Fruits that cause inflammation have long been a source of confusion for both nutritionists and the lay public. While conventional wisdom dictates that fresh produce, particularly fruits and vegetables, should make up the bulk of our daily caloric intake, few studies have attempted to clarify just how much fruit we can consume in a day before experiencing adverse health effects.
While this article won’t provide you with irrefutable evidence, it will discuss some important fruits that cause inflammation as well as list some natural alternatives you can turn to. Inflammation is the cause of most diseases. How do we avoid it? What fruits should we eat to stay healthy? There are many types of healthy fruits that can help prevent inflammation.
Foods that cause inflammation can make you feel old, sick and tired. The foods to avoid for inflammation say a lot about what’s going on in your body. Inflammation is a natural response to the presence of foreign substances in our tissue. Health benefits of fruits may vary from one fruit to another, but not in every case. Fruit benefits are not limited, but almost all fruits have great health value and we can say that most fruits are superfoods.
Fruits That Cause Inflammation
There are many fruits that cause inflammation in the body. Sugar level, with them, is not an issue because all of these fruits have low sugar levels. As one who desires such a healthful and wealthy life like you, I share with you the list of some of the fruits that you should avoid too much consumption of it. Inflammation occurs when too much of the bodys immune system response shows up at the wrong place. The wrong place could be any site within the body where there is an injury or damage that needs attention.
Inflammation can be good or bad depending on the situation.
On one hand, it’s your body’s natural way of protecting itself when you’re injured or sick.
It can help your body defend itself from illness and stimulate healing.
On the other hand, chronic, sustained inflammation is linked to an increased risk of diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity
Interestingly, the foods you eat can significantly affect inflammation in your body.
1. Sugar and high-fructose corn syrup
Table sugar (sucrose) and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) are the two main types of added sugar in the Western diet.
Sugar is 50% glucose and 50% fructose, while high fructose corn syrup is about 45% glucose and 55% fructose.
One of the reasons that added sugars are harmful is that they can increase inflammation, which can lead to disease
In one study, mice fed high sucrose diets developed breast cancer that spread to their lungs, partly due to the inflammatory response to sugar
In another study, the anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3 fatty acids were impaired in mice fed a high sugar diet
What’s more, in a randomized clinical trial in which people drank regular soda, diet soda, milk, or water, only those in the regular soda group had increased levels of uric acid, which drives inflammation and insulin resistance
Sugar can also be harmful because it supplies excess amounts of fructose.
While the small amounts of fructose in fruits and vegetables are fine, consuming large amounts from added sugars is a bad idea.
Eating a lot of fructose has been linked to obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes, fatty liver disease, cancer, and chronic kidney disease
Also, researchers have noted that fructose causes inflammation within the endothelial cells that line your blood vessels, which is a risk factor for heart disease
High fructose intake has likewise been shown to increase several inflammatory markers in mice and humans
Foods high in added sugar include candy, chocolate, soft drinks, cakes, cookies, doughnuts, sweet pastries, and certain cereals.
SUMMARYConsuming a diet high in sugar and high fructose corn syrup drives
inflammation that can lead to disease. It may also counteract the
anti-inflammatory effects of omega-3 fatty acids.
2. Artificial trans fats
Artificial trans fats are likely the unhealthiest fats you can eat.
They’re created by adding hydrogen to unsaturated fats, which are liquid, to give them the stability of a more solid fat.
On ingredient labels, trans fats are often listed as partially hydrogenated oils.
Most margarines contain trans fats, and they are often added to processed foods to extend shelf life.
Unlike the naturally occurring trans fats found in dairy and meat, artificial trans fats have been shown to cause inflammation and increase disease risk
In addition to lowering HDL (good) cholesterol, trans fats may impair the function of the endothelial cells lining your arteries, which is a risk factor for heart disease
Consuming artificial trans fats is linked to high levels of inflammatory markers, such as C-reactive protein (CRP).
In fact, in one study, CRP levels were 78% higher among women who reported the highest trans fat intake).
