Inflammation: Why Food Matters

Inflammation: Why Food Matters

Inflammatory foods are foods that trigger your immune system to produce inflammatory chemicals like histamine.

Inflammatory foods are divided into 2 main categories – food allergies and food sensitivities. Food allergies occur when your immune system perceives a food as a foreign invader and makes IgE antibodies in response to the threat. The most well known and common food allergies are to peanuts and shellfish. When allergic foods are consumed, the reaction is immediate and so severe it can be life threatening.

Food sensitivities, on the other hand, are often insidious because reactions are delayed and more subtle than food allergies.  Symptoms can include abdominal bloating, headache, joint pain, and fatigue, to name a few.  It can take up to 3 days after a food is eaten before you experience a symptom. The most common food sensitivities are wheat, dairy, eggs, soy, corn, and tree nuts.

Consuming inflammatory foods regularly accelerates the aging process. When inflammation becomes chronic; cells, tissues, and organs of your body become damaged (e.g arthritis).  There are varying degrees of inflammation produced when a problem food is consumed. In general, the greater the inflammatory response, the more severe the symptom.

You can do an objective test to determine inflammatory foods or you can do an experiment. Eliminate highly inflammatory foods (wheat, eggs, dairy, soy, corn, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish) from your diet for at least 1 month. After a month systematically reintroduce one food at a time back into your diet and pay attention to how you feel for 3 days. Foods that trigger a symptom should be avoided. Foods you tolerate can be reintroduced back into your diet.