Top 12 Foods that Cause Inflammation

Everyday foods like bacon, eggs, coffee and dairy products are linked to inflammation. That might not sound like a big deal but when you consider that most chronic conditions like cancer, arthritis, diabetes, and obesity have been linked to inflammation. Low grade inflammation is a factor in most health issues.  And if you suffer a pain disorder, you better believe that inflammatory foods will aggravate the condition.

Try reducing your consumption of these foods with the goal of eliminating them completely. The same holds true for alcohol and fried foods – both of these have been known to irritate and worsen arthritis

Many common foods in the Standard North American Diet can cause or exacerbate inflammation in the body.

Here are my picks for the top 12 inflammatory foods:

1.  What I call the “3 Ps”–Processed, packaged, or prepared foods. And, yes, fast food is atop the list of inflammatory foods thanks to the harmful oils, sugar and artificial sweeteners, food additives, and a whole host of nasty ingredients.

2.  Hydrogenated and trans fats found in margarine, shortening, lard or products made with them. That includes baked goods, cookies, pies, buns. Of course there are healthier alternatives to these baked goods but most grocery stores and bakeries are using these harmful ingredients.

3.  Meat (not wild-caught fish). I’m not suggesting that you have to go vegan or vegetarian here although a plant-based diet tends to be much lower in inflammatory substances but meat and poultry tend to cause inflammation so make them the background of your meals not the main dish.

Keep reading to discover more inflammatory foods…4.  Fried foods (French fries, onion rings, potato chips, nachos, hamburgers, etc.). I think these items speak for themselves.

5.  White sugar and sweets, including soft drinks and sweetened juices. Newer research is showing that sugar is one of the most addictive substances you can use. It’s also highly inflammatory. No, you don’t need to eliminate sugar and sweets altogether simply reduce your consumption and choose fruit as your “go to” food when you’re craving something sweet.

6.  Synthetic sweeteners (Nutrasweet, Splenda, saccharin, aspartame, AminoSweet, etc.)—research links these nasty substances to many serious health conditions. I avoid them like the plague.

7.  Iodized Salt (use Celtic sea salt instead). Not harmful on its own but sodium is naturally found alongside other valuable minerals like potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Choose unrefined salt which naturally contains many different minerals, not just sodium.

8.  Food additives: colors, flavor enhancers, stabilizers, preservatives, etc. Some of the main ones include sulfites, benzoates, and colors named FD&C #”X.” Unfortunately, many foods consumed by children are loaded with these harmful, toxic ingredients.

9.  Dairy products (yogurt, ice cream, cottage cheese, butter, cheese, etc.). The reasons dairy products are inflammatory are too lengthy to list here, but today’s dairy products are packed with hormones, antibiotics, and other harmful ingredients so avoid them as much as possible.

10.  Wheat products. Wheat is highly acid-forming and inflammatory in the body. Worse, most wheat available now is genetically-modified (GM). Many serious health conditions are starting to be linked to GM wheat consumption.

11.  Other gluten-containing grains. Gluten is found in most grains and is highly inflammatory. Choose grains or seeds like buckwheat, quinoa, or millet for your baking.

12.  Alcohol.  High in sugar and a burden to the liver, alcohol makes the top 12 inflammatory foods list. It is best eliminated or used in moderation.

Adapted from Arthritis-Proof: The Drug-Free Way to Beat Pain and Inflammation. Subscribe to my free e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow me on Twitter @mschoffrocook and Facebook.  Copyright Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD.

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Janet B.
Janet B.8 days ago


Albert R.
Albert R.10 days ago

Quickly this site will indisputably be famous among all blogging people, because of its fastidious articles or

Mary T.
Mary T.8 months ago

thanks for the information :)

Anna R.
Anna R.8 months ago

So glad that these are all foods I've now eliminated from my diet!

Dt Nc
Dt Nc9 months ago

Thanks for the list. Didn't know dairy and wheat were so inflammatory, need to adjust my diet.

Roberto Meritoni
Roberto Meritoni11 months ago


Roberto Meritoni
Roberto Meritoni11 months ago


Roberto Meritoni
Roberto Meritoni11 months ago


Rose Roma
Rose R.about a year ago

Avoid alcohol, carbonated beverages, fried anything, & start the day with living enzymes (fresh fruit & vegs) and whey protein powder in a blender. WHAT YOU EAT AT ONE MEAL DETERMINES YOUR CRAVING. Go to Over eaters Anonymous which is free and good 12 - step awareness spiritually anyway.

Dale O.
DaleLovesOttawa O.about a year ago

A well-balanced diet employing moderation is the way to go. One can eat many of these items if using moderation.

Interesting about wheat, certainly GMO is something to beware of and the more highly refined wheat is, such as white flour, the best it is to avoid and use alternatives. There is a lot of HFCS in many drinks such as pop/soda. I avoid anything that is factory farmed, when it comes to meat and dairy, but moderate amounts of many foods is a good idea.

Certainly, a lot of the highly processed foods available in a box, etc., are best avoided, especially those filled with numerous additives.