Skip to content
Can the ketogenic diet help reduce inflammation?
The process of inflammation in the body plays a very important part to protect and heal from damage and illness. But like with everything else too much of it will have serious consequences like chronic diseases which can become debilitating for many people.
One of the biggest benefits of the ketogenic diet is its anti-inflammatory aspects so many people are turning to keto diet as one way to help them manage and especially reduce their symptoms from inflammation. All this through the process called ketosis.
A keto diet can be really simple, but it helps to learn some basic skills.
These tips and guides will help you answer all the common keto questions.
Click here for An Easy Detailed Guide to Follow for Beginners to The Keto Diet.
How can ketosis reduce inflammation?
When you are in ketosis means that you are using fat instead of sugar (carbohydrates) for energy. You have probably heard about sugar is inflammatory. If you eat to much sugar this is what's going to happen to your body:
Trigger chronic disease
Produce large amounts of insulin
Raise your inflammatory markers
Produce a lot of free radicals which in turn cause inflamed blood vessel lining and stimulates the body’s immune response
Because the ketogenic diet is very low in sugar it will help your body protect itself against chronic inflammation.
To better illustrate this let us take a closer look at the relationship between disease, pain and inflammation that often go hand in hand with each other.
Chronic disease, pain and inflammation.
What's the common cause behind most chronic diseases like arthritis, nerve damage or diabetes is an increased level of inflammation often accompanied with a lot of pain.
There are many factors involved with chronic inflammation, including:
Toxins (tobacco smoke)
A family history of inflammation
To use opiate drugs to treat pain often come with potentially serious side effects
Not to mention the risk of addiction. So many people are turning to alternative treatment of their illness to reduce the side effects, including pain.
The keto diet can reduce the inflammation and will, therefore, ease the pain all this through the following :
Decreased activity of the nervous system (relieves pain perception)
Increase adenosine (natural fight inflammation and a pain reliever)
Decreased reactive oxygen species (known to contribute inflammation)
All of the above responses through the keto diet will help reduce inflammation and pain making it more manageable by increasing pain thresholds. The reduced inflammation itself can help reduce pain.
One research has shown that ketosis itself (ketones released during ketosis) has benefits for inflammation.
Inflammation and Beta-hydroxybutyrate
When you are in ketosis there are three different ketone bodies released. And the most important one is beta-hydroxybutyrate and that is the one ketone that we can help monitor ketosis levels.
Some new research has shown that this special ketone called beta-hydroxybutyrate can block an immune system receptor linked to inflammation, “NLRP3 inflammasome”.
It works like this:
The receptor NLRP3 inflammasome reacts to certain threats to the body like infections, toxins or too much glucose. This means that it can be overactivated if we are constantly
Exposed to inflammation like from eating too many inflammatory foods every day. (sugar).
This is one of the reasons why the ketogenic diet is so successful against inflammation and that's why many people experience anti-inflammatory effects following the ketogenic diet.
So by entering ketosis, we may be able to reduce how much the receptor NLRP3 fires in the body.
The connection between inflammation and carbohydrates
After an excess consumption of carbohydrates (which will be turned into sugars), the insulin levels will remain higher than usual. And with this continuous high-sugar foods intake glucose will increase in the blood, which will cause inflammation. And if the inflammation becomes chronic it can lead to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
Please remember that these excess sugars will get stored as fat in your body.
Reduced inflammation through eating.
It is important to know which foods are best for fighting or reducing inflammation and which to avoid. Though ketogenic diet in itself is anti-inflammatory. Below is a breakdown of
What to eat and what to avoid.
Healthy oils (olive oil, coconut oil, MCT oil or powder, avocado oil)
Seeds and nuts (macadamia and almond)
Fatty fish ( salmon, shellfish and sardines or an Omega-3 supplement if necessary)
Fat (grass-fed butter, avocado, cocoa butter and coconut butter)
Meat (eggs, beef, organ meats, lamb, bacon, bison: Healthy grass-fed meats)
Non-starchy vegetables (broccoli, kale, cauliflower, spinach, collards all dark leafy leaves)
Inflammatory Foods or what to avoid:
(All foods that are high in sugars or processed ingredients)
Packed and refined processed foods
High-glycemic foods (grains, refined sugars, fruits (yes even fruits), starchy vegetables)
Refined vegetable oils (high in omega-6 like corn, safflower and soybean oils)
The ketogenic diet and ketosis will act as a great natural food-based way to reduce the inflammation in your body and promote an anti-inflammatory state throughout your entire system.