Sore lately? Yes, I know you’ve been killing it in the gym. You go hard, and you go fast. You even take an extra 15 minutes after class to foam roll. Then you get home, what are you eating? What you put into your body can have just as much an effect on your muscles and recovery as your stretching. For starters, here’s what to stay away from:
The Top 5 Inflammatory Foods
1. Refined Sugar
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that processed sugars and other high-glycemic starches increase inflammation, which causes pain, overheating, redness and swelling. The Dartmouth Medical School also found that sugar causes acne. High amounts of sugar in the diet increase advanced glycation end-products, or AGEs, a protein bound to a glucose molecule, resulting in damaged, cross-linked proteins. As the body tries to break these AGEs apart, immune cells secrete inflammatory messengers called cytokines. Depending on where the AGEs occur and your genetic predisposition, they could eventually result in arthritis, cataracts, heart disease, poor memory or wrinkled skin.
2. Refined Grains
Processed grains are similar to refined sugar in that have a higher glycemic index than unprocessed grains and can increase inflammation. White flour breaks down quickly into sugar while still in your mouth! Compared to whole grains, the refined grains have very little fiber or vitamin B.
3. Artificial Sweetener
Many artificial sweetener cause inflammation especially if you are already prone to it. Aspartame is a common artificial sweetener than many people identify as a culprit.
4. Vegetable Oil
Vegetable oils including corn, soy, cottonseed, canola and trans fats are imbalanced in their omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids content. They have a very high omega-6 content and very low omega-3 content – this imbalance encourages inflammation.
A better choice is olive oil which contains oleic acid and is an anti-inflammatory. The Journal of the American College of Nutrition found people consuming more oleic acid have better insulin function and lower blood sugar.
However, many imported olive oils are fake, so be careful to by a REAL oil.
5. Commercially Raised Meat
Feedlot raised animals are fed a diet that is high in inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids but low in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats. They are fed grains like soy beans and corn. Due to the confined space in which these animal live, they are also given hormones to encourage growth and antibiotics to prevent illness.
A better choice is wild or grass-fed meat in which the animal has a natural diet of grass rather than grain. This yields meat which is higher in omega-3 fats.
Healthy cells, blood vessels and tissues can be attacked instead of protected by chronic inflammation. Over time, these overactive inflammatory cells and the accompanying hormones take their toll on our bodies. The symptoms may be subtle, often characterized by headache and fatigue and are dismissed. Listen to your body and its warnings.
Take 20 minutes to find your 1RM Back Squat
100 M Run
12 Walking Lunge Steps
It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that matters in the end.
– Ursula K. LeGuin