FOODS THAT CAUSE INFLAMMATION
Table of Contents
Food and Inflammation–What You Need to Know
Food Affects Inflammation
High Fructose Corn Syrup
Twinkies And Pasta
What Causes Lactose Intolerance?
Meat-Yes or No?
–What You Need to Know
is a hot topic now.
Research is discovering more and more connections between
inflammation and chronic, degenerative diseases. But it’s not
long term illness that is affected by inflammation. If you have acute
or chronic pain, low energy or you feel like your zest for life has
gone the way of the do-do bird, inflammation may be the culprit.
defines inflammation as
"redness, swelling and fever in a local area of the body, often
with pain and disturbed function, in reaction to an infection or to a
physical or chemical injury." Acute inflammation is short term
and self-limiting and is controlled by your immune system.
Sometimes your immune
circuits and inflammation drags on. The injury that should have
healed in a few weeks becomes chronic. This is painful and can make
you feel miserable. But at least you know what you’re dealing
There is inflammation
you can see and
feel like when you stub your toe or twist an ankle. Even more
insidious, inflammation can take up residence in your blood vessels,
brain or blood sugar regulatory system. It can cause heart attack,
stroke, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and a variety of degenerative
diseases. This is chronic inflammation and can put the kibosh on your
plans, your joy, and your health.
Remember the old
cliche, “you are
what you eat?” Like all clichés, it holds an
truth, but in this case, the truth element is enormous.
For some of us, this
feels like truth. If you have food
sensitivities or allergies,
you have to monitor what goes in your mouth more vigilantly than most
people do if you want to be healthy, feel good and have the energy to
Or you may experience
vague symptoms or
feel generally unwell. If that’s the case, there may be a
connection you have not discovered.
On the other hand,
you may not notice
any reaction to what you eat. Your arteries may clog or your joints
may hurt. But because the effect is not instantaneous, you tend to
not think about the damage to your body until you have a health
Most Americans just
eat whatever falls
into their mouth and figure they will take a pill to
cholesterol or a painkiller
to get through the day. The problem with this approach is that many
of those pills may have consequences that are more harmful than the
original condition. Of course, the fact that you are reading this
report means that you care about your health and want to do more than
just get through the day.
Food affects your
health and well-being
in both blatant and subtle ways. What you put in your mouth can be
the source of unbounded health and energy, or pain and misery. Food
can trigger negative health conditions and aggravate those that
I have created a list
of seven foods
most likely to cause inflammation and health problems, both short
term and in the future.
looking for a shortcut to
ill health, low energy, diabetes, overgrowth of unfriendly organisms
throughout your body, load up on sugar. If heart attacks are your
idea of fun, then you should eat lots of sweets and refined
carbohydrates. Not only does sugar have immediate physical
consequences, your emotions can suffer. Mood swings, depression and
the “sugar blues” can make life very unhappy.
Sugar causes insulin
levels to spike.
If you indulge your sweet tooth on a regular basis, insulin receptor
cells become resistant to insulin. Sugar is not allowed into cells
and sugar remains in the bloodstream, which leads to high blood sugar
levels and increased inflammation.
sugar and refined
carbohydrates can also lead to overgrowth of unfriendly bacteria in
your gut and eventually throughout your body. You don’t want
know about the inflammation unfriendly bugs like candida can cause
when they overcome the bacteria that normally keeps them in check.
You can suffer with symptoms in almost every part of your body and
never find the cause unless you know where to look or have a health
care provider who is willing to work outside the mainstream medical
Sugar is also a
can magnify existing pain.
If your food shopping
trips take you to
the soft drink, baked goods aisle, or the snack area of your super
market, it’s almost impossible to avoid high fructose corn
Composed of 55
percent fructose and 45
percent glucose, you might think, probably not as bad as pure
glucose, right? Wrong. Fructose, unaccompanied by the fruit fiber
normally found in fruit, is far more harmful to your body than table
sugar, and that’s saying something.
High fructose corn
syrup can trigger
diabetes and liver damage. You already know that diabetes is bad
news. Well, the health of your entire body depends on your liver.
