Do your joints sometimes feel achy after you have just had a meal? Or perhaps when you wake in the morning, you are aching all over — your back, knees, shoulder, neck and joints hurt so bad — that you seem to have lost mobility and can’t get out of bed? Could all this pain even be remotely related to something you ate earlier?
Maybe you have heard about it: indeed it’s true that there are foods that cause inflammation. What may not be obvious is chronic inflammation in your body can lead to heart disease, diabetes, some cancers, Alzheimer’s disease and other health problems, as recent research revealed.
So, what foods cause inflammation? How can we avoid them? Are there safer alternatives? From the inflammatory foods list, let’s look at the top 5 foods that cause inflammation.
Studies have shown that the risk of heart disease and cancer are linked to lifestyle choices, including foods we eat. Our food choices affect the balance of pro and anti inflammatory compounds in the body — too much inflammatory foods tilts this balance the wrong way, increasing the probabilities of the onset of those diseases.
To shift the balance in our favor, it is thus important to minimize or even avoid certain foods that tend to promote inflammation.
Avoid These 5 Inflammatory Foods
There are different ways to classify foods. Our update here on what inflammatory foods to avoid is sorted based on food classes we easily identify with.
- Sugar-laden Products
Soda, chocolate, candy, dessert…the list goes on. You know what they are, and these foods can be hard to resist. Consider you are eating the equivalent of ten cubes of sugar when you drink a can of Coke, and you get the idea how bad you are treating your body. Plus sugars also cause tooth decay and are linked to obesity.
Be aware of fancy names for sugars printed on product labels, such as corn syrup, sucrose, fructose, dextrose, maltose and sorghum syrup. And don’t be fooled by artificial sweeteners — the ubiquitous aspartame is known to trigger inflammation in people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
- Dairy Products
Apart from usual suspects like milk, cheese, butter and ice cream, note that diary content can be hidden in cookie, bread, cake, boxed cereal, etc. And chocolate too — a double whammy given its high sugar content as well.
Unfortunately, milk is a common allergen that can trigger inflammatory responses. Susceptible people may experience stomach distress, constipation, hives, skin rashes and other problems; even breathing difficulties have been reported.
- Foods Rich in Trans Fats
This is likely to upset many people: say no to french fries and fast food in general. Food cooked in partially hydrogenated oil and vegetable shortening are out, as they are high in trans fatty acids known to cause inflammation and increase LDL cholesterol levels. Avoid deep fried foods and always check how baked goods are prepared. Check even that peanut butter!
Related to this topic, avoid polyunsaturated vegetable cooking oils made from corn, sunflower, cottonseed, grape seed and safflower. These have disproportionately low (good) omega-3 fats versus omega-6 fatty acids, which is a recipe for inflammatory diseases.
- Processed Foods
Ham, sausage, salami — yummy, but no can do. Processed foods such as these have been linked to colon and rectum cancers, possibly lung cancer too. Avoid meat that has been smoked, salted, cured or worse, chemically preserved.
Processed foods can also include refined grains and derived products, such as white rice, noodles, biscuits, white bread, etc. Devoid of fiber and vitamin B, consistent consumption of refined grains can hasten the onset of degenerative diseases. So, watch that box of cereals too, for extra sugar, salt, artificial flavors!
Takeaways are notorious for their use of polyunsaturated cooking oils and MSG; the latter is known to trigger inflammatory responses. In addition, avoid artificial food additives when cooking and opt for natural spices instead.
Cut down on beers, liquors and wines. High consumption of alcohol can cause irritation and inflammation of the liver and larynx; with repeated use, chronic inflammation sets in, which can promote tumor growth.
Instead, drink more water. And if the urge comes for an alcoholic drink, opt for fruit juices or even green tea. Again, no sodas, please.
These 5 inflammatory food types should start you thinking hard about your health, especially if you suffer from severe or chronic inflammation. Make conscious choices when it comes to food — start reducing your consumption of all those inflammatory foods. And consider natural anti inflammatories such as healthy foods and supplements to reverse the damage and begin the healing process.
Anti Inflammatory Supplements Can Help
When you have pain due to inflammation, the traditional medical path often leads you to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), steroids and even joint-replacement surgery, in extreme cases. But invariably, these choices often have undesirable side effects.
Fortunately, there are natural ways to fight inflammation and we should take advantage of these methods that spare us those nasty side effects. One safe alternative is the use of anti-inflammatory supplements such as Heal-n-Soothe, which contains a proprietary systemic enzyme formulation for fighting inflammation.
>> Click here to learn more about Heal-n-Soothe
What You Need to Know and Do About Inflammation
Inflammation in the body can be a natural and healthy response — read this article “Prostaglandins and Inflammation” to learn why. The amount of inflammation varies and depends on factors such as your activity level, how much sleep you get, the amount of stress in your life and yes, the foods you eat. Realize that when any of these factors get out of whack, you increase the risk of disease.
The level of inflammation in your body starts off low when you’re young — you might not even be aware of it because the body does a good job of keeping inflammation in check. But as you age, the effectiveness of this mechanism wears off, due to lower levels of proteolytic enzymes — good thing this can easily be restored with supplements. Don’t wait till chronic inflammation sets in and all sorts of alarm bells go off in your body…
When it comes to controlling inflammation, we now know that the food we eat is a critical piece of the whole puzzle. With the typical American diet containing too much fat, sugar and lots of processed foods, the likelihood of inflammation increases dramatically. Not forgetting that eating such an unhealthy diet leads to obesity, itself a known cause of inflammation.
So start now and avoid the top 5 foods that cause inflammation. Plan to switch to an anti-inflammatory diet comprising healthy whole foods, so that inflammation decreases and you can ease the pain and discomfort it has caused you. We will look into this topic of natural anti-inflammatory foods in another article.