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Reduce Inflammation With The Keto Diet

Published November 30, 2018 (Revised: July 17, 2019)
<article> <section> <p>Inflammation is a natural process in the body that can help us fight off disease and heal our tissues. However, chronic inflammation caused by a steady flow of chemicals or foreign “invaders” in the body can lead to diseases like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.</p> <p>Unfortunately, this kind of inflammation can be the result of a poor diet. Yes, that’s right. We all “know” that eating healthy is important, but we don’t always think about the specific negative consequences that can result from a lackluster diet over time.</p> <p>A diet full of processed foods and refined <a target="_blank" href="">sugars</a> places the body in a state that leaves it vulnerable to disease.</p> <p>Fortunately, a good diet can help reverse the effects of chronic inflammation. In fact, a significant amount of research shows that the ketogenic diet may be one of the best out there for reducing inflammation.</p> <p>In this article, we’ll take a look at what inflammation is, how our diet plays a role in chronic inflammation, and the science behind the keto diet and inflammation.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>What is Inflammation?</header> <p>Inflammation is a natural process by which the body’s white blood cells protect us from infections caused by things like bacteria and viruses. That may sound like a good thing, and that’s because it is. In an acute sense (acute meaning short-term), our bodies use inflammation to actually keep us healthy.</p> <div class="sub-head">Chronic Inflammation</div> <p>Chronic inflammation is something different. It’s a persistent type of swelling of our tissues that can lead to disease. Some diseases, such as arthritis, trigger inflammation when there are no infections to fight off. We call these autoimmune diseases, because the body’s inflammatory response is what leads to the actual tissue being damaged.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>What Causes Inflammation in The Body?</header> <p>As you’ve already learned, inflammation in the body is a response of the immune system. You should also know that it can be caused by a number of things.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="knee-replacement-scar"> </picture> <div class="sub-head">Healing Wounds</div> <p>For example, the first step in the wound healing process is inflammation, also known as swelling. Though we tend to try to decrease swelling (ex., applying ice to an injury), it is important to remember that without inflammation<sup>1</sup>, healing would never take place. The increased blood flow and swelling of an injury is how your body works to heal those tissues.</p> <div class="sub-head">Diet</div> <p>A diet full of inflammatory foods (ex., processed ingredients such as refined sugars and processed carbohydrates) can also cause inflammation in the body. But how?</p> <p>Remember that our immune system responds with inflammation to the foreign “invaders” it must ward off. These invaders can be the chemicals in processed foods or a diet full of sugar.</p> <p>When inflammation is present day in and day out, it can lead to diseases<sup>2</sup> like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, depression, and Alzheimer’s. </p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>Pain and Chronic Disease from Inflammation</header> <p>What diseases are associated with inflammation? Unfortunately, there are several. </p> <div class="sub-head">Here are a few:</div> <p>Though many people are born with various types of arthritis, it can develop or be exacerbated by a poor diet. In fact, the Arthritis Foundation’s Ultimate Arthritis Diet<sup>3</sup> recommends similar guidelines to the ketogenic diet. </p> <p>Fibromyalgia<sup>4</sup> has many of the same symptoms as an autoimmune disorder and results in pain, stiffness, or tenderness in specific areas of the body. Again, people that suffer from fibromyalgia are advised to eat a diet consisting of <a target="_blank" href="">anti-inflammatory foods</a> to reduce symptoms.</p> <p>Inflammation may also cause or be associated with flu-like symptoms such as pain in the neck, fever, chills, fatigue, and headaches.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>The Standard American Diet and Inflammation</header> <p>What is the “Standard American Diet”? Unfortunately, as the acronym spells out, it’s actually kind of “SAD.” Americans simply don’t―and remember that we’re generalizing―follow a diet conducive to healthy living.</p> <p>For example, about three quarters of the population eats a diet<sup>5</sup> low in vegetables, fruit, dairy, and healthy meats and fats. Also, more than half of the population exceeds the total grain, sugar, saturated fat, and sodium allowances on a daily basis. Many also eat a diet containing too many calories, which leads to weight gain.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="processed-foods-and-sugars"> </picture> <p>Unfortunately, the Standard American Diet is rich in inflammatory foods<sup>6</sup>. Examples of those inflammatory foods <sup>7</sup> include refined starches, greasy food, and excess sugars. </p> <div class="sub-head">Here’s how both excess carbohydrates and sugar can lead to an increase in chronic inflammation in the body.