PROCESSED CARBOHYDRATES VERSUS “REAL” WHOLE FOODS
Processed carbohydrates cause a PRO-INFLAMMATORY response in the body, meaning that they increase inflammation. Eating these foods causes a chain reaction that I like to call the domino effect.
What are processed carbohydrates?
These are the unfavourable carbohydrates that contain high amounts of refined sugar and flour. This includes all the bland starchy man made foods including bread, pasta, rice, potato/chips and cereals. Now these foods do contain nutrients needed by the body but they are also a very dense source of unnecessary calories that increase the inflammatory response and we can get heaps more goodness and decrease inflammation by eating favourable carbs in the form nutrient dense fruit and vegetables, meat and fish and good fats.
What is the inflammatory response?
Inflammation is the way the body reacts to infection, irritation or injury, with symptoms of redness, warmth, swelling and pain in an attempt to heal the body or keep it working properly. Normally when people think of something being inflamed they imagine a joint or limb, but this reaction even happens inside our bodies to our organs and body systems, including the brain, cardiorespiratory and digestive systems. Inflammation is obviously a necessary reaction inside the body on an acute level but the less inflamed we are chronically, the better we will function.
The Domino Effect
When our body systems are attacked by toxins and bacteria from the environment, the inflammatory chain reaction begins:
- The body goes into stress and trauma while it tries to fight the invasion. This is the inflammatory response where the body seals off the infected area, and brings in all the good nutrients and fighter cells to kill off the invaders.
- As a result our immune function and our ability to fight infection and disease are reduced and we are likely to get sick.
There is a fork in the road at this stage, we can either:
Path A: Eat The Chief Life nutrition recommendation = ANTI-INFLAMMATORY (fruit and vegetables, good fats in fish and oils, organic foods, herbs and spices);
Path B: Eat unfavourable, processed carbohydrates containing highly refined flour and sugar = PRO-INFLAMMATORY (high sugar intake, bad fats (especially trans fats), lack of nutrients, excess alcohol and caffeine, artificial colours, flavours and preservatives).
If we choose path A we will have all the nutrients we need to fight the infection and stop ourselves from getting sick, as well as giving our bodies all the good stuff it needs to function at the highest level. Most of the foods we recommend actually have an ANTI-inflammatory response, meaning that they reduce the inflammation action caused by toxins. The chain reaction stops here and we have heaps of energy and feel great.
If we choose path B we get sick, or if we don’t get sick we feel lethargic and tired, and have no energy to work those long days in the office and make it into the gym after work, or motivation to cook ourselves dinner when we get home from that long day at the office.
Any food we eat will be used to help fight infection to try to stop us getting sick, but the food that we’re eating – the processed carbohydrates – are PRO-inflammatory, meaning our immune system is even more open to infection. Any important vitamins and minerals will be used to fight infection instead of used for their most important jobs like repair and maintenance of cells.
When we eat these PRO-inflammatory foods, wounds and infections take much longer to heal and we get sick more often. We have fallen into a vicious cycle where we get sick from putting toxins in our body, causing stress, so we put more toxins in our body in an attempt to make us feel better, but actually making our immune system worse, and so on….
So, the take home message is: eat only unprocessed colourful fruit and vegetables for carbohydrate intake instead of bad processed high calorie carbohydrates to keep your cells and body not inflamed and happy!
Stacey Turner – The Chief Life
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