Bloating, bad skin, flushed cheeks, inconsistent energy.

These are some of the outward symptoms of inflammation. But it can also lead to serious internal conditions like diabetes or cancer.

Following the low-carb, high healthy fat keto diet can reduce inflammation and dramatically improve your health overall.

In this article…

We’re going to see how you can minimize inflammation and the role keto diet plays.

Signs of inflammation and their triggers

What is inflammation?

Inflammation is the way your body protects itself from infection, illness, or injury. In a nutshell, it’s a defense mechanism.

What happens is your body increases production of white blood cells, immune cells, and substances called cytokines that help fight infection.

Chronic or long-term inflammation is a pathway to some serious health conditions: Diabetes, heart disease, fatty liver disease, and cancer.

That’s not all…

Inflammation also affects your immune system. Certain typical immune responses are necessary for functions like wound and tissue repair. However, inflammation can deregulate these processes, or cause a chronic reaction with no resolution.

This reaction, or chronic low-grade inflammation, can fester over time and result in diseases related to aging or obesity [1].

Who’s to blame?

Sugar and corn syrup are two major triggers for inflammation. By sugar, we mean added or refined sugars, i.e. table sugar.

On a topical level, sugar can inflame the skin and make you look much older than you really are. However, it’s the effect that sugar has on internal organs that is deeply troublesome.

In one scientific study about how sugar affects inflammation, groups of mice were fed typical Western diets with added sugar.

The results suggested that fructose derived from the sucrose (table sugar) caused inflammation in several groups of mice. Further, facilitating the growth of breast cancer tumors and metastasis in those cases.

Therefore, the study suggests that there was a link between sugar intake and increased risk of cancer [2].

Corn syrup is also just plain bad for you—particularly high fructose corn syrup. This is commonly found in foods like soda, candy, and juices.

Other inflammation triggers:

  • Refined carbs (white bread, pasta, etc)
  • Processed or packaged foods with trans fats (Desserts like doughnuts and cookies, frozen pizza, crackers, chips, pretzels, etc. Also if it has ‘partially hydrogenated’ ingredients, steer clear.)
  • Processed meats (Hot dogs, salami, etc)
  • Vegetable oils
  • Alcohol

These foods are often comprised of artificial ingredients, not natural ones. It is little surprise that they, in a way, set your organs on fire.

Related Article: Low Carb Sugar Substitutes: Sweet Alternatives to Sugar

But guess what?

The keto diet can reduce inflammation

The ketogenic diet has a huge advantage in reducing inflammation. It is based on consuming more whole foods low in carbs, moderate in protein, and high in healthy fats, and cutting out processed foods.

Research has demonstrated that a diet restricted in carbohydrates can mitigate biological markers of inflammation.

To name a few:

New research also shows that the keto diet has a mechanism that reduces inflammation in the brain.

There is ample evidence that the diet helps with epilepsy treatment. However, it could also help diseases such as brain trauma or strokes that are the result of brain inflammation.

In one study, scientists caused inflammation in the brains of rats. Then, they introduced a molecule called 2-deoxyglucose which blocks glucose, a function of the keto diet.

This dramatically lowered levels of inflammation, and is a strong indicator of how the keto diet can suppress inflammation [3].

Foods that will mitigate inflammation

It’s critical to consume the foods that the keto diet is based on–whole foods that aren’t processed and are rich in antioxidants and nutrients. Some of these include:

  • Vegetables-Go for darker pigmented ones like broccoli or kale.
  • Fruits: Again, go for darker pigmented ones like grapes or cherries.
  • Healthy fats: Olive oil, avocados, salmon, sardines, anchovies, etc.
  • Nuts: Almonds, different nut types.
  • Chocolate: Choose chocolate that is comprised mainly of cacao, which is easy to find in types of dark chocolate.
  • Spices: Turmeric is very popular right now as a health ingredient.
  • Green tea: Green tea is one of the healthiest drinks out there, and it is well known for being packed with antioxidants and having a soothing effect on the body.
  • Peppers: Bell peppers and chili peppers.

Lifestyle tips for reducing inflammation

Apart from just diet, it’s important to adjust your lifestyle in order to reduce inflammation and its associated health complications. Some lifestyle tips are as follows:

Exercise!
Too much sedentary behavior has been linked to biomarkers that indicate chronic low-grade inflammation and poor metabolic health. Consistent exercise is optimal for any diet.

Health supplements
Fish oil, curcumin, ginger, and spirulina are all regarded as different types of supplements that are anti-inflammatory. They can be consumed orally in pill form, as in the case of fish oil, or mixed in with foods, like curcumin or spirulina can.

Sleep
Even though it’s well known that getting enough sleep is extremely important, people still seem to skimp out on it.

Sleep loss can contribute to chemical immune responses associated with inflammation. This can result in developing cardiovascular, metabolic, and neurodegenerative diseases.

Additionally, not getting enough sleep can cause you to depend on the following: Energy drinks, soda, and candy to name a few. This, of course, will trigger more inflammation, among other things [4].

Final Thoughts…

After sticking with the low-carb, whole foods featured in the ketogenic diet, you will start to feel better overall.

After all, such foods are packed with natural nutrients and ingredients, not artificial ones. And since they aren’t processed, you know exactly what’s going in your body.

These diet and lifestyle changes will go a long way in not only reducing inflammation, but improving your overall health.

References

[1] Alexander M, O’Connell RM. Noncoding RNAs and chronic inflammation: Micro-managing the fire within. Bioessays. 2015 Sep;37(9):1005-15. doi: 10.1002/bies.201500054. Epub 2015 Aug 6.

[2] Jiang Y, Pan Y, Rhea PR, Tan L, Gagea M, Cohen L, Fischer SM, Yang P.
A Sucrose-Enriched Diet Promotes Tumorigenesis in Mammary Gland in Part through the 12-Lipoxygenase Pathway. Cancer Res. 2016 Jan 1;76(1):24-9.

[3] Yiguo Shen and others. “Bioenergetic state regulates innate inflammatory responses through the transcriptional co-repressor CtBP.” Nature Communications. September 22nd, 2017.

[4] Hurtado-Alvarado, Gabriela and others. “Sleep Loss as a Factor to Induce Cellular and Mollecular Inflammatory Variations.” Hindawi Journal of Immunology Research. October 21, 2013.

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Jessica Cotzin is a freelance writer, web developer, and avid traveler. Born and raised in South Florida, she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Multi-Media Journalism from Florida Atlantic University and currently resides in Miami Beach. Her passions lie in reading great literature and traveling the world, bumping blindly into new adventures.

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