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inflammation foods to avoid - woman rejecting pizza, choosing to eat a healthy apple instead
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13 Inflammation-Causing Foods You Should Avoid


We all know that the food we eat has a major impact on our health and well-being. But what many don’t realize is that certain inflammation-causing foods can actually have a negative effect on our bodies, leading to chronic inflammation. To stay healthy and reduce inflammation, it’s important to be mindful of the foods we consume. This blog post will cover 13 inflammation foods to avoid in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle.


1) Sugar

Sugar is one of the most common inflammation foods to avoid, as it causes a rapid spike in blood sugar levels that leads to a host of inflammatory reactions. High fructose corn syrup (HFCS), a type of sugar found in many processed and prepared foods, is especially inflammatory.


In addition to the obvious sources like candy, soda, and sweets, hidden sugars are often found in:

  • Cereals
  • Frozen dinners


When possible, opt for unsweetened versions of these products or those sweetened with natural sweeteners like:

  • Honey 
  • Maple syrup

For added sweetness, use fresh or dried fruits instead. Fruits contain vitamins and antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation. Additionally, consider naturally sweetening beverages like tea and coffee with cinnamon or nutmeg.


2) Refined carbs

Refined carbohydrates is number two on our list of inflammation foods to avoid, and for good reason. Refined carbohydrates such as white bread and pasta, are some of the most common inflammation-causing foods.


Refined carbs are highly processed and stripped of their essential nutrients and fiber.

Eating these types of carbohydrates causes blood sugar spikes, leading to an increased risk of developing diabetes and other diseases related to inflammation. The refined carbs also lack essential vitamins and minerals, which can lead to deficiencies in the body.

To reduce inflammation, it is best to limit or avoid eating refined carbs. Instead, choose whole grains and oats, which are rich in fiber and can help lower inflammation levels.


Inflammation foods to avoid with refined carbs:

  • Packaged cereal
  • White bread
  • White rice
  • Pasta
  • Cakes
  • Biscuits
  • Sweets
  • Pastries
  • Pies
  • White flour
  • Beer
  • Sweet white wine
  • Sherry


3) Trans fats

Number three on our list of the thirteen inflammation foods to avoid is trans fats. Trans fats are a type of artificial fat created through a process called hydrogenation.


They are found in processed foods like:

  • Fried foods
  • Pastries
  • Margarine
  • Fast food


Trans fats are known to be harmful to health, as they can increase bad cholesterol levels in the blood and lead to inflammation.
Trans fats have no nutritional value and should be avoided at all costs.

While it can be difficult to avoid trans fats entirely due to their presence in so many processed foods, it is important to read labels carefully and make an effort to avoid foods that contain them.


It’s important to limit intake of fried foods and processed foods, as these are the most common sources of trans fats.

When choosing healthy fats, it is best to opt for natural options such as:

  • Olive oil 
  • Coconut oil


These healthy fats can help reduce inflammation, improve cholesterol levels, and may even help with weight loss.


4) Processed meats

Processed meats are some of the most dangerous and inflammatory foods you can consume. These types of meats are without a doubt one of the most inflammation foods to avoid.


Processed meats include any meat that has been cured, smoked, or treated in any way that alters the original composition of the meat.


This includes:

  • Lunch meats
  • Hot dogs
  • Bacon
  • Ham
  • Sausages
  • Deli meats

Processed meats contain a variety of artificial additives, preservatives, and flavorings

Processed meats can be damaging to our health. Nitrates and nitrites are common ingredients used to preserve processed meats, and when they break down in our body they can form cancer-causing compounds.

Eating processed meats on a regular basis has been linked to an increased risk of colorectal cancer, heart disease, and stroke.
It’s best to avoid processed meats altogether and opt for fresh, unprocessed cuts of meat instead.

Fresh meat is free of potentially harmful additives and contains more nutrients than processed meats. If you do choose to eat processed meats, try to limit your intake and be sure to read the label for any potential health risks.


