Have you ever tried describing your feelings of discomfort after eating certain types of food? Usually the words inflammation and bloating make their way into those sentences and most of us would have used them interchangeably. You know how they look and how they feel - but can you tell the difference between the two terms?
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines inflammation as a local response to cellular injury that is marked by capillary dilatation, leukocytic infiltration, redness, heat, and pain and that serves as a mechanism initiating the elimination of noxious agents and of damaged tissue. In short, it is the body’s response to foreign invaders and it triggers healing.
Bloating is also a bodily response where your belly gets distended or swollen as a result of swallowing air, eating too much, consuming too much salt, or eating a certain kind of food. Bloating is also associated with periods and hormonal fluctuations.
There are certain types of food that cause inflammation, and certain types that cause bloating. Here’s a short list of some common foods that cause both.
Some people lack the digestive enzymes for breaking down certain foods. For example, a person who lacks the enzyme lactase will be unable to digest and break down lactose which results to lactose intolerance. It has the following annoying symptoms: bloating, gas, and diarrhoea.
While we all know that dairy can cause bloating, it is also one of the highly inflammatory foods. Dairy disrupts the balance of good gut bacteria which are important players in reducing inflammation. They are also a source of inflammation inducing saturated fats.
For people who are trying to make healthier food choices, cutting out deep fried food from their diet is the immediate and most convenient way to do it. It is also one of the ways to reduce inflammation and bloating. Vegetable or seed oils contain a very high amount of omega-6 fatty acids. While omega-6 is actually a healthy kind of fat, large amounts of it promote inflammation. The additional salt and/or seasoning in the batter of most fried foods contribute to bloating. It is wise to stay away or reduce consumption of deep fried, battered food.
Carbs has been a point of contention for most dieters. Some argue that it’s not healthy to cut out a major food group, and some swear by consuming extremely low levels of carbs or cutting carbs out completely from their diet. But these two groups agree that white bread should be consumed in limited amounts, if you’re trying to eat healthfully. White bread and wheat bread contain gluten which can cause inflammation, bloating, and gas. For some people with a sensitivity to gluten or have a condition called celiac disease, those symptoms can be coupled with major stomach pains, and diarrhea.
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