Love your liver and it will reward you with a healthy body and
As far as your
pancreas and liver are
concerned there is not a big difference between refined, processed
junk food like twinkies and a big bowl of pasta. Both convert to
sugar and cause high levels of inflammation in your system. If you
have elevated inflammation levels your chances of heart attack are
4.5 times higher than if your levels were normal.
The mechanism is
pretty much the same
for refined carbohydrates as for sugar. Simple carbohydrates rapidly
convert to sugar in your body and cause your insulin levels to spike.
If this occurs on a regular basis, those pesky insulin receptor cells
decide they’ve had enough and turn up their noses at the
Then your cells
can’t covert the
glucose into energy and it stays in your blood stream, causing
inflammation., which can lead to heart attack and diabetes.
All fats are not
created equal. For
years, they were lumped together into one big greasy category. Now we
know better. There are good fats and bad fats and everyone needs the
good fats. Even dieters need fat.
The best fats are the
Omega 3 fatty
acids found in fish oil and flax seeds. These are the
anti-inflammatory fats that lubricate your circulation, your joints
and your brain. They can be helpful in conditions like heart disease,
depression and arthritis. Most people don’t get enough Omega
unless they supplement.
On the other hand,
most people get too
many Omega 6 fatty acids in their diets. These are the
polyunsaturated fats including corn oil, safflower, sunflower and
soybean oil. How much is too much? The ratio of Omega 3 fatty acids
to Omega 6’s in the diets of most Americans is 1:20. Our
were healthy in a diet with a 1:1 ratio. You do the math.
In the ratio they
occur in the typical
American diet, these oils create inflammation, pain and cellular
damage. Illness and even a compromised immune system result from this
kind of a lopsided diet. Junk food, processed foods and even most
salad dressings contain an abundance of Omega 6 fatty acids.
Commercial salad dressings are usually high in omega 6 fats,
unhealthy chemicals, and made with inferior, overly-processed,
damaged oils. Rancid or overheated fats can cause cellular
damage and over time cause DNA damage that can lead to cancer.
hint… create your own salad
dressing with olive oil, vinegar and your favorite herbs. If you have
a yeast problem, use lemon or lime instead of vinegar. Olive oil is a
mono-saturated fat that is very healthy and possesses anti-inflammatory
Trans fats are the
worst. These are the
oils list as hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated. Nowhere in
nature will you find trans fats. They are manufactured by humans.
That right there should give you pause. How many times have we
thought we improved on nature’s handiwork only to find oops!
really screwed it up.
Hydrogenated fats are
have longer shelf lives and they make food more appealing in many
ways. They give pies flakier crusts, peanut butter a creamier texture
and the food they are used in a cheaper price tag. They are found
everywhere, even in upscale restaurants.
You cannot depend on
labels for the
whole truth. A product can be labeled trans fat free if it contains
less than .5 grams of trans fats. Multiple servings or multiple
products with a half gram of trans fat can quickly become a health
These fats clog your
heart attacks and strokes and increase systemic inflammation. They
can cause pain, restricted range of motion and worsen almost any
You might also have
headaches and joint pain. Not only does milk cause a laundry list of
complaints, any product that contains that contains casein or whey is
suspect. NASA Langley Research Institute discovered that milk is the
number one most destructive substance for your heart and arteries.
Not only does milk
complications in the general population, milk is one of the
most highly allergic foods. Allergies cause tissue damage and
encourage long-term inflammation. Like gluten sensitivity or a wheat
allergy, you inherit an allergy to milk. The list of conditions
caused by milk allergy is literally almost as long as your arm, your
forearm anyway. Acne, ear infections, fibromyalgia, and osteoporosis
are just the tip of the iceberg. You can find a more complete list in
my book Inflammation-What you Need to Know About The
Milk is found in many
wouldn’t suspect. You must read labels carefully. It can be
difficult to navigate the nutritional minefields in the supermarket
without a guide. You can take my upcoming guide to anti-inflammatory
foods with you while you are walking through the aisles of your
grocery store or health food store.
The dangers of milk
are pretty obvious.
