Here on this blog, we take a look at many whole food ingredients that offer great benefits. For this one, it is time we talk about 20 foods to avoid that cause inflammation in the body. If you are looking to get on any sort of anti-inflammatory diet or are dealing with chronic inflammation, this list is a good start on what not to eat.
#1 Foods That You Are Allergic To
It is crucial that each person listens to their body, what your body may be able to handle, another person can’t… Not all health or medical advice will work the same for every single person. If there is one thing I wish that the health industry would do better at teaching it is this, LISTEN TO YOUR OWN body! Even the healthiest of advice may not work on every individual, if we can get to know our own bodies and how to respond to everything we consume, we could eliminate a lot.
#2 “Whole Wheat” or Rather Refined Grains From the Store
Even if it says that it is whole wheat, if it is store-bought it is still processed and terrible for the body. Not all “whole wheat” is the same. Freshly milled whole grains bring a whole new level of nutrition, that whole wheat that is processed from the store doesn’t even come close to. Whole wheat from the store has multiple preservatives and other artificial and “natural” additives added to it, which is NOT good, and is what causes many issues for people who can’t handle it.
So don’t be fooled by the “whole wheat” at the store. It too still has to go through a refining process that strips so many of its nutrients away. Read more here: 19 HEALTH BENEFITS OF SWITCHING TO WHOLE GRAINS
#3 White Bread
“Foods such as white bread, pasta, and pastries are made with refined flour, which has been stripped of its fiber and nutrients. Refined flour is metabolized much more quickly than unrefined carbohydrates, which can cause blood sugar spikes that lead to inflammation.” Read the full article here:Foods that cause inflammation: what you need to know
#4 Processed Dairy
“Dairy Sensitivities May Be Caused by Inflammation A more controversial area of debate is dairy sensitivity, largely because food sensitivity is difficult to identify accurately. Food sensitivities aren’t life-threatening and don’t trigger a direct immune response as an allergen does, but many functional medicine practitioners and dietitians think food sensitivities are worth paying attention to from an inflammatory standpoint.
The reason is that existing low-grade inflammation appears to make some individuals hypersensitive or more susceptible to irritation from foods that normally wouldn’t bother them. An elimination diet where dairy intake is temporarily eliminated for several weeks (along with several other foods) is considered the best way to diagnose a sensitivity. When you slowly add those foods back, you watch for signs of irritation or inflammation to see if the body appears sensitive to a particular food.
What does this mean? Inflammation may cause the body to be hypersensitive to foods such as dairy, so it can be beneficial to temporarily eliminate it, with help from a dietitian or physician. Once the body has calmed down, slowly add it back and watch for reactions. You may find you have a dairy sensitivity or that you can consume dairy just fine now that the body has calmed down and isn’t hypersensitive. Read the full article here: Does Dairy Cause Inflammation? Here’s What a Dietitian Says
#5 Artificial Food Dyes
Artificial food dyes are in a class of their own, many countries in Europe have banned the use of them because of how dangerous they are to our bodies. I highly recommend reading the full article I quoted here, as it is full of great information when it comes to artificial food dyes.
“Is Food Coloring Bad for You?
Over the past 100 years, food dyes have been riskier to our health than any other category of food additives. Despite being commonly used in processed foods, the majority of artificial food colorings have been found to raise significant health concerns:
- Increases inflammation and disrupts the functioning of the immune system.
- Consumption of foods containing artificial dyes can cause an inflammatory response in the body, which leads to the activation of the immune system (increases the number of white blood cells entering the bloodstream).
- Artificial dyes contain small molecules which can attach to proteins in our bodies. This can cause disruptions in the immune system since the immune system finds it difficult to defend the body against them.
- Contain cancer-causing, toxic contaminants.
- Some of the most commonly used food dyes (Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6) are contaminated with known carcinogens or cancer-causing substances, such as 4-aminobiphenyl, 4-aminoazobenzene, and benzidine. According to the FDA, these contaminants are present in food dyes at “safe” levels.
- Red 3 was found to be an animal carcinogen in 1990, but for some reason is still allowed in our food.
- May cause cancerous tumor development. Some of the most commonly used food dyes are linked to many different forms of cancer:
- Citrus Red 2 caused bladder and other tumors in mice and bladder tumors in rats.
- Red 3 caused thyroid tumors in rats.
- Blue 2 may cause brain and bladder tumors in rats.
- Red 40 may cause reticuloendothelial (immune system cells spread throughout the liver, spleen, and lymphatic system) tumors in mice.
- Yellow 6 may cause adrenal and testicular tumors in rats.
- Causes hypersensitivity, especially in children.
- Red 40 has been shown to trigger hypersensitivity in children.
- Yellow 5 has been linked to hyperactivity, hypersensitivity, and other unfavorable behavioral effects in children.
- Studies have shown that eliminating artificial food dyes from children’s diets may help reduce symptoms of attention-related disorders and other behavioral problems in children.”
Read the full article here: Four Incredibly Harmful Effects Artificial Dyes Have On Our Health
#6 Refined Sugar
“Table sugar (sucrose) and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) are the two main types of added sugar in the Western diet.
