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Inflammation Interrupts Fat-Burning Ability

Anti-inflammatory diets may help.


Inflammation in and of itself isn’t entirely a bad thing. It is a vital part of the body’s immune response. However, long-term chronic inflammation has been linked to diseases such as heart disease and Type 2 Diabetes. Researchers have also determined that having low-grade inflammation may be thwarting your weight loss efforts by diminishing the body’s fat-burning ability.

Scientists with the University of Bonn studied mice and found that white fat cells (which store fat) can be converted into energy-consuming brown cells – a very promising line of research for anti-obesity drugs. However, your body’s inflammatory response can block this type of fat cell conversion.

The researchers gave mice a high-calorie diet and examined the changes in their fat tissue. Abdominal fat stores trigger inflammation and can promote cardiovascular disease. Inflammation factors also block the path of cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) which is important for fat-burning.

While the research is still early, it seems to give validity to the positive role of the anti-inflammatory diet, not only for preventing disease but also potentially to improve weight loss. Following a Mediterranean style diet is recommended by many experts as one of the best lifestyle changes you can make for good health.

Start today by incorporating more of these foods into your diet:

Cold-water fish: These are among the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids and include salmon, herring, tuna and mackerel. Try to eat two or three servings per week

Avocados: “Avocados contain phytosterols, carotenoid antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids – compounds with great anti-inflammatory properties

Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables: Broccoli, Brussels sprout, kale and cauliflower and other green leafy veggies contain sulforaphane, which is associated with blocking enzymes that are linked to chronic inflammation. They may also be able to prevent or reverse damage to blood vessel linings cause by chronic high blood sugar.

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Watermelon: Watermelon (and tomatoes!) contains lycopene, a cellular inhibitor for various inflammatory processes. It also works as an antioxidant to neutralize free radicals.

Onions: Onions are a good source of quercetin, which inhibits histamines known to cause inflammation.

Olive oil and canola oil: These cooking oils are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.

Berries: Polyphenol compounds, particularly anthocyanins (dark red pigments) moderate inflammation.

Whole grains: Whole grains like brown rice, quinoa and bulgur wheat are associated with decreased CRP levels (an inflammation marker). The fiber in whole grains can also help mediate inflammatory processes by feeding beneficial gut bacteria associated with lower levels of inflammation

Spices: Ginger, rosemary, turmeric, oregano, cayenne, cloves and nutmeg may possess anti-inflammatory compounds that inhibit the biochemical process of inflammation.

Journal Reference:
Abhishek Sanya et al. Interplay between obesity-induced inflammation and cGMP signaling in white adipose tissue. Cell Reports, 2016 DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2016.12.028

Additional Resource: LiveScience

Photo Credit:
By U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - [1], Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons