Inflammation is one of the main causes behind most modern diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, arthritis, cardiovascular disease etc.
You hear daily about various anti-inflammatory and antioxidant foods and supplements recommended to take to reduce inflammation (blueberries, fish oil, etc.). These foods can be very effective but at the same time very expensive.
What’s even more important is to avoid food that causes inflammation. Choosing carefully what you put in your mouth may be enough to cure many diseases without spending a fortune on specific foods and supplements.
That’s why today, I’m going to present to you the top five inflammation-causing foods you should avoid as much as you can. I’ll also explain where this food is hidden and alternative sources.
I’ll definitely miss some important foods so make sure you revisit this article frequently and read the comment section from our readers. And, of course, make your comment as well.
Top five Foods To Avoid:
1) Refined Sugars and High Fructose Corn Syrup
When we consume sugars (in any form), our blood sugar level shoots up, our minerals get depleted (dealing with the sugars) and enzyme and hormone function changes. All these factors trigger inflammation.
High fructose corn syrup is even worse. Not just because of its chemical structure but also because it’s so cheap that it’s snuck into almost everything. If you look at a graph for increase in high fructose corn syrup consumption and new type 2 diabetes cases since 1980, you’ll see two almost parallel lines. However, just because HFCS is getting really bad press, don’t forget that sugar is sugar; and sugar is one of the main cause of inflammation no matter what form it’s in (white, brown, raw, organic, fruit sugars etc.).
If you want something sweet, go for whole fruits. Even dry fruits that are high in calories are much better for you because of the amount of fiber that slows down digestion. Organic honey in moderation is also very healthy.
2) Dairy Products
Contrary to what we’ve been told since toddlers, milk is NOT healthy for most people. Studies have shown that up to 60% of people cannot digest cow milk properly. A milk allergy is one of the most common but least recognized allergies. Eating food that you can’t digest triggers inflammation.
Many studies, including one from China by Dr. T. Colin Campbell, have revealed dairy as one of the biggest contributors to almost all modern health issues, including cancer. They’ve also shown there are no calcium benefits to drinking milk. To the contrary; milk can rob your bones of calcium. Many of these studies have, however, been buried over using billions of dollars of funds from the dairy industry.
Due to increased awareness of milk allergies and popularity of vegan diets, there are now several great alternatives to milk available in supermarkets. These include organic soy milk, almond milk, rice milk and more. Different people like different things, so try them all out and see what you like.
3) Common Cooking Oils
One of the biggest triggers of inflammation is imbalance between Omega 3 and Omega 6 fat in your diet. Consuming fish, flax seed and other oil high in Omega 3 is not only recommended because Omega 3 is more healthy than Omega 6; it’s more because Omega 6 is more available and we tend to consume more Omega 6.
So you can either eat a whole lot of Omega 3 fats or try to avoid some of the Omega 6. And one of the biggest sources of Omega 6 fats comes from common cooking oils such as grape seed, cottonseed, safflower, corn and sunflower oils. These oils are used in high doses in almost all take out and prepared foods. If it’s oily (and even if it’s not) assume it was cooked in oil that is high in Omega 6, low Omega 3 fatty acids.
To balance our Omega 6/Omega 3 consumption, we want to avoid most cheap vegetable oils mentioned before and use instead macadamia oil, extra virgin olive oil, or other oils with more favorable omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids ratio.
You should also be aware of both Saturated and Trans-fats in high doses. Here again, the name of the fat is not as important as where it comes from. Organic grass-fed beef can be high in both trans- and saturated fat. However, I’ve not seen a single study indicating that fat from this source is in any way bad for you. Consume, however, fats with the same name from fast food sources and processed, prepared food… and be ready to call the ambulance.
4) Refined Grains
Highly refined grains such as white flour and white rice are little better than refined sugars. They spike your blood sugar level and play with your hormones and enzymes. Because of how quickly these refined grains are processed into the body, they’re also a highway to obesity.
Your body transfers refined grains into blood sugar 15 times faster than whole grain. That means that a 300 calorie bowl of white pasta will be in your blood stream in 10 minutes spiking your blood sugar level, transferring into fat and causing inflammation all over the body. The same calorie bowl of whole grain pasta takes more than two hours to settle into our blood stream, gently energizing every cell in your body.
So instead of white flower and rice I suggest you try various, delicious types of whole grains and whole rice. Not only are they healthier, they also taste much better. Be wary when you buy bread, cereal and other premade food. The package and ads may say “whole grain bread” or “made with whole grain,” but when you read the label, often the first ingredient is white flower or sugar.
5) Flavorings and Other Chemicals
I hesitated on whether or not I should actually include this last section. After all, we’re not really talking about foods. However, all kinds of chemicals are so widely used as ingredients and food processing that I couldn’t leave it out.
Your immune system is skeptical of anything it doesn’t recognize or can’t digest. Most flavorings, preservatives and other chemicals used in food can’t be digested. Therefore, when those chemicals reach the bloodstream, they trigger inflammation responses in the immune system. This inflammation response transfers all over the body, causing chronic inflammation.
The best line of defense is to avoid processed foods as much as you can. Almost any type of food that has five or more ingredients includes some kind of chemicals. Don’t be fooled by products including “natural flavorings;” these can be just as bad as artificial flavors.
Unfortunately, lots of whole foods today are treated in one way or another with chemicals. Almost all apples and many other fruits sold in supermarkets are, for example, treated with chemicals that inhibit the natural hormone that ripens the fruits. Animals are loaded with drugs and chemicals before slaughtering.
The only way you can (almost) know for sure you’re getting a chemical-free product is if it’s 100% Organic.
Since the five types of food I discussed in this article are so common, it’s almost impossible to avoid them all completely. Being aware and doing your best to reduce the use of those inflammation-triggering foods will go a long way in healing diseases like arthritis and type 2 diabetes.
If you want to take it a step further, you may want to check out simple steps that reverse the inflammatory response and completely heal you. Many of the health guides on the right hand side of this page take on inflammation head-on. The two that are most focused on this issue are:
Three-step approach to completely reverse type 2 diabetes…
The 21-day plan to cure even the worst cases of arthritis…
But before doing anything else, please let us know what you think in the comment section below.