In a randomized controlled trial including older women with excess weight, hydrogenated soybean oil increased inflammation significantly more than palm and sunflower oils
Studies in healthy men and men with elevated cholesterol levels have revealed similar increases in inflammatory markers in response to trans fats
Foods high in trans fats include French fries and other fried fast food, some varieties of microwave popcorn, certain margarines and vegetable shortenings, packaged cakes and cookies, some pastries, and all processed foods that list partially hydrogenated vegetable oil on the label.
SUMMARYConsuming artificial trans fats may increase inflammation and your risk
of several diseases, including heart disease.
3. Vegetable and seed oils
During the 20th century, the consumption of vegetable oils increased by 130% in the United States.
Some scientists believe that certain vegetable oils, such as soybean oil, promote inflammation due to their very high omega-6 fatty acid content
Although some dietary omega-6 fats are necessary, the typical Western diet provides far more than people need.
In fact, health professionals recommend eating more omega-3-rich foods, such as fatty fish, to improve your omega-6 to omega-3 ratio and reap the anti-inflammatory benefits of omega-3s.
In one study, rats fed a diet with an omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of 20:1 had much higher levels of inflammatory markers than those fed diets with ratios of 1:1 or 5:1
However, evidence that a high intake of omega-6 fatty acids increases inflammation in humans is currently limited.
Controlled studies show that linoleic acid, the most common dietary omega-6 acid, does not affect inflammatory markers
More research is needed before any conclusions can be made.
Vegetable and seed oils are used as cooking oils and are a major ingredient in many processed foods.
SUMMARYSome studies suggest that vegetable oil’s high omega-6 fatty acid
content may promote inflammation when consumed in high amounts. However, the
evidence is inconsistent, and more research is needed.
4. Refined carbohydrates
Carbohydrates have gotten a bad rap.
However, the truth is that not all carbs are problematic.
Ancient humans consumed high fiber, unprocessed carbs for millennia in the form of grasses, roots, and fruits
However, eating refined carbs may drive inflammation
Refined carbs have had most of their fiber removed. Fiber promotes fullness, improves blood sugar control, and feeds the beneficial bacteria in your gut.
Researchers suggest that the refined carbs in the modern diet may encourage the growth of inflammatory gut bacteria that can increase your risk of obesity and inflammatory bowel disease
Refined carbs have a higher glycemic index (GI) than unprocessed ones. High GI foods raise blood sugar more rapidly than low GI foods.
In one study, older adults who reported the highest intake of high GI foods were 2.9 times more likely to die of an inflammatory disease like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
In a controlled study, young, healthy men who ate 50 grams of refined carbs in the form of white bread experienced higher blood sugar levels and increases in levels of a particular inflammatory marker
Refined carbohydrates are found in candy, bread, pasta, pastries, some cereals, cookies, cakes, sugary soft drinks, and all processed foods that contain added sugar or flour.
SUMMARYHigh fiber, unprocessed carbs are healthy, but refined carbs raise blood
sugar levels and promote inflammation that may lead to disease.
5. Excessive alcohol
Moderate alcohol consumption has been shown to provide some health benefits.
However, higher amounts can lead to severe problems.
In one study, levels of the inflammatory marker CRP increased in people who consumed alcohol. The more alcohol they consumed, the more their CRP levels increased
People who drink heavily may develop problems with bacterial toxins moving out of the colon and into the body. This condition — often called “leaky gut” — can drive widespread inflammation that leads to organ damage.
To avoid alcohol-related health problems, intake should be limited to two standard drinks per day for men and one for women.
SUMMARYHeavy alcohol consumption may increase inflammation and lead to a
“leaky gut” that drives inflammation throughout your body.
6. Processed meat
Consuming processed meat is associated with an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stomach and colon cancer
Common types of processed meat include sausage, bacon, ham, smoked meat, and beef jerky.
Processed meat contains more advanced glycation end products (AGEs) than most other meats.
AGEs are formed by cooking meats and some other foods at high temperatures. They are known to cause inflammation
Of all the diseases linked to processed meat consumption, its association with colon cancer is the strongest.
Although many factors contribute to colon cancer, one mechanism is believed to be colon cells’ inflammatory response to processed meat
SUMMARYProcessed meat is high in inflammatory compounds like AGEs, and its
strong association with colon cancer may partly be due to an inflammatory
Foods That Cause Inflammation
Foods that cause inflammation can make you feel old, sick and tired. The foods to avoid for inflammation say a lot about what’s going on in your body. Inflammation is a natural response your body has to fight off an attack of some sort. In the case of food it’s usually an infection or infectant like viruses or bacteria. Even if you’re a health nut and eat organic you can still get inflammation from the foods you eat.
Inflammation is part of your body’s natural defense against things that adversely affect health, like bacteria, viruses and toxins.
But your immune system is complicated, and its components are sometimes triggered by unexpected things — including certain foods.
“Our diets play an enormous role in what’s happening inside our bodies, much more than most people probably realize,” says Dr. Karla Saint Andre, an endocrinologist at Houston Methodist.
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We all know the obvious consequence of making consistently unhealthy food choices: weight gain. What you may not realize is that being overweight is linked to increased levels of inflammation in the body.
The story of how our eating habits can lead to inflammation doesn’t stop there.
“An unbalanced diet means eating a lot of processed foods, which contain ingredients that can activate inflammatory processes directly,” Dr. Saint Andre adds.
This is less noticeable than weight gain, of course, but Dr. Saint Andre emphasizes that it’s still harmful.
What foods cause inflammation?
There’s more bad news: The problem foods are ones that happen to be abundant throughout the typical American diet.
The five types of foods that cause inflammation include:
- Red meat and processed meats, including bacon, hot dogs, lunch meats and cured meats
- Refined grains, including white bread, white rice, pasta and breakfast cereals
- Snack foods, including chips, cookies, crackers and pastries
- Sodas and other sweetened drinks
- Fried foods
What these foods all have in common is that they contain added sugars, saturated fats and/or trans fats. With the exception of red meat, these are also all considered processed foods.
Alcohol can also cause inflammation.
What’s more, alcohol is often combined with the aforementioned inflammation-promoting foods. When combined with refined grains, added sugars or mixed with soda, alcoholic drinks become a double whammy.
Why do these foods cause inflammation?
“The cells in your body absorb and react to processed foods differently than they do to natural foods,” says Dr. Saint Andre.
Your body is programmed to metabolize and use the nutrients, vitamins and minerals that vegetables, fruits and whole grains provide. It requires these things, in fact, because they help coordinate essential functions necessary for existence.
The refined forms of sugars, fats and grains that are packed into processed foods are a different story. They’re not needed. Plus, your body doesn’t always know what to do with them — especially when they’re consumed in large amounts.
“Foods that have high levels of fat, sugar and other refined carbohydrates are essentially toxic to our bodies and trigger inflammatory pathways through a number of direct and indirect ways,” warns Dr. Saint Andre.
For instance, refined vegetables oils added to processed foods can throw your omega-6 to omega-3 fat ratio out of whack. Although not a source of refined fat, red meat can, too, since it contains high levels of omega 6 fats.
Omega-6 and omega-3 are essential fatty acids that the body cannot produce but are necessary to survive. Although foods with higher omega-6 fatty acid content are generally healthy, higher intake in proportion to omega-3 fatty acids leads to an overall increase of inflammatory diseases.
Experts consider the ideal omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratio to be around 2:1, helpful in the prevention of cardiovascular disease and cancer; a 5:1 ratio has shown benefit in preventing some diseases as well, compared to the 10:1 ratio seen in the typical American diet. Dr. Saint Andre recommends increasing your consumption of omega-3s and avoiding excess consumption of omega-6s.
“This omega-6/omega-3 imbalance activates proinflammatory substances called cytokines, which contribute to fatty buildup in the arteries that leads to a chronic inflammatory state (atherosclerosis) and what’s called oxidative stress,” explains Dr. Saint Andre.
(More on oxidative stress in just a bit.)
Then there’s how added sugar and refined grains — both plentiful in many processed foods — cause spikes in your blood sugar.
“Having elevated blood sugar levels activates proinflammatory pathways,” says Dr. Saint Andre. “Additionally, continued blood sugar spikes can eventually lead to insulin resistance and diabetes, which are also linked to inflammation.”
Lastly, a diet that prioritizes processed foods over natural ones is inherently unbalanced and hypercaloric, leading to weight gain.
“As our weight increases, the amount of fat cells also increases,” explains Dr. Saint Andre. “These cells secrete many hormones and substances, some of which put the body into an inflammatory state.”
The bottom line: These foods can directly activate pro-inflammatory substances and indirectly promote weight gain, all of which lead to inflammation in the body.
But … how bad is all of this, really?
Most people don’t notice the subtle signs of eating inflammation-promoting foods.
But this underlying, persistent inflammation eventually leads to symptoms ranging from annoying to somewhat debilitating, including:
- Chronic fatigue
- Frequent or recurrent infections
- Joint and muscle pain
- Gastrointestinal diseases, such as acid reflux, constipation and diarrhea
- Anxiety and depression
“The other issue with being in a pro-inflammatory state is that it leads to oxidative stress, when toxic waste products that are usually kept in check by our body are allowed to accumulate and cause harm,” explains Dr. Saint Andre.
And it’s a vicious cycle since this oxidative stress can cause more inflammation as well.
Left unchecked, the damage caused by inflammation and oxidative stress can lead to serious health conditions, including:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Liver disease
- Kidney disease
This explains why nutritionists and doctors encourage eating foods rich in antioxidants, which counter oxidative stress and constitute a cornerstone of an anti-inflammatory diet.
How to adjust your diet to reduce inflammation
“The most important thing is to limit inflammation-promoting foods — the sodas, refined carbohydrates, processed and packaged foods,” says Dr. Saint Andre.
Ideally, she adds that we should instead eat a diet mainly composed of healthier, natural sources of carbohydrates and fats that also contain the protein and fiber we need, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts, lots of fatty fish and olive oil.
“These are foods that lead to the stabilization of insulin and a well-balanced omega-3 to omega-6 fat ratio, reducing the risk of inflammation,” explains Dr. Saint Andre. “And, when consumed in proper portions, they’re also not likely to contribute to weight gain.”
5 Foods That Can Cause Inflammation
Inflammation is like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: It’s your body’s way of healing cell damage. But in overdrive, it becomes dangerous and can lead to conditions such as arthritis, heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
“What you eat can affect inflammation,” explains registered dietitian Erin Coates, RDN, LD. Coates says that inflammation is often triggered as a way to protect your health when the immune system notices anything foreign in the body. While intermittent inflammation can be protective, chronic inflammation has been linked to many serious illnesses.
“If you want to battle inflammation, start by taking a look in your kitchen. And when you make your grocery list, add less inflammatory foods and more anti-inflammatory foods like vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, seeds and fatty fish,” adds Coates.
To help navigate the grocery aisle, Coates shares five top inflammatory food offenders.
1. Added sugars
The average American consumes around 17 teaspoons of added sugar per day. We should be averaging around six teaspoons or less per day.
It has become increasingly difficult to avoid added sugars because food manufacturers add large doses to improve the flavor of many packaged foods. But research shows that consuming too much added sugar leads to chronic inflammation.
“It’s less about sugar being bad and more about how much of it we eat,” notes Coates.
Examples of added sugars
Coates lists the obvious — cookies, candies and some cereals. But she also says to watch for undercover culprits, including:
- Granola bars.
- Salad dressings.
Why added sugars cause inflammation
When you digest something, the sugar enters your blood. Insulin then puts the sugar into your cells to give them energy. But when there’s too much sugar at one time, insulin tries to store the excess in your fat cells, causing them to get larger. Over time, research shows this can lead to weight gain or insulin resistance, which is associated with other metabolic conditions.
“Our body is not designed to process excessive amounts of added sugar throughout the day, we must be more aware when choose products and read the label,” Coates explains.
How to cut down on added sugars
To lower your intake of added sugars, Coates recommends paying close attention to food labels:
- Ingredient list: If you see sugar or some form of syrup listed among the first three ingredients, that’s a telltale sign you’re headed for a sugar overload.
- Nutrition facts: Look for foods that have less than 4 grams of added sugars per serving. Most labels include a line for added sugars.
And remember, there is a difference between added sugars and natural sugars, says Coates.
“Natural sugars are already present in foods like fruit and plain dairy products, while added sugars are extra and enhance the flavor of food. Added sugars can cause those spikes in blood sugar. Natural sugars found in fruit and dairy do not typically spike your blood sugar as quickly because they also contain fiber and lean protein to help slow digestion. Great examples of packaged foods with natural sugars are plain yogurt and some fruit and nut bars, while added sugars can be found in flavored yogurts and cereal.”