When you add the double whammy of lactose intolerance, you hit the
symptom jackpot. Lactose intolerance is a common condition where your
body lacks sufficient lactase, the enzyme that digests lactose or
milk sugar. Sometimes a milk allergy leads to lactose intolerance.
Lactose intolerance can also be inherited. Lactose intolerance can
create intestinal tissue damage, nausea, cramps, bloating, diarrhea
lactose intolerance are well known. Primary lactase deficiency
develops over time. According to Wikipedia, in most mammals, lactase
production drops at the end of the weaning period. In humans, lactase
production drops somewhere around the age of two. Symptoms usually
appear much later. Lactase production can be reduced by as much as
90% in non-dairy consuming cultures.
contain a gene mutation that allows them to consume milk and dairy
products without difficulty
lactase deficiency or pathological lactose intolerance results when
the amount of lactase produced is reduced because of digestive
disease or injury to the small intestine. Celiac disease damages the
villi of the intestine, which produce lactase. When the Celiac
disease is healed, the lactase production resumes , and the lactose
intolerance resolves. Chron’s and inflammatory bowel disease
also reduce lactase production. Whether or not you want to drink milk
or eat dairy products because of health concerns like carcinogenic
bovine growth hormone is another question.
the chicken and egg dilemma. Which came first, the milk allergy, the
lactase deficiency or the disease?
identified a genetic link for lactose intolerance. Some people are
born with a likelihood of developing primary lactase deficiency
because it has been passed to them genetically (inherited from their
parents). This discovery may be useful in developing a diagnostic
test to identify people with the condition.
Gluten intolerance is
immune reaction to a protein called gliadin. Gliadin exists in wheat,
rye, barley, oats, spelt, quinoa, kamut, spelt, amaranth,, teff and
cous cous. Oats and quinoa are sometimes considered questionable, but
I include them in the list to be safe. From personal experience, I
have found these grains to be troublesome, although I find most
grains to be troublesome. You may have a different experience.
can be the beginning
of a condition called celiac disease. The time span between the onset
of gluten intolerance and a celiac disease diagnosis can be decades.
In fact, the diagnosis may never come. Untreated, gluten sensitivity
can cause many health threatening conditions including chronic pain
disorders, cancer, neurological disease, autoimmune disorders,
psychiatric problems and brain disorders,
If you believe that
your low energy
level is normal for you, you may be gluten intolerant or have celiac
disease. Gluten intolerance can result in sluggish energy and a
feeling of general unwellness. Symptoms of celiac disease can mimic
those of other conditions including irritable bowel syndrome, gastric
ulcers, Chron’s disease, parasite infections, anemia, or skin
The thing about
gluten sensitivity is
that you can make a huge difference in how you feel by just
eliminating gluten containing grains and grain products. Eliminating
gluten may not be enough. You might have to eliminate all grains,
even the safe ones like rice. I have to avoid all grains most of the
time. It’s not so bad. It’s a trade off, grains for
being headache free. Fortunately, we humans are very adaptable
creatures. It doesn’t feel so much like deprivation after
been doing it for a while, it feels like self-preservation.
Walking through the
not have to be an exercise in frustration. My guide to
anti-inflammatory foods will give you confidence in your new choices.
If you keep your eye on the prize of increased energy and well-being,
you will feel empowered, not deprived.
Yes or No?
on your information source, meat is seen as a disease producing,
inflammatory substance that can lead your health to ruination. Or it
is viewed as a good source of usable protein that is part of the
healthy diet our ancestors consumed.
authorities regard meat as a food that leads to inflammation. Its
consumption is linked with colon cancer, heart disease, aggravation
of arthritis symptoms and inflammation in general.
raised cattle receive the greatest load of antibiotics, pesticides,
herbicides and hormones, which are stored in their fat. The best
organic, grass fed beef still contains dioxin in their fat stores
because of acid rain in most parts of the country.
addition to dangerous chemicals added to the meat supply through feed
and medicines, meat contains omega-6 fatty acids that produce
inflammation. This arachodonic acid produces inflammation that can
attack anywhere in the body from your heart and arteries to your
far as the inflammation factor goes, whether grass fed meat is better
than conventionally raised beef, I don’t have the answer.
