A current popular topic for medical research is inflammation. We all know what happens when you sprain your ankle or hurt some part of your body – it becomes inflamed and swollen. But, there are also things going on inside the body that the naked eye can’t see. That’s similar to what happens when you eat something unhealthy.
What happens internally when you eat something harmful?
Most think nothing happens, which may be true in some instances. However, even one fast food meal can cause inflammation. For example, if you ate a fast-food hamburger, fries and a coke, here’s what would happen:
1. Insulin levels rise to accommodate high glucose levels
2. Levels of trans fat in your blood can trigger free radicals or oxygenation (i.e. rust on an old car), and constriction in your blood vessels
These changes are short lived and can be turned around with a healthy meal, but what happens if you consume these foods meal after meal?
Inflammation is manifested in many forms, and triggers many health issues such as:
- high blood pressure
- heart disease
- fatty liver
- gastrointestinal reflux (GERD)
One blood test used to measure inflammation in the body is called C-reactive protein. This measures when inflammation is high, like when the body is experiencing infection and stress, but can also be elevated due to obesity, cardiovascular disease, or diabetes. A measure greater than 3.0 mg/l puts someone in a higher risk category than having levels below 3.
Is there a type of eating that can lower inflammation? Over the last several years, multiple studies have shown certain foods can increase or decrease inflammation as well as the balance of what one eats.
Since this topic is a whole blog in itself let’s wait till tomorrow to discuss anti-inflammatory eating so stay tuned.