2. Trans fats
Food manufacturers create trans fats through the process of hydrogenation. “Adding hydrogen to fat changes its texture, consistency and shelf life,” says Coates. But researchers have found that there’s no safe level of trans fats to consume. So it’s recommended to aim for less than one gram of trans fat each day.
Examples of trans fats
Shortening is a classic example of a trans fat. But Coates says you can find them in restaurant foods and baked goods such as cookies, pastries and crackers.
Why trans fats cause inflammation
“Trans fats raise your bad cholesterol (LDL) levels and lower good cholesterol (HDL) levels. Both actions can increase your risk for developing heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes,” explains Coates.
How to limit trans fats
Food manufacturers know that trans fats are the latest bad guys on the block, so they’ve gotten creative with labeling. While many food labels clearly state ‘no trans fat’ or ‘trans fat-free,’ a product is still allowed to hide a half gram or less per serving to their products. This is where it gets tricky because if you eat more than one serving, you have easily exceeded the one gram of trans fat or less per day limit.”
“One way to find out if an item is truly free of trans fat is to look at the ingredients. If you see hydrogenated oils or partially hydrogenated oils in the ingredient list, then the food contains trans fat.”
Coates also recommends trying to limit portions to the serving size written on the label. It will help you stay under the one gram limit.
3. Red and processed meats
Processed meats have been salted, cured, fermented or smoked for flavor or preservation purposes. Research shows both processed and red meats are high in saturated fat, which causes inflammation.
Examples of red and processed meats
Red meat is any meat that comes from cows, pigs, sheep and goats. Examples of processed meats include:
- Hot dogs.
- Meat jerkies.
- Some deli meats.
Why red and processed meats cause inflammation
Studies have shown that higher intakes of these meats lead to cancer, heart disease and stroke, all of which go hand-in-hand with inflammation.
How to cut down on red or processed meats
Coates offers these suggestions:
- Go meatless once or twice a week.
- Limit meals that feature meat to once per day.
- Treat meat like a side dish rather than the main course — instead, make vegetables, fruits and fiber-filled carbohydrates the main events.
- Choose meats that have less than four grams of saturated fat per serving. (Reality check: Most processed meats come in at five grams or more per serving.)
Omega-6 fatty acids are fats that your body uses for energy. Since your body can’t make them, you get them from the foods you eat.
Examples of omega-6s
Foods rich in omega-6s include:
- Canola oil.
- Corn oil.
- Safflower oil.
- Sunflower oil.
- Peanut oil.
Why omega-6s cause inflammation
“We need these fatty acids for normal growth and development. They also contribute to the good kind of inflammation in the body that helps heal you,” Coates says.
But research shows you need a healthy balance of omega-6s in your body. Consuming omega-3s (fats you get from foods such as salmon, walnuts and flaxseed) helps you achieve that balance. If you don’t have enough omega-3s and too many omega-6s, you create a pro-inflammatory response and consistent inflammation.
How to limit omega-6s
To restore your fatty-acid balance, Coates recommends:
- Eat more foods rich in omega-3s.
- Eat fewer foods rich in omega-6s.
- Use olive oil for lower-heat cooking (it is lower in Omega-6s)
- Use cooking spray to grease pans when cooking.
5. Refined carbs
Coates says refined carbohydrates are stripped of their nutrition and lack fiber. “These processed carbs are becoming a mainstay in a lot of people’s diets.”
Examples of refined carbs
Refined carbs are primarily white flour products including:
- Breads and rolls.
- French fries.
- Sugary cereals.
- White rice.
Health Benefits Of Fruits
The health benefits of fruits are amazing, only fruits can help in curing several diseases. Before knowing the health benefits of fruits lets us know what Fruit is A healthy and balanced diet is an absolute must these days. You will find that you feel stronger, healthier, and more able to face the challenges in your life with a better well-being if you are eating healthily. Fruits are very healthy, and also very delicious. Children love to eat fruits, so it is an important part of their diets. Let’s see the wonderful benefits of fruits.
