Occasional inflammation is normal. It’s part of your body’s natural response to an injury or certain immune system triggers. But for many Americans, inflammation is out of control. And if you’re dealing with chronic inflammation, and it can have a serious effect on your health.
Chronic inflammation is often related to the foods we eat. While changing your diet won’t be an instant cure for inflammation-related conditions like colitis, diverticulitis, fibromyalgia, and rheumatoid arthritis, it often helps. Eating an anti-inflammatory diet can reduce the number of flare-ups and lessen the pain you’re in.
These Foods Cause Flare-Ups. Avoid Them!
There are several staples of the standard American diet that cause inflammation. You might be able to get away with eating some of them in moderation if you’re eating lots of anti-inflammatory foods, but as a general rule it’s good to avoid them if you struggle with inflammation.
French fries, fried chicken, and pretty much all the other fried foods aren’t good if you struggle with chronic inflammation. The oils they’re fried in will give you way more omega-6 fatty acids than you need. And eating too many of these oils will trigger inflammation.
Processed meats contain loads of saturated fats, which are a big trigger for inflammation. Red meats of any kind can also be an issue for some people, though the less it’s processed the better it is for you. Grass-fed, organic meats are healthier for you and less likely to cause inflammation.
Margin, lard, shortening, and even things like coffee creamer contain trans fats. It’ll often show up on the label as “partially hydrogenated oil.” There’s no safe amount when trying to avoid inflammation triggers. Try low-fat dairy products instead, but if your inflammation doesn’t get better try cutting them out, too. Some people find that even low-fat dairy triggers inflammation.
Too much refined sugar isn’t good for anyone, but it’s going to be an even bigger problem if you’re struggling with inflammation. Soda and other sweet drinks are the first things you should cut out. There are hidden sugars in a lot of foods, though, so it’s a good idea to start reading labels and cutting out as much sugar as you can.
Whole grains are anti-inflammatory foods that you’ll want to eat when fighting inflammation. But highly processed flours and starches are going to have the opposite effect – they’ll trigger inflammation. That means you’re going to have to avoid things like breakfast cereals, crackers, pastas, pizza crusts, and breads that were made with white flour.
Clearing inflammation-triggers out of your diet is going to make a huge difference in your life. But that’s not where it stops. There are also foods that help combat inflammation so you’ll reap even more benefits from your diet. We’ll cover them in the next post!