Is Inflammation Stoping you from Losing Weight?

by Ola Van Zyl DipNT mNTOI

People tend to associate inflammation with obvious symptoms like pain, redness, swelling or warmth. However, there is another, more silent type of inflammation, which could be happening in the body for moths or even years, called a chronic inflammation. If you are overweight you may be chronically inflamed and experiencing silent inflammation.

As a result of going weight our fat cells accumulate more fat (adipose) tissue and become larger and more stretch. At one stage they may become leaky what will cause the immune cells (macrophages) to release inflammatory chemicals to clean up this mess. This inflammatory response may bring a various negative effects of overweight on health.

The body tries to overcome this silent inflammation by producing anti-inflammatory chemicals that may interfere with the function of a hormone called leptin. Leptin is responsible for boosting our metabolisms and appetite control, is contributing to maintaining a healthy weight. However in a state of inflammation in the body the leptin production gets inefficient, leading to leptin resistance and causing weight gain no matter what we eat. The more adipose tissue in the body the higher leptin production, what equals constant hunger and increased inflammation.

Recent studies have also shown that leptin inhibits insulin secretion and have anti-insulin effects on liver and adipose tissue. This means that leptin could play a role in the insulin-resistance of obesity and type II diabetes. And, if you are inflamed this inflammation will keep you in the insulin resistance state.

This is a vicious cycle of excess fat and inflammation making it impossible to lose weight and contributing to serious weight related health issues like diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular problems and even cancer. There is a good news however: we can restore the metabolism and reverse leptin and insulin resistance, by correcting our eating and lifestyle habits.

How to break this vicious cycle?

There are a few factors which could be contributing to the inflammation related leptin and insulin unbalance.

Eliminate food allergies and intolerances

Overweight, inflammation, and food allergies are intimately related. Food allergies are a prime candidate for weight gain due to inflammation as well as from allergic cravings or food addiction. Yes, that’s correct, food that we are intolerant or allergic to may cause addiction like symptoms in our brain leading to cravings of the foods that we are intolerant/allergic to. Consumption of those foods will also create a state of chronic inflammation in our body causing us to gain weight. Best way to find out if you are intolerant to certain foods is to perform food intolerance test.

Support the production of anti-inflammatory prostaglandins

The type of fat that we are consuming will affect the type of prostaglandins that our body is producing. Prostaglandins are made from the fats that we eat, some of them will promote inflammation, others  will reduce it.

The essential omega-3 fatty acids will encourage the production of anti-inflammatory prostaglandins. The best dietary source of these fatty acids is fatty fish, like mackerel, salmon, sardines. Vegetarian source are chia seeds, flax seeds and flaxseeds oil. Most people need more omega-3 fatty acids than they can consume from a diet, therefore  supplementation may be necessary.

Omega – 6 fatty acids are much more common in our diet. Very popular sunflower oil or vegetable oils are extremely high in omega – 6. Most of the nuts and seeds that we consume would have a higher concentration of omega – 6 other than omega – 3. Overconsumption of omega – 6 with inadequate intake of omega – 3 will contribute to production of pro- inflammatory prostaglandins, causing us to gain weight. Therefore the type of oils that we chose and being mindful of the adequate omega – 3 intake is so important. Ditch the vegetable or sunflower oils and substitute it with healthier olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil or flaxseed oil. Also make sure that there’s omega 3 sources present in your daily diet or that you are taking omega 3 supplement.

Avoid inflammation increasing foods

Beside the foods that you are intolerant or allergic to the inflammation can also be increased by other foods. Probably the most essential way to reduce inflammation is to reduce insulin levels, as the  insulin activates an enzyme that increases the production of pro-inflammatory prostaglandins. Therefore eating plan which controls blood sugar and insulin levels will results in the balance of prostaglandins being more anti-inflammatory, resulting in less silent inflammation, more active leptin control, and losing weight more easily.

The diets that  are high in simple carbohydrates is causing exaggerated blood sugar spikes and is leading to raised insulin levels, further contributing to insulin resistance.  Avoiding simple  carbohydrates, like sugary and starchy foods (for example sweets, cakes, fizzy drinks, chocolate, potatoes, pasta, bread etc.) and substituting it with complex ones, like vegetables. Additionally, adding adequate protein and healthy fat source is the key to prevent insulin resistance, healthy leptin control, decreased inflammation and weight loss as a result.

Implement anti-inflammatory superfoods

Some foods have anti-inflammatory properties because they contain powerful bioflavanoids, carotenoids and other anti-inflammatory compounds. These foods include ginger and related spices, cherries, blueberries, other dark berries, pomegranates, and some other fruits, vegetables, and seasonings. Other foods that are super beneficial for us because they contain a variety of nutrients that moderate inflammation. Those are:

•High in omega 3 high-fat fish such as salmon, contributing to production of anti-inflammatory prostaglandins.

•Probiotic reach natural yogurt, promoting the establishment of friendly intestinal flora and helps normalize immunity.

•Luteolin (found in green bell peppers and possibly other bell peppers) has an anti-inflammatory effect because it blocks the production of interleukin-6, a powerful promoter of inflammation.

•Green tea has a very potent anti-inflammatory effect due to its high level of catechin polymers.

•Citrus flavanoids are found in grapefruit and oranges.

•Darkly colored fruits are potently anti-inflammatory because they contain high levels of anthocyanidins.

•Reservatrol is found in red grapes and red wine.

•Beta-carotene is found in large amounts in carrots, broccoli, and arugula.

•Celery and celery seed contain over 20 anti-inflammatory compounds including apigenin.

•Catechins in blueberries and green tea which are not only anti-inflammatory but also stimulate fat-burning in abdominal fat cells which promotes weight loss especially in the mid-section of the body.

 

 

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