1. Eating lots of fruit lowers the risk of developing disease
Eating fruit every day lowers the risk of so many diseases, it’s hard to list them all! For starters, a 2003 study found that eating fruit (and veggies) lowers your risk of developing heart disease. Since heart disease is the #1 killer in the US, that’s definitely a major benefit that helps us all.
In 2003, the Harvard School of Public Health also found that eating whole fruits may help lower the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. Fruit can also help control your blood pressure, reduce your risk of developing certain cancers, and so much more. Some smaller preliminary studies found that it may even help prevent certain eye diseases and stave off dementia.
The bottom line, eat more fruit and you just may live a longer and healthier life!
2. Snacking on fruit makes you strong
As part of an overall healthy diet, fruit can really help make your bones and muscles stronger. A 2011 Florida State University study found that eating dried plums, in particular, can help prevent osteoporosis. Other fruits for healthy bones include avocados, cranberries, and tomatoes.
You’ll also want to snack on fruits rich in magnesium, as the mineral helps your body absorb calcium. These include bananas, most berries (black, blue and strawberries), figs, grapefruit, and even watermelon.
As far as muscles go, a 2020 study done by the University of East Anglia found that vitamin C can help you retain muscle mass. I don’t think I have to remind you that fruits are just loaded with C!
3. Water content in fruit helps keep you hydrated
Certain fruits are super high in water content, which helps keep your whole body hydrated. While straight and plain water is always best, eating more fruit can help you reach your daily requirement, especially if you’re just not a fan of the plain stuff.
Watermelon is the obvious choice, as its name implies. Did you know that strawberries also have about 92% water content, though? Grapefruit and cantaloupe are also made up of about 90% water. Even apples are a good option, with about 86% water.
4. All fruit has antioxidants that combat free radicals
If you don’t know, free radicals are nasty little unstable atoms that make us age faster, damage our healthy cells, and even cause cancer. Antioxidants are substances that help fight them off. While all fruits have them to some degree, ripe fruits are especially loaded with antioxidants, according to this study.
5. Fruit is high in fiber, which helps keep you fit and healthy
One of the greatest benefits of fruit is all the healthy fiber in them. According to the USDA, it helps reduce blood cholesterol levels. That, in turn, goes back to the first point- it lowers your risk of heart disease. Fiber is also super important for healthy bowels. It helps keep you “regular,” which can prevent issues like constipation, hemorrhoids, and diverticulosis.
Foods high in fiber and low in calories can also help you lose weight (or keep it off) because they make you feel full longer. They also control your blood sugar, which again, helps you eat less junk throughout the day.
6. Fruit is nutrient-dense, and provide our bodies with vitamins and minerals
Our bodies need so many different vitamins and minerals to stay healthy and keep going. Some of those nutrients, like calcium and potassium, are absolutely vital to our survival. For example, our hearts need both sodium and potassium to keep pumping. Fruits like avocados, figs, peaches, and kiwi are loaded with potassium.
Pretty much the entire alphabet of vitamins can be found throughout various fruits. The same goes for minerals. That’s great news, considering people all over the US have at least one vitamin deficiency. According to the World Health Organization, iron is the number one mineral that we’re lacking. Citrus fruits are a great source of the mineral.
7. Fruit makes you glow!
Okay, so not in the “glow in the dark” sense. Boy, that would be freaky, wouldn’t it? By “glow,” I mean it helps make your skin look positively glorious. Remember those free radicals we just talked about a minute ago? Well, they play a major role in making us age less gracefully. The antioxidants in fruit help combat that, while the water content hydrates our skin from the inside out.
Beyond that, though, fruits with healthy fats, like avocados, can actually help prevent sun damage. Of course, you still need to wear sunscreen, but it’s always nice to have a little extra backup when it comes to fighting UV rays. Fruits rich in vitamin C are also great for your skin, as they help your body produce more collagen.
8. Fruit boosts brainpower
While all fruits are great brain boosters, a 2012 study found that berries are particularly beneficial. According to the researchers, “Strong scientific evidence exists that eating blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and other berry fruits has beneficial effects on the brain and may help prevent age-related memory loss and other changes, scientists report.” I don’t know about you, but I could use all the help I can get in the memory department!