The inflammatory index of food is a concept little known by most consumers, even if it finds a relevant space in the nutrizinal medical field. The blogger Günther Karl Fuchs author of Papille Vagabonde in this article explains what is the relationship between the ingested food and the state of inflammation that can be generated in the body.
What is the food inflammation index? And who do you need? It is currently an index used more in medical-scientific studies than in everyday life. Inflammation is associated with a range of chronic health conditions, such as cancer and cardiovascular disease, so reducing it can help prevent or, in some cases, treat these conditions. Several studies indicate that nutrition can help to modulate inflammation. Research in recent years has shown that there are foods that can stimulate an inflammatory state, and others that can help to reduce it.
Inflammation is a defensive response of the organism to external attacks, a normal reaction of the immune system. The problem arises when the situation lasts a long time and becomes chronic over time. When it happens, it is called chronic low-grade inflammation ( chronic low-grade inflamation ), a condition that can stimulate cellular aging and, according to the researchers, favor the development of degenerative diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and Alzheimer’s. For this reason nutritionists invite to follow a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods and with less pro-inflammatory foods.
The index is calculated based on the impact of C-reactive protein, a measurable protein in the blood produced by the liver, which acts as a stable biological marker for detecting inflammation at an early stage. It is not the first time that we hear about the C-reactive protein (PCR), as it is a blood test that can be prescribed when there is a suspicion of a bacterial infection, a meningitis, cancer, but also a disease inflammatory intestinal, autoimmune, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic arthritis or Chron’s disease.
Among the foods that contribute to a generalized inflammatory state, researchers include sweets and industrial snacks
Once the reaction of the food to the C reactive protein has been evaluated , the foods are divided into 3 categories: pro-inflammatory, anti-inflammatory or neutral. It is not excluded that in the future this classification may become a better known index to the public, by virtue of the excessive increase in diseases related to inflammation.
Pro-inflammatory foods are those that due to their characteristics have the potential to worsen the state of inflammation. Generally it is very elaborate industrial food that contains among the ingredients in addition to saturated fats and cholesterol, also additives, dyes, sweeteners and flavor enhancers:
Sweets and industrial snacks
Salami (for the content of saturated fats and cholesterol)
Breaded chicken and fish fillets
Potatoes and chips *
Berry fruit, selective focus
In general, anti-inflammatory foods are of plant origin and rich in fiber and micronutrients
Foods that reduce the inflammatory state, generally are those with many fibers and some micronutrients contained in fruits and vegetables. In the list we find:
Cereal, especially whole wheat, in addition to wheat, rice, oats, barley, spelled, rye, buckwheat, millet.
Extra virgin olive oil (for the content of monounsaturated fats, vitamin E and polyphenols)
Flax and pumpkin seeds
Almonds and walnuts
Turmeric and ginger
Within a balanced diet it may be useful to prefer anti-inflammatory foods, with a low inflammation index, in particular for people who have already been diagnosed or when there is a risk of developing autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular diseases and diseases degenerative.
Although the inflammatory index of food may be a novelty for many, the theory adds nothing to the knowledge already known. The invitation is always to consume more cereals, better if whole, prefer extra virgin olive oil, eat five portions of fresh fruit and vegetables a day, the usefulness of consumption, even if moderate, of dried fruit (almonds) , nuts) and the limitation of all processed industrial foods rich in salt, saturated fats, sugar, additives and flavor enhancers.
Potatoes are considered pro-inflammatory due to their high glycemic index
The inclusion by researchers in the list of inflammatory foods of potatoes has raised a lot of perplexity, but it should be remembered that they have a high glycemic index (such as sugar and 00 flour). The relationship between a high glycemic index and a high inflammatory index is known, even if the glycemic index of the potatoes varies for example in the baked ones from 56 to 111, if boiled from 56 to 101.
It is necessary to bear in mind that potatoes also recall a certain quantity of fats as a condiment in traditional cuisine and also frequency of consumption and quantity. Researchers do not invite to eliminate, but to reduce consumption. We must not focus on a specific food but on nutrition in general, which today is particularly rich in ready-made foods. Even partially reducing those would be an excellent goal, beyond the potato.