Top 9 Foods That Cause Inflammation

measuring scoops of gluten free flours (almond, coconut, teff, flaxseed meal, whole rice, brown rice, buckwheat) wit a text in letterpress wood type

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Although we don’t think of it in nice terms, inflammation is a completely natural way of answering infection or injury.  However, a chronic state of inflammation is a dangerous thing. Inflammation is an immune response and when it never shuts itself off; your immune system can cause permanent damage to your organs, not to mention lead to cancer and heart disease.

The good news is that foods we choose to eat can also play a part and by avoiding certain foods, we stop feeding the inflammation, so to speak. Here is a list of the top 9 foods you should avoid to keep inflammation out of your life as much as possible.

1. Gluten

Even without the diagnosis of gluten intolerance, many people simply feel better after removing gluten from their diets. In fact, as much as 30 per cent of Americans are now on gluten free diets. Many scientists believe that gluten intolerance is actually your body’s inflammatory response to gluten.

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2. Oil

You really need to read carefully here. Some fats/oils are necessary for your body’s health, you can’t live without it. However, some oils contain omega-6 fatty acids and that leads to inflammation in the lining of blood vessels. So look for those omega-3 oils, but limit the amount of even those to just a small amount in your diet. Read more why to choose krill oil as an omega-3 fats supplier.

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3. Sugar

Ok, so it’s already a no-brainer that sugar isn’t good for you. However, beside weight gain and all its ugly sisters such as diabetes, anxiety and migraines, did you know that did you know that diabetes occurs due to inflammation, which causes a resistance to insulin? Sugar tells the body to send out an extra immunity response team, called inflammation. Find out 27 foods that hide sugar.

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4. White Bread

Pastas and white bread break down very quickly in the body into sugar, which, if you just finished reading number 3, you already know is not good. White flour products turn on the inflammation in the blood.

alcohol drinks

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5. Alcohol

As you might imagine, alcohol is very irritating to our system, although it generally isn’t much of a problem in moderation. The problem occurs then you drink too much, as this allows bacteria to pass easily through the intestinal lining, which leads to inflammation. Although small amounts of alcohol have been linked to a lower risk of Alzheimer’s and heart disease, the problem is many people drink too much. One drink of less per day is the preferred limit. Read more how alcohol affects the body.

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6. Dairy

A moderate intake of low-fat dairy products can actually protect against inflammation, whole milk, or even 2 per cent milk, is still very high in saturated fats. Limit your dairy intake and always look for raw or organic milk and milk products.

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7. MSG

There has been animal research that links the flavor enhancer MSG (monosodium glutamate) to inflammation. There have been other studies that suggest there are multiple health risks to MSG. Your body doesn’t understand this chemical and doesn’t know how to process it. Let’s mark this down as one chemical you should just avoid. MSG is mostly found in prepared and packaged foods, sauces and seasonings, fast foods and chain restaurant foods, and snacks.

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8. Animal Fats

A number of studies have shown that animal fats have a direct link to inflammation. One study in particular tracked how our bodies’ beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract changed after eating saturated fats. As the balance shifted, it triggered an immune response which leads to inflammation and damage to the surrounding tissue.

processed meats

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9. Meat

Too much meat, including beef, chicken, and pork, can lead to inflammation.  In a 2006 study, women who ate 1.5 servings of beef per day were twice as likely to have hormone receptor positive breast cancer. Women who ate beef 3 times a week or less did not increase their risk. The risk of inflammation is even higher in cured meats due to the added nitrates and sodium.


  1. ap

    May 28, 2014 at 8:15 pm

    Jesus Christ, why not put “air” and “water” on the list. Either of those two things in excess will also cause inflammation and kill you.

    • Gabe

      Jun 16, 2014 at 3:10 pm

      ap, may I suggest holding your breath? : )

  2. hwjr57

    Aug 18, 2014 at 1:39 am

    I can’t believe you left off the other 8,247 foods that cause inflamation. What a bogus article.