Holistic moms know that processed foods aren’t just bad for our waistlines, but also for our health. An important area of focus is inflammation, which has been linked to a variety of chronic illnesses. Let's take a look at what causes inflammation and how processed foods contribute to it.
What is Inflammation?
Inflammation is the body’s response to an injury, infection or allergy. It’s an important part of the healing process and helps protect us from further damage or infection. However, when inflammation becomes chronic, it can lead to serious health issues like diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
Processed Foods and Inflammation
Processed foods contain refined grains , added sugar, trans fats, and synthetic ingredients that can cause inflammation in the body. Refined grains are stripped of their fiber and other nutrients during processing, making them higher in calories but lower in nutritional value. Additionally, refined grains stimulate insulin production more than whole grains do—which can lead to weight gain and high blood sugar levels that trigger inflammation. When we indulge in sweets, our bodies break down glucose for energy. This process causes inflammation throughout our bodies, though this inflammation is usually too subtle to notice. In the long run, however, it can contribute to a host of serious health issues—including obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Processed foods often contain trans fats (such as hydrogenated oils), artificial sweeteners and additives that all contribute to inflammation in the body as well. These ingredients are low-cost fillers used by food manufacturers to give food a longer shelf life or enhance flavor—but they come with significant consequences for your health.
Practical Tips for Avoiding Processed Foods
The best way to avoid processed foods is by eating more fresh fruits and vegetables instead! Eating a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables provides your body with the antioxidants it needs to reduce inflammation naturally. Additionally, avoiding sugars (especially added sugars) is one of the most effective ways to reduce inflammation since sugar increases insulin levels which leads to more inflammation. Lastly, try replacing processed snacks with healthier alternatives such as nuts or seeds for a quick dose of healthy fats which will help reduce inflammation even further! For those who like dips, hummus or other bean dips are fantastic to dip veggies in. If you are getting healthy nutrients from good whole foods, you won't be snacky and grabbing for the unhealthy options.
When it comes down to it, reducing consumption of processed foods is important if you want to reduce inflammation in the body over time. With so many healthy options available these days – such as fresh fruits & vegetables – there’s no excuse not make healthier choices! So grab some natural snacks today – your body will thank you tomorrow!
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