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 consider the fact 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.

Below are my picks for the top 12 inflammatory foods:Top 12 Foods that Cause Inflammation

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 need 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; make them the background of your meals not the main dish.

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.). 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 can be 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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Marianne R
Marianne R1 months ago

Good to know!

Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne R3 months ago

Thank you for sharing.

Brittany D.
Brittany D.3 months ago

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Wendi M.
Wendi M4 months ago


Jennifer F.
Jennifer F4 months ago

So in other words avoid junk food? Already do.

Judith Emerson
Judith Emerson5 months ago

Gracias again!!!!! :)

Joanne p.
Joanne p5 months ago


Paula R.
Paula R7 months ago

I just wanted to add a clarification. Although trans fats do occur in trace quantities in natural meats, they are not in any way as harmful as the artificially manufactured ones such as margarine and vegetable shortening that you mention. Lard however, is simply pig fat, and is only solid in room temperature because it's saturated, just like coconut oil, and not because it's trans. Besides, it contains heart-healthy monounsaturated fat similar to that in olive oil. Lard has been used long before industrial era by many cultures, and in its organic form, coming from healthy, properly fed pigs, is one of the best dietary fats.

Elena Poensgen
Elena Poensgen7 months ago

Thank you

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