5) Margarine

Margarine is a highly processed food made from vegetable oils, and it contains trans fats. These trans fats can contribute to inflammation in the body and makes our list of inflammation foods to avoid. Trans fats are formed during the hydrogenation process that turns liquid oils into solids like margarine, so check labels carefully to make sure they don’t contain any trans fat.


Margarine may also contain added artificial colorings and flavors, so it’s best to look for healthier alternatives like:

  • Olive oil 
  • Coconut oil


You can also make your own spreads by blending fruits, nuts, and seeds with spices like cinnamon or nutmeg.


6) Vegetable oils

Vegetable oils are a major source of inflammation-causing fatty acids. Most vegetable oils are high in omega-6 fatty acids, which can cause an imbalance in the body’s essential fatty acid ratio when consumed in excess.


Vegetable oils such as:

  • Corn oil
  • Safflower oil
  • Sunflower oil


Vegetable oils are highly consumed and are inflammation foods to avoid. Vegetable oils contain large amounts of linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid. Studies have shown that a diet high in linoleic acid can contribute to inflammation in the body.

Additionally, many vegetable oils are highly processed and treated with chemical solvents and high temperatures during their production, resulting in a loss of their antioxidant content and the formation of free radicals.

Free radicals are unstable molecules that produce cellular damage, which manifests in the form of inflammation.
It is important to limit or avoid the use of vegetable oils in your diet if you want to reduce inflammation.


Choose more natural oils such as

  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Avocado oil

Select these healthy alternatives when possible. Healthy fats contain antioxidants that can help to protect against inflammation and disease.


7) Gluten

In people who are sensitive to gluten, gluten exposure can result in inflammation. Your muscles and joints may experience extensive discomfort as a result of this inflammation. If you are sensitive to gluten, then it would make sense to add gluten to the list of inflammation foods to avoid. 


Gluten is a protein present in many grains like:

  • Wheat
  • Rye
  • Barley


It is found in many processed foods, including:

  • Breads
  • Pastas
  • Crackers
  • Baked goods


Eliminating gluten from your diet can help reduce inflammation and improve your overall health.

While some people may be able to consume small amounts of gluten without any health issues, others are highly sensitive to it. Those with Celiac Disease must avoid it entirely.

When consumed, gluten can cause inflammation in the body that can lead to a range of health problems, such as digestive issues, fatigue, joint pain, and skin rashes. It can also exacerbate existing autoimmune conditions, such as Crohn’s disease and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

It’s important to note that gluten is not only found in wheat and other grains but can also be hidden in many processed foods, such as sauces, dressings, and flavored chips. Even foods labeled “gluten-free” may contain traces of gluten. To be sure you are avoiding it entirely, check food labels carefully or opt for whole, unprocessed foods instead.

If you suspect you have an intolerance to gluten or another food sensitivity, it is best to consult a healthcare provider for testing and dietary advice.


8) Alcohol

Alcohol is a major contributor to inflammation. Consuming large amounts of alcohol can impair the liver and increase inflammation throughout the body. Not only that, but alcohol also interferes with the absorption of essential vitamins and minerals, leading to further deficiencies.

Additionally, alcohol can disrupt the balance of your gut microbiome, leading to an imbalance of bad bacteria which can cause inflammation.
In short, it is best to limit your alcohol intake in order to reduce inflammation and improve your overall health.

If you do choose to drink, stick to moderate amounts of red wine as it may have some anti-inflammatory properties.


9) Nightshade vegetables

While these vegetables are generally considered healthy, they may trigger inflammation in some people. Some research suggests that nightshade vegetables contain alkaloids, which may increase inflammation in susceptible individuals. If you want to control your inflammation nightshade vegetables would make sense to add to your list of inflammation foods to avoid.


