about two-thirds of the grains popping (you should listen carefully), take the stove off the stove, pour out the cracked grains, and repeat the process with the uncooked ones until they are all cracked and ready to eat. After Bob’s Red Mill. (Related: The Puffed and Popped Food Trend Is A Healthier Way To Eat Snacks)

The story goes on

Try pre-made sorghum snacks

However, for a chaotic and stress-free snacking experience, stock up on one (or all) of these popped-up sorghum snacks. Whether you prefer salty or sweet, bite-sized or in chip form, there is a nibble that will satisfy your stomach and taste buds.

Poplettes Poplette Sorghum Snacks

When you have a firm belief that smartfood is the GOAT in the popcorn department, turn to Poplettes. The brand’s white cheddar sorghum snack has the same flavor as the OG munchie, but each bite is roughly one-sixth the size (sweet!). Those with more adventurous palettes will enjoy the Bollywood Masala variety, which contains bold spices like dried mango powder, red chilli powder, and ground turmeric, or the Mediterranean Magic variety, made with sumac, toasted sesame seeds, thyme, and garlic powder.

Poplettes Poplette Sorghum Snacks

Ka-Pop! Pounded chips

These popped sorghum munchies are made for snackers who are allergic to virtually anything under the sun. With sorghum flour and puffed sorghum kernels, Ka-Pop! Popped Chips are vegan certified and free from GMOs, gluten and the 12 most common allergens. And while they look slightly like a styrofoam-like rice cake, reviewers say the chips – which come in five flavors including non-dairy cheddar, salt and vinegar, and red and green sriracha – are far from boring. “[They] taste a million times better than all popcorn snacks or rice cake snacks I’ve ever eaten, “wrote one buyer. (ICYMI, pasta chips are one thing – that’s how you make them.)

Ka-Pop!  Pounded chips

Ka-Pop! Pounded chips

Chasin ‘Dreams Farm Popped Sorghum Snacks

If you need a sweet treat at 2pm, grab a bag of these cracked sorghum snacks from Chasin ‘Dreams Farm. Founded by women, run by women, the brand offers three types of popped sorghum, including a kettle corn flavor that perfects the balance between salty and sweetness, a cinnamon flavor that is reminiscent of cinnamon buns, and a cocoa flavor that tastes of grains that have actually been in dipped in hot chocolate. But these nibbles are not just for eating; The company recommends sprinkling a few pieces on a scoop of ice cream, mixing them in trail mix or granola, or using them as an edible cake topper. There are no wrong answers here.

Chasin 'Dreams Farm Popped Sorghum Snacks

Chasin ‘Dreams Farm Popped Sorghum Snacks

Nature Nate’s Popped Sorghum

Made exclusively from organic sorghum, avocado oil and sea salt, Nature Nate’s Popped Sorghum snacks are as simple as possible. The nibbles are free from the 12 most common allergens, GMOs, preservatives, additives and natural flavors. Despite the short and sweet list of ingredients, reviewers are clearly obsessed with calling it “a dream come true”. “I literally can’t get enough of this stuff,” said one shopper. “This is the best thing since sliced ​​bread, no kidding. I probably eat at least one bag a week.”

Nature Nate's Popped Sorghum

Nature Nate’s Popped Sorghum

Pop IQ Air Popped Sorghum

With flavors like cheddar, cauldron cooked, and salt and pepper, this popped sorghum could easily be mistaken for the popcorn you’d find in giant snack tins during the holidays. Aside from the simple variety (with one ingredient: sorghum), the snack packs are made from three to five ingredients, including a base of sorghum and sunflower oil or extra virgin olive oil. To make sure you get only the largest chunks of the tiny grain, the company sifts its pops three times, not once or twice. By filtering out crumb-sized pieces that are difficult to eat, your snacking experience will certainly require less cleaning. (Related: 11 Natural Snacks You Will Want To Stock Up On)

Pop IQ Air Popped Sorghum

Pop IQ Air Popped Sorghum

Pop Bitties Ancient Grain Chip

These popped sorghum slices are coated with a sweet-hot-hot-smoky spice mixture and a dead ring for potato chips with BBQ flavor – only they are air-popped instead of deep-fried and are also made with quinoa, chia seeds and. made brown rice. The snack is project-verified, gluten-free, vegan-certified and, according to reviewers, “light as pop-chips, but has the crispness of Stacy”.[‘s] Pita Chips. “Eat them as is or dip them in your favorite dip to balance the heat.

Pop Bitties Ancient Grain Chip

Pop Bitties Ancient Grain Chip

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Whole Grain Pasta Nutrients

10 Foods That Weaken Your Immune System

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We often hear about foods that can boost our immune systems, but did you know that there are dietary choices that can actually weaken your body’s ability to fight off infection? Studies show that highly processed foods and those full of empty calories with no nutrients can be harmful to your health.

Our immune systems exist to protect us from bacteria and other microbes like viruses and parasites, and with a healthy diet you have a better chance of thwarting these diseases and pathogens. A balanced diet contains an abundance of vitamins and minerals in addition to the calories we need to survive.

So we know what helps us, but what hurts us?

1. Sugary foods

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When we think of sugary foods, we think of baked goods, candy, chocolate, and other processed sweets. But dried or canned fruits or juices also contain a lot of added sugar, which can upset your system. The microbiome that lives in our gut keeps harmful bacteria at bay, but the glucose and fructose in sweetened foods feed these unhealthy microbes and make it difficult to fight infections. In addition, sugar creates a craving for more sugar as the yeast and other sugar-loving microbes in your body get used to the added sugar in your body.

Additionally, adding too much sugar to your diet can raise your blood sugar, which increases inflammatory proteins – especially in diabetics, whose blood sugar stays high for longer. High sugar levels could also inhibit immune cells that protect the body from infection.

People on a high-sugar diet can also be more prone to autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.

2. Salty foods

The food tastes much better with salt. It brings out the natural taste and spices up boring dishes. But it’s bad for you It can stop the normal functioning of immune functions, alter your gut bacteria, and increase your risk of autoimmune diseases. Preliminary research shows that the rate of autoimmune diseases of the western world. It can also make existing autoimmune diseases like colitis, Crohn’s disease, and lupus worse. A small study from 2016 showed that men on a high-salt diet had higher levels of monocytes and inflammatory markers, indicating an excessive immune response.

3. Processed meat

It’s time to give up hot dogs and sausages – eating no processed meat is no longer just for pregnant women. This meat has been linked to several diseases, including colon cancer.

This meat is high in saturated fat and has been shown to contribute to immune system dysfunction and inflammation in some people.

The meat also has advanced glycation end products, which are harmful compounds that form when fat and protein mix with sugar in the blood. Most AGEs come from the food we eat and when we have too much of them we cannot regulate them and they cause oxidative stress and inflammation. Fried bacon, hot dogs, fried chicken legs, and steak are high in AGE.

4. Fast food

Burger and fries

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Everyone knows that fast food is not good for you, but sometimes the convenience and deliciousness outweigh these facts. However, fast food is not only bad for your weight, it can also damage your immune system. It’s bad for your gut biome and can increase inflammation. Not only does it contain much of the salt we just talked about, it also contains chemicals, sometimes from plastic or styrofoam packaging, that disrupt human hormone production, weaken immune responses, and even cause dysfunction.

5. Food with additives

The more processed a food is, the more additives it contains – to improve texture, taste, preservation, and the like. These additives, especially emulsifiers and carrageenan, can cause dysregulation of the immune system by changing intestinal bacteria and increasing inflammation. Studies have linked these additives to immune dysfunction in rodents. Which foods are heavily processed? In addition to meat and bacon for lunch, canned soups, canned vegetables, frozen meals, snacks and everything else with a long shelf life.

6. Certain fatty foods

Onion rings on plate

Michael Rheault / Moment / Getty Images

There are some fats that are good for us, but saturated fats are bad for the immune system. They can activate inflammatory pathways that inhibit the immune response and they suppress the function of white blood cells, which can increase the risk of infection. Studies in rodents have shown that a high-fat diet can even damage the lining of the intestines, increasing the susceptibility to disease.

The western diet usually contains a lot of omega-6 fatty acids and far fewer omega-3 fatty acids. The omega-6 fats have been shown to promote inflammatory proteins that weaken our immune system. Studies also show that omega-6 fats may increase your risk of asthma and allergic rhinitis.

7. Artificially sweetened foods

It’s not just sugar that can damage your immune system. The sweeteners we use when trying to avoid sugar can be just as harmful, if not more. They are linked to altered gut bacteria, more inflammation, and a slower immune response. Sucralose and saccharin, in particular, can cause an imbalance in the intestinal biome. It could even fuel the progression of autoimmune diseases.

