You may notice from time to time that your feet are ballooning. Strenuous exercise, various foot conditions, and a number of other factors may influence the level of swelling in your feet.
But did you know the source of inflammation and Swollen Feet might be in your cupboard or refrigerator? Who would have thought?
It should be noted that inflammation is your body’s natural process of fighting against things that harm it – such as infections, injuries and toxins – in an attempt to heal itself. In many cases, suppressing inflammation does more harm than good since you’re treating the symptom and not the cause. But too much inflammation can lead to conditions such as arthritis, heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
Today, more than one in four Canadians — or over ten million people —lives with diabetes or prediabetes, according to Diabetes Canada.
As Harvard Health Publishing says, “intermittent bouts of inflammation directed at truly threatening invaders protect your health.” But chronic inflammation can become your enemy. Further, one study finds that “chronic, low-grade inflammation is a key factor in the pathogenesis of the cardiovascular disease, and is associated with the risk of developing diabetes, dementia, and depression.”
There are many foods that can cause inflammation and joint issues that will make your feet swell; conversely, there are also a number of foods that help reduce inflammation and joint pain. We’ll discuss these foods below:
Foods that can cause inflammation
You’ll see a pattern within this list. Foods that generally cause inflammation are also bad for your general health. One of the drivers behind this is the link between bad foods and weight gain, which itself contributes to inflammation.
1. Sugar and high-fructose corn syrup
When there’s too much sugar in our system, our insulin tries to store the excess within fat cells, causing them to get larger.
- White bread
- Sweetened beverages
- Granola bars
Diabetes Canada recommends Canadians limit their intake of free sugars to less than 10% of total daily calorie (energy) intake. According to the organization, less than 10% of total daily calories is approximately 50 grams (12 teaspoons) of free sugars consumed per day based on a 2000-calorie diet. The emphasis here is the intake of “free sugars,” which are sugars and syrups added to foods during processing or preparation. Sugars are ubiquitous in our food supply so the differentiation between added sugar and naturally occurring sugars within food (ie: bananas, milk, fruits, and vegetables) is important.
2. Artificial trans fats
- French fries
- Fried foods
3. Vegetable and seed oils
Many vegetable, seed, or hydrogenated oils can contain trans fat, which contributes to inflammation. At one time, it was believed that moderate intake of trans fat was OK, but more recent research finds that that T-fat is not safe, adding that the greatest danger from T-fat lies in its capacity to distort the cell membranes.
4. Refined carbohydrates
- French fries
- Sugary cereals
- White rice
Like sugar, refined carbs create a spike in blood sugar and raises your inflammatory response as your body’s immune system tries to remove the excess from your blood supply.
Drinking alcohol means your body retains more water. This excess water retention causes a rise in swelling, but it usually subsides within a day or two. Chronic alcohol consumption however may lead to longer-term problems, not just because of inflammation, but for your liver, heart, and kidneys.
One study published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information found that “Chronic alcohol use impairs not only gut and liver functions but also multi-organ interactions, leading to persistent systemic inflammation and ultimately, to organ damage.”
6. Red meat and processed meat
Processed and red meats are high in saturated fat, which causes inflammation.
- Hot dogs
Foods that can fight inflammation
There’s another side of the coin. There are many foods that combat inflammation and can reduce swelling. Many fruits and vegetables, for example, are high in antioxidants and polyphenols which help reduce swelling in the body.
According to Harvard Health Publishing, nuts and coffee have been associated with reduced inflammation markers and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Foods that can fight inflammation include:
3. Fatty fish
As coffee contains polyphenols — naturally occurring organic compounds — and other anti-inflammatory compounds, this caffeinated beverage may protect against inflammation.
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