Nightshade vegetables are a family of plant-based foods, including:

  • Tomatoes
  • Potatoes
  • Eggplants
  • Peppers


If you find yourself suffering from chronic inflammation, it may be worth avoiding or limiting your intake of nightshade vegetables. If you’re unsure if you’re sensitive to nightshade vegetables, you can try eliminating them from your diet for a few weeks and then reintroducing them to see if there is any change in your symptoms.

If you decide to limit or avoid nightshade vegetables, there are plenty of other delicious and healthy alternatives.


  • Leafy greens
  • Root vegetables (like carrots)
  • Squash
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Legumes (like beans and lentils)


All of the options listed above are great sources of nutrition that are unlikely to cause inflammation.

No matter what you choose to eat, make sure to maintain a balanced diet full of nutrient-dense foods. Avoiding inflammation-causing foods is important for overall health and wellbeing, but so is eating a variety of fruits and vegetables that provide essential vitamins and minerals.


10) MSG

Monosodium glutamate, MSG, is a flavor enhancer commonly found in processed and packaged foods. It is an excitotoxin, meaning it overstimulates the neurons in your brain to give you a temporary feeling of pleasure.

Unfortunately, this type of stimulation can cause inflammation and even damage to your neurons if consumed in high doses. Additionally, MSG can interfere with your body’s natural production of hormones, causing disruptions to your hormone balance.

Consuming too much MSG has been linked to numerous health problems such as headaches, nausea, mood disturbances, and asthma attacks. It is also believed to be a potential trigger for chronic illnesses such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.

It’s important to check labels when buying food products to make sure they do not contain MSG. Many packaged foods have hidden sources of MSG, so it’s important to be aware of what you’re eating.

Common sources of MSG are sauces, salad dressings, snacks, canned soups, seasonings, and fast food. To be sure that your food does not contain MSG, you can opt for fresh or frozen options instead of processed and packaged items.


11) Artificial sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners are widely used as a substitute for sugar, providing the same sweet taste without all the calories. However, they have been linked to inflammation and a range of other health issues, including headaches, digestive problems, and weight gain.

Most artificial sweeteners are made from chemicals that are not naturally found in nature, such as

  • aspartame
  • saccharin
  • sucralose


These chemicals can act like an allergen in the body, triggering an inflammatory response and leading to symptoms like bloating, gas, and abdominal pain.
In addition, research suggests that artificial sweeteners can interfere with the balance of bacteria in the gut, causing an imbalance that can lead to increased inflammation.

For this reason, it is best to limit or avoid artificial sweeteners whenever possible. If you are looking for a natural alternative to sugar, consider using natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup.


12) Food additives

Food additives are chemicals that are used to improve the flavor, texture, color and other qualities of food. These additives may include preservatives, emulsifiers, stabilizers, artificial colors, artificial sweeteners and artificial flavors.


Unfortunately, many food additives can be inflammatory and can have a negative impact on health.

  • For instance,
  • Emulsifiers (such as polysorbate-80)
  • Propylene glycol
  • Carrageenan

All of these food additives have been linked to inflammatory bowel disease. Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and saccharin have been associated with an increased risk of weight gain, diabetes and other metabolic diseases. Artificial colors, such as Yellow 5 and Red 40, have been linked to allergies and even cancer.  It’s best to avoid these types of food additives if you want to reduce inflammation in your body.


13) Pesticides

Pesticides are used in agricultural production to protect crops from insects, fungi, and other pests. While they may be effective in protecting crops, there is evidence that these chemicals can increase inflammation when consumed by humans.

These chemicals can be found in fruits and vegetables, as well as in animal products from animals that were raised on farms that use pesticides. Consuming these foods can increase inflammation levels in the body.

It is recommended that individuals limit their exposure to pesticide residues by choosing organic fruits and vegetables, as well as avoiding animal products from farms that use pesticides. Additionally, individuals should wash produce thoroughly before consuming to reduce their exposure to pesticide.


Our list of the 13 inflammation foods to avoid is now complete. If you have any questions about this list, please get in touch with us at We’re here to help. thank you for reading our article have a good day.

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