When you think of inflammation, most likely you think of a wound on your skin that is red, swollen and painful. As part of your body's natural defense system, a certain amount of inflammation is healthy, especially when it responds to infection, irritation or injury. But once the battle has been fought, inflammation should return to normal levels. Unlike the swelling around a bug bite or the bruise resulting from a fall, you cannot see the inflammation that may be impacting other aspects of your health. This type of inflammation is silent but deadly—it's causing damage to your organs and can lead to serious conditions like heart disease, cancer and neurological disorders such as Alzheimer and Parkinson's diseases. It can be caused by a variety of factors including genetics, a sedentary lifestyle, high levels of stress, certain medications, leaky gut syndrome and refined and processed foods and sugars, which lead to insulin spikes.
Right now there is no definitive test for inflammation; the best you can do is measure the levels of C-Reactive Protein (CRP) in your blood through a blood test:
• Less than 1.0 mg/Liter = low risk
• 1.0-3.0 mg/Liter = average risk
• Above 3.0 = High risk
Many doctors consider anything about 1.0 mg/Liter too high. And it's bad news when inflammation remains chronically elevated. Fortunately a low-carb diet like Atkins has been shown to eliminate those inflammation-causing foods (refined and processed foods and sugars) and focus on foods shown to decrease inflammation:
• Colorful low-glycemic vegetables and low-sugar fruits rich in antioxidants
• Whole food sources of complex carbohydrates and grains
• Protein including eggs, fatty fish such as salmon, legumes, nuts, seeds
• Healthy fats including olive oil and avocado
There are also a few studies that show that a low-carb diet like Atkins is more effective at reducing inflammation than low-fat diets, or even Weight Watchers, the Zone and the Mediterranean Diet. These studies show that dietary carbohydrates rather than fat may be a more significant nutritional factor contributing to inflammation, although the combination of both increased fat and a high carb intake may be also be harmful. Just more reasons why Atkins is good for your waistline and your health.