</div> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="carbohydrates"> </picture> <div class="sub-head">Carbs</div> <p>Carbohydrate products made with white flour (such as bread or crackers), white rice, potatoes, and many cereals are known as refined carbohydrates. According to Scientific American<sup>8</sup>, processed carbohydrates fuel the production of advanced glycation end products (AGE), which stimulates inflammation in the body. </p> <p>Over time, excessive carbohydrate intake can encourage chronic inflammation, which can promote disease.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="donuts-candy-sugar-cookies"> </picture> <div class="sub-head">Sugar</div> <p>While many of us know that added sugar can lead to obesity or a disease like diabetes, it’s also important to know that it can cause low-grade inflammation in the gut and promote chronic inflammation that can lead to diseases like cancer and arthritis.</p> <p>One study<sup>9</sup> showed that as little as one can of soda per day led to increased inflammation as well as elevated insulin resistance and higher LDL cholesterol (the bad kind).</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>Can the Ketogenic Diet Reduce Inflammation?</header> <p>If you read the last two sections on carbs and sugar―and you know anything about the ketogenic diet―you might already be getting excited about the possible benefits of keto in relation to reducing inflammation.</p> <p>If not, or if you’re skipping around the article―which is totally fine―let’s get you clued in.</p> <p>Chronic inflammation can be the result of poor diet and can lead to disease. Inflammatory foods like refined starches and sugar lead to inflammation. This can be prevented (or reversed) with a good diet.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>Keto and Inflammation</header> <p>In terms of anti-inflammatory food choices, the ketogenic diet encourages you to eat a diet rich in proteins and fats that immediately reduces the number of carbohydrates and sugar you’re taking in. For someone experiencing pain or inflammation in their joints, this shift alone could reduce the symptoms.</p> <p>But it goes deeper than that, because the science behind it<sup>10</sup> confirms that keto does indeed reduce inflammation. </p> <p>For example, compared to glucose metabolism, ketone metabolism (what we call ketosis) produced fewer reactive oxygen species. Perhaps that’s not a term you hear every day, but all you really need to know is that reactive oxygen species contribute to chronic inflammation in the body.</p> <p>Being in a state of ketosis, on the other hand, is that “magic” spot that is helping people all over the world lose a ton of weight and feel better. And on top of that, the science also says it helps reduce inflammation. Seems like a win-win to us.</p> <p>The same research goes on to suggest that a ketogenic diet can reduce joint pain and decrease localized inflammation (beneficial to someone with a diseased organ such as their liver, for example). </p> <p>Basically, the science backing the ketogenic diet is pretty compelling. If you’re dealing with inflammation, it’s a great way to reduce or eliminate the negative side effects and maybe even prevent disease.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>Beta-Hydroxybutyrate and Ketosis</header> <p><a target="_blank" href="">Beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB)</a> and ketosis are associated terms in the inner ketogenic circles. But what is it? And more importantly, why does it matter?</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="">BHB</a> is one of three ketone bodies burned in the process of ketosis. The other two are acetate and acetoacetate. You don’t have to remember these terms; all you need to know is this:</p> <p>BHB is the ketone body primarily found in the blood during ketosis, and the presence of BHB in the body is linked to reduced inflammation<sup>11</sup> in neurons. This study shows how BHB may help decrease the chance of depression. </p> <p>This further strengthens the body of evidence surrounding the keto-inflammation connection.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>Five Keto-Approved Anti-Inflammatory Foods </header> <p>If you’re already following (or are about to begin) the keto diet, here are five anti-inflammatory food choices to incorporate into your recipes.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="tuscan-kale"> </picture> <div class="sub-head">1.Kale</div> <p>Kale is loaded with powerful antioxidants like quercetin and kaempferol. You don’t have to remember those words; just remember that antioxidants help protect our bodies against cellular damage that can lead to diseases like cancer.</p> <p>It just so happens that both of these antioxidants are also known to protect the heart, reduce blood pressure, and reduce inflammation <sup>12</sup>, among other benefits.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="raw-salmon"> </picture> <div class="sub-head">2. Salmon</div> <p>Omega-3 fatty acids found in wild salmon are known to help restore function to damaged cell membranes<sup>13</sup>, allowing them to function at a more optimal level and <a target="_blank" href="">reduce inflammation</a> in the process.