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5 High-Inflammatory Foods That Raise Health Risks

November 1, 2023

We all know the obvious consequence of making consistently unhealthy food choices: weight gain. But the number of ways our eating habits can affect our body and overall health doesn't stop there.

Though consumption of deep-fried foods, sugary foods, and char-grilled meat can be enjoyable, they can lead to chronic inflammation. Increased levels of inflammation in the body can cause day-to-day issues like fatigue and trouble sleeping, to more serious and even fatal health concerns like damage to healthy tissue, heart disease, diabetes, and even an elevate risk of some forms of cancer. If you’ve been overdoing any of the following inflammatory foods, consider this your wake-up call to cut back.

High-Inflammatory Foods To Aviod

1) Char-grilled meat

Whether you’re barbecuing or pan-grilling, char marks and burnt edges are a clue that your food contains heterocyclic amines (HCAs). HCAs are mutagenic because they cause damage to DNA that may increase the risk of cancer. Rodents fed with HCAs developed tumors of breast, colon, liver, skin, lung, and prostate. Cooking any animal protein at a high temperature can form HCAs, but red meat is likely the worst offender.

Meat that’s been cooked over an open flame also often contains polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), the same matter that can be found in cigarette smoke and car exhaust fumes (still hungry?). PAHs form when fat and juices drip down and cause smoke that latches onto the surface of your food. Like HCAs, PAHs have been found to be linked to an increased cancer risk.

If you love the taste of char-grilled meat, you can prevent some of the damage by marinating it in a combo of lemon juice and herbs and spices. Oregano, thyme, rosemary, basil, sage, and black pepper are all loaded with beneficial antioxidants, which counteract inflammation.

2) Processed meat products

The high amount of saturated fat in processed meat causes further inflammation of the fat tissue in your body. These foods also contain high levels of sodium nitrite, a compound that may increase the risk of gastric cancer. Processed meat cooked in high heat – like bacon sizzling in a pan - are a significant source of advanced glycation end products (AGEs). AGEs cause oxidative stress and inflammation, which researchers believe may accelerate age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

3) Alcohol

In moderation, alcohol can reduce inflammation and lower stress. But when consumed in excess, alcohol induces inflammation in the gut and may explain the close connection between alcohol overuse and cancer, liver disease, and neurological damage.

If you choose to imbibe, limit your intake to two drinks a day or less if you’re a man or one drink a day or less if you’re a woman.

4) Sugary foods and drinks

Sugar is high in calories but low in nutrients. Indulging in too many sugary products – including sodas and many sports drinks - makes it easy to pack on excess pounds and for your doctor to diagnose you as obese. And obesity is associated with chronic inflammation.

5) Ultra-processed foods and refined carbs

If it comes in a box or bag with a long list of ingredients, you can safely bet that it’s inflammatory. Highly processed foods may trigger chronic inflammation by altering the composition of the bacteria that live in your gut.

Likewise, cookies, crackers, white bread, and other refined carbohydrate products quickly cause blood sugar to spike. This triggers an inflammatory response as your body tries to bring blood glucose levels down to normal.

Instead of carbs, focus on whole grains, like quinoa and brown rice, which take longer to digest and won’t spike blood sugar.

Another risk of a poor diet is being turned down for the life insurance you need to protect your loved ones. But the Whole Life policy from your very own association and its trusted partner AMBA is different. You can get peace of mind knowing you’re guaranteed acceptance, even if you smoke or have weight issues. There are no tests or exams.Joining is easy: you can purchase your policy online right now. It even includes a no-obligation 60-day return policy. Learn more about a Whole Life Policy through your association and AMBA at www.AMBAlifeinsurance.com or call 877-290-3173.

Sources: https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/diet/cooked-meats-fact-sheet#what-are-heterocyclic-amines-and-polycyclic-aromatic-hydrocarbons-and-how-are-they-formed-in-cooked-meats

https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/ATVBAHA.110.203984#:~:text=Several%20studies%20have%20demonstrated%20that,in%20the%20innate%20immune%20response

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