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As beautiful as the winter weather is, it comes with its own challenges. Winter is tough for the elderly and people with weak immune systems. The extreme cold makes us susceptible to various problems like cold, cough or chronic inflammation. But something as simple as a healthy diet can boost our immune system and prevent inflammation, so here’s a list of 5 food items which must be avoided in winter to prevent inflammation.
What is inflammation?
HealthShots reached out to Dr Eileen Canday, Head of Department of Nutrition and Dietetics at Sir H. N. Reliance Foundation Hospital and Research Centre. The doctor explained that inflammation is a natural response of the body’s immune system to injury, infection or disease. It is a complex process that involves the release of various chemicals and immune cells to the affected area. The signs of inflammation include redness, warmth, swelling and pain. “This response is a normal and necessary part of the healing process, but chronic or prolonged inflammation could be harmful and may contribute to the development of various diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer,” says Dr Canday.
The doctor further explains that during winter, cold weather can increase the risk of respiratory infections such as flu and common cold, which can be a cause of inflammation in the body. People tend to eat more processed, fried foods such as pakoras during this time, which can contribute to further inflammation. “Sedentary lifestyle is common during winter which can lead to weight gain and therefore an increase in inflammation,” says Dr Canday.
5 foods to be avoided in winter to prevent inflammation
Here are suggestions by Dr Canday:
1. Processed foods
Processed foods are basically any market-sold packaged products which have a lot of preservatives in it to increase its shelf life. For example chips, cookies, instant noodles, etc. These foods often contain added sugars, artificial colours and ingredients. These can make you gain weight which can lead to inflammation.
2. Fried foods
Fried foods like potato chips, bhajiyas, samosas, kachoris are high in trans-fats and calories and hence, also contribute to inflammation in the body. Fried foods are in any way not good for your cholesterol, heart health, weight, etc.
3. Dairy products
Lactose containing dairy products for those who are lactose intolerant can be a triggering factor and lead to inflammation in the body. Lactose intolerance is a common problem and is the inability to fully digest sugar (lactose) in dairy products. People who are lactose intolerant must avoid all dairy products at all costs.
4. Refined carbohydrates
Foods such as white bread, pasta, and pastries come under the category of refined carbohydrates and according to the expert are extremely harmful. They must be avoided to prevent inflammation and to promote a healthy lifestyle.
Excessive alcohol consumption increases inflammation in the body and can also weaken the immune system, making you more susceptible to illnesses during the winter months.
So, keep this list of food items in mind and stay far away from them to prevent inflammation.