meat is definitely healthier because you are cutting the toxic load
your liver has to cope with. Free-range meat also contains more Omega
3 fatty acids, which makes it less inflammatory. It may still cause
some inflammation. So whether it is a healthy diet choice, I
say definitively. Each person has to decide based on personal
Immune System And Your Diet
are an immune system problem. If you have a lot of food allergies or
food sensitivities like I do, your food choices are limited. We all
have to eat. If some of the healthier choices are off limits because
of allergies or sensitivities, grass fed beef may give you more food
choices than you would otherwise have.
many years, the only animal protein I ate was fish, shellfish and
turkey. (I tested positive for an allergy to chicken. I used to eat
it a LOT).
one night after eating some take out shrimp, I started feeling itchy
and my body started to swell up. I started to look like the Pillsbury
dough boy. Luckily, I was with my friend Doug, who called the
emergency room and the nurse said to try Benedryl. Of course I
have any because I almost never use drugs.
Doug went to the pharmacy. I took the Benedryl and we got ready to go
to the emergency room, just in case. I was having a little trouble
breathing, but I couldn’t tell if that was from anxiety or
anaphylactic reaction I thought I was having.
we never made it inside the hospital. We sat in the car and the
itchiness and swelling started to calm down. Who wants to spend a
Saturday night waiting for treatment in the emergency room, let alone
paying for it?
now I have one less group of foods to choose from. Scallops and
oysters are OK, but crab and lobster are too close to shrimp for my
comfort zone and I have yet to be allergy tested for them.
point of this story is that I started eating red meat after this
incident to give myself more choices. My cholesterol skyrocketed .
(Whether cholesterol is a factor in heart disease is a topic for
another discussion.) It used to be 180, and went up to 264. I was
eating a lot of prepared, although theoretically healthier meats that
are hormone and antibiotic free. But face it, hormone and anti-biotic
free hot dogs and turkey kielbasa are not health food even if they
are as pure as the driven snow.
is not really a good choice for most people unless you eat it very
infrequently. It is a common allergen and can depress your thyroid
function. I know it’s practically worshiped in some circles,
you are better off without it, except as an occasional diversion. If
you do eat soy, stick with fermented products like tempeh and tofu.
To Prevent Food Allergies
careful about overdoing on the foods you can
eat. Try a rotation diet, where you eat a particular food every four
days. You can safely eat foods twice in 24 hours. For example, if you
have chicken for dinner, the following day eat it for breakfast or
lunch. (The culturally accepted ideas about breakfast foods like
toast, waffles and pancakes no longer apply). Then wait four days to
eat it again. This prevents you from developing an allergy or
you don’t experience boundless energy, if your body hurts, or
you have unexplained symptoms, then you ought to consider
experimenting with your diet. If you have been diagnosed with a
disease, your diet may be contributing to or even causing it.
can be scary and your attitude is crucial. If you approach diet
modification with curiosity rather than dread, it makes the
experience exciting. Instead of thinking of these changes as written
in stone, try considering them as an experiment.
changes for two weeks and see what happens. Then make some more
changes. Sometimes multiple foods may contribute to your symptoms.
For example, milk products and gluten sensitivity can cause similar
symptoms, so you might have to eliminate both to feel a difference.
your energy increases, your pain diminishes or your symptoms
disappear, you will want to maintain your changes. If you backslide,
your body will remind you.
enzymes are a safe, natural way to further decrease inflammation
symptoms in your muscles, joints, organs, arteries and brain. They
modulate your immune system which controls inflammation, and eat up
fibrin that thickens your blood and creates scar tissue. Scar tissue
causes pain after surgery and reduces range of motion after injuries.
systemic enzyme maintenance promotes a healthy body and brain. If you
want to be pro-active in guarding your precious health, visit
for more information on inflammation, enzymes and great discounts.
resource for you:
National Digestive Diseases
2008 by Inflammation and Health L.L.C.
rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or
in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including
recording or by any information storage and retrieval system,
permission in writing by the publisher.
by Janice Schwartz
Inflammation and Health L.L.C.
Bethesda, MD 20892–3570