In one study, mice fed high sucrose diets developed breast cancer that spread to their lungs, partly due to the inflammatory response to sugar (5Trusted Source).
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 (6Trusted Source).
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 of added sugars can negatively affect health.
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 (11Trusted Source).
Foods high in added sugar include candy, chocolate, soft drinks, cakes, cookies, doughnuts, sweet pastries, and certain cereals.” Read the full article here: 5 Foods That Cause Inflammation
#7 Processed Meats
Hot dogs, lunch meats, really any meat that has to go through a process should have all the ingredients checked on it before consumption.
“These meats are also often high in saturated fat. A 2022 study published in the Journal of Nutrition has linked regular intake of processed meats to an increased risk of inflammation, which many speculate is an effect of both nitrates and saturated fats.” Read the full article here: The 8 Worst Foods to Eat for Inflammation
“The evidence suggests that eating too much added sugar and too many refined carbohydrates causes inflammation in your body. Over time, the inflammation caused by poor dietary habits may lead to several health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, liver disease and cancer.” Read the full article here: Does Sugar Cause Inflammation in the Body?
“Soda: they are concentrated in simple sugar and artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives. Diet soda may not contain sugar, but it is still loaded with other chemicals. It is better to drink water, tea, or sparkling water. If you need flavor, add lemon, peppermint leaves, cucumber slices, or crushed fruit. Read the ingredient list and the fewer ingredients in the drink, the better.” Read the full article here: Drinks That Increase Inflammation in the Body
#10 Non-organic potatoes
“Greater potato consumption is associated with a greater risk of coming down with type 2 diabetes, but of the hundred or so pounds of potatoes Americans eat every year, most are in the deep-fried form of French fries and potato chips. But even baked, boiled, or mashed potatoes seem to carry a small increased risk even after taking all the butter and sour cream into account.” Read the full article here: Read the full article here: Are white potatoes bad for you?
Taking all that information into account, organic white potatoes are definitely a better option. Organic white red potatoes seem to have been found with even more nutrients. And then sweet potatoes, add a whole other level of great nutrition!
#11 Processed Snacks
Think of the whole chips/snack aisle in the grocery store, most of those will be inflammatory. If you are dealing with inflammation a good rule of thumb is to shop the outside aisle of the grocery store and stay away from the middle aisles as much as you can.
Refined carbs like pasta, white bread, cookies and crackers are notorious as some of the top foods that cause inflammation of the joints. These foods undergo extensive processing, stripping them of beneficial nutrients, such as fiber.
Refined carbs also tend to have a higher glycemic index, which is used to measure how quickly foods increase blood sugar levels. Research shows that consuming foods with a high glycemic index may drive up inflammation, even in healthy adults.
Read the full article here: 7 Foods that Cause Inflammation to Avoid (Plus Healthy Swaps)
#12 Fried Foods
“Fried foods like doughnuts, mozzarella sticks and potato chips are high in trans fats, a type of unhealthy fatty acid that has been linked to a long list of side effects. In addition to cranking up cholesterol levels and increasing the risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, trans fats may also trigger inflammation.
According to one study in the Journal of Nutrition, increased consumption of trans fatty acids was associated with higher levels of markers of inflammation, including C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-6 (IL-6).” Read the full here: 7 Foods that Cause Inflammation to Avoid (Plus Healthy Swaps)
#13 GMO corn
“Effects were mostly concentrated in kidney and liver function, the two major diet detoxification organs, but in detail differed with each GM type. In addition, some effects on heart, adrenal, spleen and blood cells were also frequently noted. As there normally exists sex differences in liver and kidney metabolism, the highly statistically significant disturbances in the function of these organs, seen between male and female rats, cannot be dismissed as biologically insignificant as has been proposed by others. We therefore conclude that our data strongly suggests that these GM maize varieties induce a state of hepatorenal toxicity….These substances have never before been an integral part of the human or animal diet and therefore their health consequences for those who consume them, especially over long time periods are currently unknown.” Read the full article here: The Dangers Of Genetically Modified Corn
#14 Corn Syrup
“Added sugars in foods like packaged granola bars, cereal, and fancy coffee drinks can increase chronic inflammation through the release of cytokines, and can also raise blood pressure, says nutrition expert Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN, author of Eating in Color.23
Consuming excessive high fructose corn syrup and other forms of sugar can also increase your risk of type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, and even cancer, adds Andrew Abraham, MD, the founder and CEO of Orgain.
