Fighting chronic inflammation? The best way to reduce inflammation is to change what you eat. Here are six of the inflammatory foods to avoid.
Chronic inflammation is a pain (literally). Inflammation is our body’s natural and healthy defense mechanism against injury, but chronic inflammation is not. Chronic inflammation leads to serious health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Crohn’s disease, IBS, Multiple Sclerosis, and asthma!
The good news is you can reduce inflammation with your food choices. Filling up on anti-inflammatory foods is great, but it's not enough. Cutting down on food that causes inflammation is just as important.
Ready to kick inflammation to the curb? Avoid these foods.
The average American eats 22 teaspoons of refined sugar daily! The problem? Refined sugar contributes to diseases like cancer, diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.
And it’s inflammatory as heck. Refined sugar spikes blood sugar and insulin levels quickly. Fast blood sugar produces inflammatory cytokines - a substance secreted by cells that causes inflammation.
*How to make date paste:
Cheese isn’t just addictive, it’s one of the top sources of saturated fat in the American Diet. Studies show that saturated causes inflammation in your body's fat tissues. The more saturated fat you eat, the bigger your fat cells will get and the more systemic inflammation you’ll experience.
Full-fat milk is also linked to inflammation as it messes with our gut microbiome and decreases the number of good bacteria that normally keeps our body’s inflammation in check.
Worried carbs will lead to weight gain and diabetes? Keep in mind that not all carbs are created equal.
Refined carbohydrates don't have their fiber and nutrients intact. Without fiber, they spike our blood sugar rapidly so that pesky pro-inflammatory cytokine production increases (just like with refined sugars).
And eating refined grains produces more PAI-1 in your blood, one of the key inflammatory markers.
The keto diet may be all the rage these days but studies show meat, especially red meat and processed meat, elevates the C-reactive proteins, which are biomarkers for inflammation.
Red and processed meat contain large amounts of Advanced Glycation End-Products or AGEs. When grilled the AGE levels skyrocket. AGEs are harmful and spark inflammation linked with heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, kidney disease, and certain types of cancer. Yikes.
Poultry (chicken, turkey, etc.)
Red meat (beef, lamb, venison, bison, etc.)
Pork (bacon, ham, etc.)
Seafood (fish, shellfish, etc.)
A totally fat-free diet is not only unhealthy, but it’s also dang hard. Nearly all natural food contains some fat and our bodies rely on fat to store and release energy, grow cells, maintain healthy skin and other tissues, regulate certain bodily processes, transport fat-soluble vitamins, and even promote proper brain and nerve functionality. What we’re trying to say is that not all fat is bad.
But some fats are better avoided, particularly trans fats and saturated fats because our bodies cannot break them down.
We react to trans fats like we would any foreign object in the body - with an inflammatory response. Saturated fats are also linked with inflammation in white adipose tissue (energy-storing fat tissue). They also short circuit your immune response which leads to more inflammation.
Americans typically eat way too much trans and saturated fat. Animal products contain cholesterol, which worsens the negative effects of saturated fats making the whole situation dire.
Eating a whole food plant-based diet helps because trans fats aren't in whole foods. Easy peasy!
Like meat, too much alcohol also raises C-reactive proteins. Excessive alcohol consumption can also change our intestinal lining so bacteria gets into the bloodstream and — you guessed it — causes inflammation.
Examples of alcoholic beverages:
By adopting an anti-inflammatory diet and focusing on foods that fight inflammation, you lower your risk of developing inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and many cancers (especially prostrate and bowel cancer).
Next time you’re meal planning skip over:
Some plant-based newbies find that their food waste increases as they ramp up the number of fruits and veggies they eat. Here are our tips for using your fruits and veggie from root to stem.