</p> <p>Salmon is packed with protein and vitamins and minerals like B-12, B3, D, potassium, and selenium. And because it can be prepared a number of different ways, it’s a staple meal for keto dieters for that very reason.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="broccoli"> </picture> <div class="sub-head">3. Broccoli</div> <p>Another green vegetable containing the same antioxidants, kaempferol and quercetin, broccoli helps protect and reduce cellular damage. </p> <p>Besides reducing cellular damage and being anti-inflammatory, kaempferol is known<sup>14</sup> to protect against heart disease, cancer, and allergies. Quercetin also contributes the added benefit of lowered blood pressure<sup>15</sup>.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="garlic-bulb-and-cloves"> </picture> <div class="sub-head">4. Spices Like Garlic and Ginger</div> <p>Besides tasting good and flavoring your keto-approved meals, there are a few spices out there that can actually help reduce inflammation.</p> <p>Garlic contains sulfur compounds<sup>16</sup> that stimulate our immune system. This can help our bodies naturally fight off disease and illness. Alternatively, ginger’s primary compound, gingerol<sup>17</sup> has been linked to a decreased risk of cancer and inflammation. </p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="raw-gypsy-mushrooms"> </picture> <div class="sub-head">5. Mushrooms</div> <p>Last but not least, mushrooms offer more than just an earthy addition to your meal. They are not only anti-inflammatory<sup>18</sup> due to their high level of polysaccharides (sugars known to fight off arthritis<sup>19</sup> and inflammation), they are also packed with B vitamins, minerals, and fiber.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>Ketosis and Reduced Inflammation: Wrap-Up</header> <p>Chronic inflammation is no joke. It can lead to the deterioration of healthy human tissue and development of nasty diseases like cancer and diabetes.</p> <p>Fortunately, you have control over one of the main things that leads to chronic inflammation: your diet! Taking control over your diet is one of the first steps toward living a healthier and happier life.</p> <p><b>To learn more, check this out: <a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer" title="keto cookbook">Our newest piece of nutritional advice is completely changing how people think about losing weight, slimming down, and feeling better!</a></b></p> <div class="sub-head">Resources</div> <ol> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer" title="inflammation">Everything you need to know about inflammation</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer" title="Foods that fight inflammation">Foods that fight inflammation</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer" title="Arthritis Diet">The Ultimate Arthritis Diet</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer" title="Fibromyalgia">Fibromyalgia: Is It an Autoimmune Disease?</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer" title="Eating Patterns">Current Eating Patterns in the United States</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer" title="The Standard American Diet">Why The Standard American Diet Is SAD</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer" title="Anti-Inflammatory Diet">Anti-Inflammatory Diet: Road to Good Health?</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer" title="Food Ingredients That Can Cause Inflammation">8 Food Ingredients That Can Cause Inflammation</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer" title="sugar-sweetened beverage">Low to moderate sugar-sweetened beverage consumption</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer" title="Ketogenic Diets and Pain">Ketogenic Diets and Pain</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer" title="Beta-hydroxybutyrate">Beta-hydroxybutyrate</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer" title="Anti-Inflammatory Diet">Anti-Inflammatory Diet 101: How to Reduce Inflammation Naturally</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer" title="Omega-3 Fatty Acids">Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Inflammatory Processes</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer" title="dietary flavonoid kaempferol">A review on the dietary flavonoid kaempferol</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer" title="Quercetin">Therapeutic Potential of Quercetin to Decrease Blood Pressure</a> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer" title="Benefits of Garlic">Foods with Healing Power: The Benefits of Garlic</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer" title="Effects of Ginger">Anti-Oxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Ginger in Health and Physical Activity</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer" title="edible mushrooms">Anti-inflammatory properties of edible mushrooms</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer" title="polysaccharides">Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effect of polysaccharides</a></li> </ol> </section> </article>

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