Don’t confuse these foods with those that contain naturally occurring sugar, like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and dairy. We’re talking about sugars that are added to foods and beverages to sweeten them (save for honey, which has been shown to reduce inflammation.)4
While it’s not realistic to cut out all added sugars in our diets, we can certainly stand to reduce our daily intake. “Start by using less sweetener in your morning coffee and gradually reduce it to zero,” Largeman-Roth advises. And be sure to read nutrition labels.” Read the full article here: Red Alert: These Are the 4 Worst Foods That Cause Inflammation
#15 Artificial Additives
“Food additives – food flavor enhancers, such as monosodium glutamate, trigger chronic inflammation and impair normal liver functioning. Artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, and artificial food colors are common mediators of inflammation as well.” Read the full article here: Foods That Drive Inflammation
#16 Artificial Preservatives
“Artificial preservatives used in many processed foods could increase the risk of inflammatory bowel diseases and metabolic disorders, according to research published on 25 February in Nature1. In a study done in mice, chemicals known as emulsifiers were found to alter the make-up of bacteria in the colon — the first time that these additives have been shown to affect health directly.
About 15 different emulsifiers are commonly used in processed Western foods for purposes such as smoothing the texture of ice cream and preventing mayonnaise from separating. Regulatory agencies such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rule that emulsifiers are “generally regarded as safe”, because there is no evidence that they increase the risk of cancer or have toxic effects in mammals.
But when immunologist Andrew Gewirtz at Georgia State University in Atlanta and his colleagues fed common emulsifiers carboxymethylcellulose and polysorbate-80 to mice, they found evidence that the chemicals affected the animals’ health. Although their diet was not otherwise changed, healthy mice whose water contained the chemicals became obese and developed metabolic problems such as glucose intolerance. In mice genetically engineered to be prone to inflammatory gut diseases, emulsifiers also seemed to increase the severity and frequency with which the animals developed inflammatory bowel disease.
The most severe health effects were seen in mice that consumed the chemicals at a level similar to a person whose diet consists of only ice cream, says Gewirtz. But the researchers saw effects even at one-tenth of the concentration of emulsifiers that the FDA allows in a food product.” Read the full article here: Food preservatives linked to obesity and gut disease
#17 Processed Oils
“If you’re like most people, you probably think of cooking oils as a healthy addition to your diet. But what you may not know is that some cooking oils can actually be harmful to your health. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some of the most toxic seed oils and why you should avoid them. We’ll also discuss some healthier alternatives that you can use instead. So read on to learn more!
What are toxic seed oils and why should you avoid them?
Many popular brands of vegetable oil and canola oil are loaded with unhealthy fats that can damage your health. Vegetable Oils are also highly inflammatory. Industrial seed oils are high in Omega-6 fatty acids which lead to inflammation and increased risk for chronic diseases like heart disease. They also have a tendency of rising oxidization, leading us to even more problems than before!
Seed oils are absolutely bad for you. Seed oils are proven to be some of the leading causes of heart disease, cancer, and other life-degrading conditions.
The health risks of consuming toxic seed oils
All seed oils are quite high in polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) that can cause inflammation and toxin accumulation in the body. On top of that, when exposed to high heat or reheated multiple times, these oils can turn toxic and cause greater harm to the human body.
How to spot a toxic seed oil product
Industrial seed oils are the highly processed oils extracted from soybeans, corn, rapeseed (canola), cottonseed, and sunflower and safflower seeds.
8 Harmful Seed Oils
- Canola oil
- Corn oil
- Cottonseed oil
- Grapeseed oil
- Rice bran oil
- Safflower oil
- Soy oil
- Sunflower oil” Read the full article here: 8 Toxic Seed Oils
#18 Commercial Baked Goods
“Foods such as white bread, pasta, and pastries are made with refined flour, which has been stripped of its fiber and nutrients. Refined flour is metabolized much more quickly than unrefined carbohydrates, which can cause blood sugar spikes that lead to inflammation .
Refined carbohydrates encompass familiar foods like:
- White flour
- White bread and dinner rolls
- White rice
- Many breakfast cereals (unless they’re whole grain)
- Cookies, cakes, and pastry” Read the full article here: 5 Foods That Cause Inflammation
Many “wheat” products from the store are also highly processed so don’t be fooled. It is best to stick with freshly milled whole grains for all baked goods if at all possible.
#19 Commercial Pastas
“Refined carbs like pasta, white bread, cookies and crackers are notorious as some of the top foods that cause inflammation of the joints. These foods undergo extensive processing, stripping them of beneficial nutrients, such as fiber. Refined carbs also tend to have a higher glycemic index, which is used to measure how quickly foods increase blood sugar levels. Research shows that consuming foods with a high glycemic index may drive up inflammation, even in healthy adults.
On the other hand, studies show that swapping out refined grains for whole grains instead can decrease inflammation and protect against chronic disease.” Read the full article here: 7 Foods that Cause Inflammation to Avoid (Plus Healthy Swaps)
#20 Foods that are highly processed
” Highly Processed Foods: Consumers want quick, convenient food options, and manufacturers have responded by offering more ready-to-eat meals and grab-and-go foods than ever. But this convenience comes at a price, since chemicals and compounds not naturally found in food like artificial colors, flavorings and preservatives are often added to make these products shelf-stable or to improve taste and appearance. Any of these can irritate the body, triggering inflammation. And if it already has some existing inflammation, the body may be hypersensitive to these foreign particles, which can increase inflammation and exacerbate issues.” Read the full article here: The 8 Worst Foods to Eat for Inflammation
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