Inflammation is your body’s first response to an injury or a foreign bug that causes infection, and this is good because it is meant to protect you. But, if high levels of these inflammatory chemicals are released continuously, the normal functioning of your cells can be obstructed, and healthy tissue gets damaged. Not so good – especially since more and more studies link inflammation in the body to many serious illnesses and conditions, in particular autoimmune.
Whether you've been diagnosed with an illness or, if you'd like to simply maintain general good health, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant-rich foods are the way to go!
Here are just a few of the rewards you will reap by keeping an anti-inflammatory lifestyle:
* improved immune function
* less joint pain
* fewer headaches
* relief from stomach problems
* overall sense of well-being
* fringe benefit: weight loss due to improved metabolism!
When it comes to sugar, you always want to choose low-glycemic vs. high-glycemic foods. The glycemic index determines how quickly a particular food raises your blood sugar level. High blood sugar causes inflammation and damages your immune system, and puts you at risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease.
Any food processed with white sugar or white flour is high-glycemic and should be eliminated. That means bagels, breads, breakfast cereals, cakes, cookies, crackers, candy, and soft drinks. Plus, sugars can be hidden in foods like fruit yogurts and kefirs, salad dressings, pasta sauces, ketchup, just to name a few. So be label-savvy and read the ingredients!
Here’s a quick guide to help you choose the best low-glycemic foods:
Low Glycemic – Best Choices
Filtered water, decaffeinated or herbal teas, seltzer, mineral and spring water
Organic ketchup, mustard, vinegar, all spices and herbs including: salt, pepper, basil, cinnamon, cumin, dill, garlic, ginger, mustard, oregano, parsley, rosemary, tarragon, thyme, turmeric
Coconut milk yogurt or ice cream, unsweetened dark chocolate, carob
Gluten-free whole-grain crackers with hummus, almond butter, or guacamole; coconut yogurt; nuts (except peanuts); fresh or frozen fruit (all berries, cherries, apples, pears, peaches, plums)
High Glycemic – Worst Choices
Soda, fruit juices, other drinks sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup
Anything with high-fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, or added cane sugar, such as ketchup, barbecue sauce, hot sauce, teriyaki sauce
Dried fruit, pineapple, melon, frozen yogurt or ice cream, sorbet, cookies, cakes, candy
Pretzels, potato chips, corn chips, tortilla chips, popcorn, white flour crackers, white flour & white-sugar cookies, cakes, muffins, bagels