10 Foods That Cause Inflammation

Processed Meat

AUTHOR: Amaka Chukwuma

Inflammation is no joke. It can lead to all sorts of health issues. But did you know that some foods could be fueling the fire? It's true, some things you eat might be making your inflammation worse. For instance, sugary snacks or processed meats may not be the best choices if you're trying to keep inflammation at bay. Here are 10 foods you might want to think twice about if you're dealing with inflammation.

1. Processed Meat

Processed Meat
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Saturated fats in processed meats can inflame fat tissue. A 2016 study found it may trigger inflammation and increase your chances of colon cancer. In addition, processed meats can contain nitrites and nitrates, which have been linked to inflammation and oxidative stress.

Instead of cubed deli meat, try adding grilled chicken, hard-boiled eggs, beans, tofu, or flaked tuna to your salad. Substitute grilled chicken or fish for a deli sandwich. Substitute chopped veggies for the meat in your omelet.

2. Sugar-Sweetened Beverages

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The liver responds to sugar by cranking out more free fatty acids. When metabolized in the body, these free fatty acids release chemicals that might set off inflammatory responses. Raised blood sugar levels and chronic inflammation are both effects of drinking sugary beverages such as soda, fruit juices, and sweetened teas.

These drinks often contain a lot of extra sweets, like high-fructose corn syrup. Consuming excessive amounts leads to rapid increases in blood sugar, causing the body to generate inflammatory chemicals.

3. Refined Grains

White bread sandwich
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The glycemic index and glycemic load of refined grains are higher than those of whole grains. White bread, white rice, and pasta, for example, have had most of their healthy components stripped away during processing, leaving only sugar and starch that can cause a rapid rise in blood sugar and inflammation.

In addition, when ingested in excess, processed grains contribute to inflammation because they lack fiber and other nutrients that help regulate blood sugar and have anti-inflammatory properties.

4. Red Meat

Sun-dried beef sliced and put on stainless tray then dried with the sunlight. Traditional Thai food preservation.
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Not only does red meat's saturated fat pose a threat, but there are other dangers to consider. Red meat contains heme iron, which is more easily absorbed by the body than non-heme iron in plant-based meals. While iron is essential for your body, consuming excessive amounts of red meat containing heme iron may result in heightened oxidative stress and inflammation.

5. Omega 6s

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Sources of omega-6s include foods made with corn, safflower, sunflower, soy, and vegetable oils. The average American diet has a lot of omega-6s, which can make the body produce inflammatory substances. It is possible to reduce the potential pro-inflammatory effects of some vegetable oils by using moderation and selecting oils with a healthy fatty acid profile.

6. Additives

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Some individuals may experience heightened inflammation due to consuming certain food additives, including artificial colorings, flavorings, and preservatives. Processed foods, such as snacks, baked goods, and beverages, often contain these additives.

Ditch the artificial additives and embrace the power of nature! Herbs, spices, and vinegar are fantastic alternatives that add flavor and offer a host of benefits without any inflammatory effects.

7. Gluten

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Gluten exposure may cause inflammation in those with gluten sensitivity. For those with gluten-related disorders, steering clear of gluten-containing grains is crucial. Seeking advice from healthcare professionals or registered dietitians can help ensure a well-rounded and nutrient-packed gluten-free diet.

8. Trans Fat

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Trans fats are unsaturated fats that go through hydrogenation, a process that turns liquid vegetable oils into solid fats. They have the ability to boost the production of pro-inflammatory. This chronic low-grade inflammation is thought to play a role in the onset of several chronic ailments, such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Trans fats lurk in margarine,  processed foods, baked foods, and fries.

9. Alcohol

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When we consume too much alcohol, our body's natural defense system against the invasion of gut microbiota and its products gets disrupted, leading to systemic inflammation.

It can cause the body to produce more cytokines, chemokines, and adhesion molecules, contributing to inflammation. Chronic alcohol intake can lead to extended activation of these pathways, contributing to persistent inflammation.

10. Dairy Products

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Lactose or casein-containing dairy products can cause inflammation. Casein, found in milk, can induce inflammation in persons who are sensitive or allergic to it. Lactase-deficient people have difficulty digesting lactose, a natural sugar found in milk and dairy products. Bloating, gas, and diarrhea are possible side effects. These symptoms might induce abdominal pain and inflammation.

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