Health and Wellness: Inflammation Part 1

Blog 6.1: Inflammation

On the previous post, we focused on the role of dairy in promoting heart disease and cancer primarily by focusing on the ill effects of saturated fat/cholesterol for heart disease and IgF-1 for cancer. On the current post, we will focus on how dairy and other animal products(meat, poultry and eggs) lead to chronic state of inflammation. Although animal foods promote inflammation in a number of different ways, on this post, we will focus on how generation of advanced glycation end products(AGEs) leads to oxidative stress and inflammation.

 AGEs are generated when food is cooked at high temperatures, especially dry heat, such with barbecuing, baking, frying, and searing. Animal foods which are naturally high in fat and protein are particularly prone to formation of AGEs.  High carbohydrate foods, even after cooking, on the other hand, lead to relatively low production of AGEs.

 Accumulation of AGEs leads to oxidative stress and inflammation. AGEs are degraded in the body by enzymes and antioxidants. Animal foods are poor source of antioxidants. In fact, on average, plant foods contain 64 times more antioxidants than animal foods. So by eating animal foods, not only are more AGEs formed but less can be neutralized due to inherent lack of antioxidants in animal foods. Conversely, a whole foods plant based diet, particularly one rich in greens and berries, contain abundant antioxidants and anti-inflammatory polyphenols.


Inflammation is a key factor in propagation of atherosclerotic plaques, leading not just to heart disease, but vascular disease in other parts of the body. Furthermore chronic inflammation interferes with insulin-signaling pathways resulting in Insulin resistance.
This basically means that Insulin is less effective in doing its job and this in essence is what leads to development of Type II Diabetes.


Inflammation plays a direct role in progression of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease to hepatitis and cirrhosis. No medication is currently effective in reversing fatty liver disease. Best way to prevent fatty liver is to eat a whole foods plant based diet.
There is emerging evidence that inflammation also plays a key role in development of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementias.


On the next post we will look at other ways in which the SAD(Standard American Diet) promotes chronic inflammation. We will discuss other ways animal foods promote inflammation. And, we will focus on the role that inflammation plays in autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Type 1 diabetes, and Inflammatory bowel disease.
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