8. Fried food

Fried foods compete with fast foods and processed meats for AGE levels. Remember, these end products increase the risk of cell damage and inflammation. They also deprive your body of antioxidant mechanisms, disrupt intestinal bacteria and lead to cell dysfunction. All of this could lead to an increased risk of certain types of cancer, heart disease, and even malaria. As much as we’d like to sit back and enjoy fried delicacies, forego french fries, potato chips, fried chicken, bacon, and fish and chips for a healthier response to germ control.

9. Caffeine and alcohol

Beer on a table on a terrace

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Caffeine by itself is not bad for your immune system, but lack of sleep does, and consuming caffeine just before bed can wake you up in the early hours of the morning. We’re not just talking about coffee. Certain teas, chocolate, even protein bars can contain the stuff.

Alcohol suppresses the immune response by reducing the number of cells that fight infection. This makes you more prone to sepsis, poor wound health, pneumonia, and pneumonia.

If you drink alcohol, limit yourself to one drink a night for best results. Consider replacing the drinks with fruit-infused water or teas (without caffeine).

10. Refined carbohydrates

Not all carbohydrates are bad for you; they give you a long-term energy boost, especially the whole grains. But refined carbohydrates like white bread, pasta, bleached flour, and of course sugar can cause an imbalance in gut bacteria that weakens your immune system. They are also highly glycemic foods that raise blood sugar and insulin levels, which can cause free radicals and inflammatory proteins to migrate around the body.

Bring away

It’s not just diet that affects our immune system. Other factors include age (the older we are, the less efficient our organs become at producing immune cells), the environment (if you are a smoker or live in an area with increased air pollution), weight (heavier people have more problems with chronic inflammation, stressing the immune system), chronic physical or mental illnesses such as autoimmune diseases or prolonged stress and lack of sleep.

For real immune health, we must lead balanced lives with careful choices about diet, exercise, and self-care.

Darlena Cunha is a freelance writer and professor at the University of Florida with degrees in communications and ecology.

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Ugly Side Effects of the American Diet, Say Dietitians

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You may not know the term, but you probably know the concept of the Standard American Diet (SAD). Imagine all of the typical “American” foods and put them all together – burgers, french fries, pizza, soda, sugary cereals, packaged and processed foods, ice cream, the list goes on. While occasional consumption of these types of foods is fine for an overall healthy, balanced diet, regular consumption can have some ugly side effects on your body’s health.

According to a report entitled “Front-of-Package Nutrition Rating Systems and Symbols” The Standard American Diet includes a diet high in calories, saturated fats, trans fats, added sugars, and sodium. It includes a very low intake of essential nutrients for the body such as fiber, calcium, potassium and vitamin D.

The main benefit of the Standard American Diet is that it lacks fruits and vegetables, which are the best way to include a wide variety of nutrients in your diet.

“A 2010 report from the National Cancer Institute found that nearly the entire US population was eating a diet that was not as recommended,” said Theresa Gentile, MS, RDN, CDN, owner of Full Plate Nutrition. Gentile also points out from the American Cancer Society that about 18% of cancer cases are due to poor diet and sedentary lifestyle.

Developing a serious chronic illness like cancer isn’t the only ugly side effect of consuming the Standard American Diet regularly, which is why it is considered the No. 1 worst diet for Americans.

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“The SAD is the quintessentially American diet that emphasizes red meat, processed foods, refined grains, sugary foods including sodas, with low consumption of fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, whole grains, beans, and legumes,” said Lisa R. Young, PhD , RDN, author of Endlich Full, Endlich Slim and a member of our panel of medical experts. “It’s low in fiber, antioxidants, and high in calories, saturated fat, sugar, and salt.”

Because of the types of foods included (or absent) from the SAD, weight gain can easily become a side effect of consuming such foods on a regular basis.

“It contributed to the high rates of obesity and overweight in the United States (nearly 75% of the population are overweight or obese),” says Young. “It has also led to chronic diet-related diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers.”

TIED TOGETHER: Get even more healthy tips straight to your inbox by signing up for our newsletter.

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“Most Americans don’t get enough fiber, which is needed for healthy digestion,” says Jinan Banna, PhD, RD. “The SAD is low in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and other such foods. This is just one of the digestive problems that can arise.”

The dietary guidelines for Americans recommend adults consume between 25 and 38 grams of fiber per day, but reports show that Americans only consume an average of 10 to 15 grams per day. A lack of fiber can cause problems with the digestive tract as well as the colon.

“Fiber is essential for heart health as soluble fiber (found in oatmeal and foods made from oatmeal, almonds and seeds, fruits you eat the skin in, etc.) is MS, RD, CSSD, LD, author of The Sports Nutrition Playbook and member our medical expert panel. “Fiber also plays a role as a prebiotic for gut health by nourishing the good gut bacteria and helping push things through your system to improve regularity.”

