Foods That Can Cause Inflammation – 13 to Avoid

The body’s ability to perform optimally is often determined by the fuel we feed it and even sometimes the foods we avoid can help us to feel better.  Certain foods that can cause inflammation may prevent our joints, muscles, organs, and bones to be at their healthiest and by not eating them in abundance we can lessen such inflammation.

In conjunction with reducing the inflammatory foods I will be discussing, you can also ingest certain spices that have anti-inflammatory properties. So, let’s take a look at the foods that can cause inflammation in our bodies.

#1. Refined Sugar

We are all aware of the fact that refined sugars found in things like cakes, candy, and carbonated drinks are generally not good for us.  It is found in foods that are damaging to our teeth but it also causes a large amount of inflammation in our bodies.  The thing with sugar is that it is extremely addictive – the more you have, the more you want.

Learning how to wean yourself off of it may not be easy but if you are looking to reduce inflammation, it may be well worth the challenge.

#2. Aspartame

Artificial sweeteners can cause a multitude of health issues alongside a great amount of inflammation in the body.  It has been shown that they may actually be worse than white sugar.

#3. Alcohol

If you are already suffering from arthritis, it may be best to stay away from alcohol in general.  Even that simple glass of wine or two can cause extra inflammation in your joints. But what about those people who do not currently experience arthritis?  Will alcohol cause inflammation in their bodies? The answer is yes. However, it may take more than just a drink or two to feel the inflammatory effects.

Excessive drinking can and will harm your liver

Excessive drinking can and will harm your liver’s ability to function properly.  Because the function of the liver is to remove toxins from the body, once it becomes damaged it can no longer do that. Thus the toxins remain in your system.

#4. Dairy Products

Eating things like ice cream, cheese, milk, and yogurt may cause inflammation in some people with sensitivities to dairy.  Some people who are lactose-intolerant are unable to digest lactose (the naturally occurring sugar found in dairy) and often experience cramping, bloating, and/or diarrhea.

Each person will feel the effects, if any, differently.  It can also depend on the dairy product that is consumed as the number of saturated fats varies.  My suggestion is to journal what is eaten in detail and journal how you are feeling. Perhaps high fat cheeses cause you issues whereas yogurt leaves you feeling well.

#5. Gluten

Individuals with celiac disease or even a gluten sensitivity should avoid foods containing rye, barley, and wheat.  When such foods like bread, pastries, and pasta are eaten, the immune system senses something is wrong and goes to work, causing excessive inflammation. You may not notice rashes or redness but instead joint pain may be a direct result and it can even affect your organs and soft tissue.

Read labels very carefully if you are especially gluten sensitive as many foods that you would never think of containing gluten.  For example, soy sauce, ice cream, some sausages, beer, flavored potato chips, and even some salad dressings may trigger a reaction.

#6. Vegetable Oil

Research has shown that consuming things high in omega 6 fats can cause increased inflammation in the body and thus vegetable oils are one of these foods that can cause inflammation.  Soybean, corn, canola, sunflower, peanut, and sesame oil are all high in omega 6 fats and should be avoided.  Consider using coconut or olive oil as a cooking alternative.

#7. Refined Carbohydrates

Low carb diets are very trendy these days for a number of reasons but refined carbohydrates like white rice, pasta, bread and even white potatoes can be especially harmful.  They are high on the glycemic index which can be detrimental to those who are trying to manage their diabetes naturally. Because the body treats carbohydrates like sugars, they can cause increased inflammation.

#8. Processed Meat

Processed meats such as deli meats, sausage, bacon, and ham are foods that can cause inflammation.  They are also high in sodium which can create high blood pressure, and the added nitrates can also be one of the triggers for migraines.

#9. Artificial Additives

Our bodies are meant to process that which is natural and unfortunately, many of the foods today contain artificial chemicals that interfere with our immune system.  Preservatives, additives, and food coloring are not recognized by our immune system as “real” foods and therefore, create additional inflammation.

#10. Trans Fats

Trans fats are found in many fast foods, especially those that are deep-fried – think of french fries, fried chicken, and doughnuts.  It is added to liquid vegetable oil to make it more solid and is known to increase the bad cholesterol in your body. In addition to increasing your chances of heart disease and impairing the function of your brain, it can create inflammation.

#11. MSG (Monosodium Glutamate)

MSG is a common food additive that is used to enhance the flavor of foods.  It is commonly known to appear in Asian foods but also in fast foods, and salty snacks.   As it leads to inflammation of the liver, it results in added inflammation throughout your system.

#12. High Fructose Corn Syrup

High fructose corn syrup is found in many foods we eat such as soda, sweetened yogurt, bread, canned fruit, and juices. Consuming large amounts can lead to a fatty liver which impedes its ability to function, as well as diabetes, and obesity.  Endothelial cells that line your blood vessels can also become inflamed which can result in heart disease.

#13. High Salt Intake

Salt is needed in our bodies if we are to function properly but too much of anything is obviously not a good thing.  Too much sodium causes your body to retain water excessively and this water retention puts undue pressure on our blood vessels, leading to high blood pressure and heart disease. Ridding your body of excess salt can be achieved through these methods. Instead of adding salt to your food, try using a squirt of lemon juice or fresh herbs to enhance the flavors.

Final Thoughts….

Foods that can cause inflammation are often those that can lead to other health issues and who wants that? Making wise choices when it comes to our eating habits can make us feel better, not only physically but mentally as well.

When we incorporate nutritionally dense foods like garbanzo beans, fresh fruits, and vegetables, our physical health improves and consequently, we are to cope with stress more effectively.

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