Inflammation occurs naturally as part of the body’s immune response. It jumpstarts the healing process by flooding an injury with healing antigens. Antigens and fluids may also become concentrated within the body’s tissues to carry away irritants or foreign bodies (bacteria and viruses). The presence of inflammation does not always indicate the presence of infection.
When inflammation becomes chronic, persistent, and ongoing, it becomes a concern. Chronic Inflammation In one area of the body can trigger the inflammation in other parts of the body. For example, a sinus infection can lead to an ear infection while the immune system is compromised which may eventually affect the lungs.
In some cases, a low-grade irritant trapped in the tissues, can cause ongoing inflammation and lead to chronic inflammation. Irritable bowel syndrome is a good example; the disease causes inflammation in the intestines when certain foods passing through the digestive tract cause irritation.
This ongoing irritation if not addressed causes chronic inflammation. Chronic Inflammation has been linked to the development of heart disease, cancer and the development of other systemic diseases.
The Connection Of High Fat And High Protein Diets To Inflammation
A high fat and high protein diet leaves the body vulnerable to chronic inflammation. Protein provides the body with the building blocks of healthy tissues, amino acids. Fat provides the body with energy. Protein can also provide the body with energy but must be converted to glucose by the liver and kidneys. Ketones enter the bloodstream when fat is burned for energy when glucose is not readily available.
High levels of ketones are toxic to the body. Some tissues cannot use the ketones and require glucose; if there is not enough protein available, the body scavenges protein from muscles to convert into glucose. Basically, the body needs carbohydrates to ensure metabolic balance.
Low-carb diets not only negatively affect ready energy sources, they also limit the body’s access to nutrients and antioxidants, which prevent and repair oxidative damage. Fiber is also more challenging to acquire while following a low carb diet. A low carb dieter may only consume 2 to 7 grams of fiber per day, which is well below the recommended 25 to 30 grams.
A low carb dieter’s body is forced to draw on its emergency survival mechanisms. This causes a great deal of stress and irritation within the body which can lead to chronic inflammation, because the body is not using the most effective tools to carry out daily functions and repairs. The use of ketones for energy can lead to a toxic state called ketosis. The side effects of ketosis include bad breath, debilitating fatigue, constipation, brain fuzziness, and headaches.
Avoiding Chronic Inflammation
In order to prevent chronic inflammation, low carb dieters must be selective in their carbohydrate intake. To make the weight loss or desired fitness gains without provoking an immune response, they need to focus on eating carbohydrates with maximum nutrient and fiber density. Examples of low carb fruits and vegetables meeting these criteria include:
- Brussel sprouts
Other superfoods, which supply much-needed antioxidants, are green tea, whey protein, and coffee. Choose colorful and fiber rich fruits and vegetables. They provide the best antioxidant returns for a limited carbohydrate diet.
Dehydration also affects low carb dieter’s more frequently and severely; it contributes to constipation and low energy. The body is also not able to dispose of waste as effectively when dehydrated. Fruits and vegetables have significant water content.
They supplement any water or other fluids used to keep the body hydrated. Solid food supplies about 20% of the body’s water requirement. Low carb dieters need to pay special attention to keeping hydrated to aid their digestion and overall metabolism and prevent chronic inflammation.