Inflammatory Foods to Avoid for Better Health

Inflammation is the reaction to an injury or infection whereby a part of the body becomes swollen, hot, painful, red and often painful. There are certain foods that causes more harm than good, which can lead to inflammation.

Below is a list of inflammatory foods to avoid for good (gut) health in the long term. Some may not actually surprise you.


Not only does excessive sugar intake cause tooth decay and is linked to increased risks of obesity, but it also causes inflammation within our bodies. The Sugar Industry may convince you that sugar is natural as it comes from sugar canes, however due to its refining process, all the cells within the sugarcane have been eliminated, making it not as natural as we once thought.

Vegetable Oil

Vegetable oils contain extremely high omega-6 fatty acids and low amounts omega-3 acids, making it an unbalanced omega-6 to omega-3 ratio. A diet consisting of highly imbalanced omegas creates a perfect environment for inflammation, which in turn breeds inflammatory diseases like cancer and heart disease.

Try to avoid corn, soybean, safflower oils and products that contain them which are generally vegan ‘butter’ spreads and mayonnaise.

Deep Fried Foods

Foods cooked at extremely high temperatures incite the inflammatory response because they create advanced glycation end products (AGES), which the body treats as an invader. AGES are produced when a protein is bound to a glucose molecule, resulting in damaged, cross-linked proteins. Immune cells secrete large amounts of inflammatory cytokines as the body tries to break these AGES apart. Many of the diseases that we think of as part of aging are actually caused by this process. Depending on where the AGES occur, the result can be arthritis, heart disease, cataracts, memory loss, wrinkled skin or diabetes complications, to name a few.

Red & Processed Meat

High amounts of saturated fat are often found in many meat products, especially red meat. Epidemiological studies convey that diets rich in this type of fat tends to promote inflammation. Red meat contains arachidonic acid (AA), an omega-6 fatty acid that the body uses for producing hormones called eicosanoids. A paper published in October 2005 issue of the British Journal of Dermatology noted that eicosanoids formed from omega-6 fatty acids (particularly from arachidonic acid) are usually prone to inflammation in nature, whilst those stemming from omega-3 fatty acids tend to be anti-inflammatory.

The high amounts of heme iron found in red meat may also be problematic if the body’s binding capacity of iron is exceeded. This is due to the fact that as heme iron increases oxidative stress in the body, inflammation results.

Meat (and particularly cooked meat) contains advanced glycation end products (AGEs) which may have proinflammatory activity.

University of California San Diego School of Medicine researchers found that red meat contains a molecule that is not naturally produced in humans, called Neu5Gc. The body develops anti-Neu5Gc antibodies after consuming this compound, this is an immune response that may trigger chronic inflammatory response.

Synthetic Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and Splenda (sucralose) may cause Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Results from a 2008 study published in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health discovered that Spenda:

  • Increases the pH level in your intestines; and
  • Reduces the amount of good bacteria in your intestines by 50%!

The long-term damage of Splenda consumption is largely unknown. However it is probably a fair guess that long-term exposure is not going to be beneficial to your health—especially if you’re having symptoms of toxicity. It’s a sad reality that very few appropriate studies have been performed on Splenda. The vast majority of the studies that formed the basis for its approval in the US were done on animals, and they actually found plenty of problems even though they were ultimately dismissed, including:

  • Decreased red blood cell count and anemia
  • Brain lesions
  • Male infertility
  • Enlarged and calcified kidneys
  • Spontaneous abortions in rabbits
  • Increased mortality

Saturated Fats

There have been numerous studies that show the occurrence of adipose (fat tissue) inflammation from saturated fat. This is not only an indicator for heart disease but also worsens arthritis inflammation. Foods that contain the most amounts of saturated fats include red meat, pizza, dairy products, pasta dishes and grain-based desserts.

We hope the above list has shed some light into which inflammatory foods are best avoided. If you have any that you’d like to add to the list, please comment below and share it with others.


  • “6 Inflammation-Causing Foods No One Talks About”. Prevention. N.p., 2017. Web. 6 Apr. 2017.
  • “Top 10 Inflammatory Foods to Avoid Like the Plague”. The Conscious Life. N.p., 2017. Web. 6 Apr. 2017.
  • “Food Ingredients That Cause Inflammation | Slideshows”. N.p., 2017. Web. 6 Apr. 2017.
  • “6 Foods That Cause Inflammation”. Women’s Health. N.p., 2017. Web. 6 Apr. 2017.
  • “Causes Of Chronic Inflammation”. N.p., 2017. Web. 11 Apr. 2017.
  • “Artificial Sweeteners May Lead To Inflammatory Bowel Disease”. N.p., 2017. Web. 11 Apr. 2017.

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