Here are the dangerous signs that you are not eating enough fiber.

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The types of foods typically consumed in the SAD are foods linked to chronic inflammation which, according to Balance One Supplements’ Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD, can have devastating effects on physical, mental, and emotional health .

“Low-level chronic inflammation causes oxidative stress in the body, which leads to many of the chronic diseases common in Western nations,” Best says.Foods known to be flammable include gluten, refined carbohydrates, and sugars, and in general all processed foods from refined or fortified sources – all of which are the basis of SAD. form. “

“These foods are flammable because the body has a hard time breaking them down through natural meals like enzymes and good gut bacteria,” continues Best. “This leads to an inflammatory response in the body’s immune system, which is usually a natural and deliberate response, but in some cases an overreaction to otherwise harmless foods.”

Best points out that inflammation can lead to the development of chronic diseases such as heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.

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“With popular foods like hamburgers, deli, and fried foods, the Standard American Diet contains excessive amounts of saturated fat and sodium,” said Mackenzie Burgess, RDN and recipe developer at Cheerful Choices. “This can be problematic as too much saturated fat has been found to increase blood cholesterol, which can increase the risk of heart disease. Too much sodium can also be a problem as it is linked to high blood pressure, which is another risk factor for the heart is. ” Illness.”

Burgess recommends looking for ways to reduce the saturated fat and sodium in your diet with small swaps. Focusing on healthy sources of fat like fish, avocados, and nuts can promote heart health, and buying low-sodium items from the grocery store (soups, sauces, unprocessed meat, to name a few).

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While chronic inflammation and too much saturated fat or sodium play a big role in causing chronic illness, simply overdosing on calories can also put you at increased risk.

Shannon Henry, RD of the EZCare Clinic points out four different diseases that can develop from a high calorie diet – either from eating high calorie foods or simply from consuming too many foods or beverages in general. These include Type 2 diabetes, stroke, coronary artery disease, and kidney and gallbladder defects.

“Above all, our passion for fast food is sad,” says Henry. “For example, although the federal government recommends consuming at least two to five cups of fruits and vegetables a day, surveys show that the average American only eats three servings a day, and 42% say we eat less than two servings.”

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Many Americans suffer from the concept of overfed calories but undernourished of valuable and essential nutrients“says Amy Goodson.” The calories they consume are mostly from saturated fat and added sugars, while they consume very little fruits, vegetables and whole grains, which provide vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants and more. “

These types of foods are high in vitamins and minerals that are essential for your body’s health and usually add the “color” to your meals.

The typical American diet often lacks colorful fruits, vegetables and other whole foods“Says Burgess. “This means that most Americans miss out on the myriad benefits of fruits and vegetables, such as their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties. In addition, a diet with few colored fruits and vegetables can contain insufficient amounts of important nutrients such as potassium, fiber, folic acid, vitamin A and vitamin C. “

Burgess recommends finding simple ways to add fruits and vegetables to your meals, such as: B. Berries with yoghurt, peppers with pasta or leafy vegetables in your lunch wraps. Plus, these 15 best frozen fruits and vegetables are easy to use.

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“Following SAD can lead to poor bone health, as these foods are typically low in bone building nutrients like calcium, vitamin K, and vitamin D,” says Sarah Schlichter, MPH, RDN.

“In addition, a diet low in whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables can influence the metabolism and digestion,” continues Schlichter. “Foods high in fiber can help improve gut health and digestion, while the use of highly processed foods reduces the diversity of bacteria in the gut microbiome, which also affects mood and overall health.”

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Changing your gut microbiome isn’t the only reason your energy levels feel depleted after SAD.

“Coast-to-coast Americans skip meals, eat large amounts of carbohydrates with little quality protein, stock up on sugar-sweetened foods and beverages, and these habits can prepare you for spikes and drops in blood sugar,” says Goodson.

Because of this type of diet, Goodson advises that your blood sugar levels will go up and down like a “roller coaster” throughout the day, which can negatively affect your energy levels.

“The way to fight this is to have balanced meals with high fiber carbohydrates and proteins every few hours,” she says.

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“The ACS recommends at least 2 1/2 to 3 cups of vegetables and 1 1/2 to 2 cups of fruit daily for cancer prevention, and the USDA recommends 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables per day,” says Gentile. “This goal can easily be achieved by adding fruit or vegetables to every meal and including more vegetable-based meals in your rotation, which can lower your risk of cancer.”

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