Want To Fight Inflammation? Avoid These 5 Foods

From asthma to heart disease, inflammation fuels countless diseases. It also increases as we age, explaining why growing old brings on so many ailments. But this doesn’t mean inflammation cannot be prevented! By avoiding certain foods, you can control inflammation.

Sometimes, the benefits will crop up soon after eliminating pro-inflammatory foods. Some of the ailments that can be avoided in this way include inflammatory bowel disease and food sensitivities.1 2 In other cases, fighting inflammation helps you over time, as in the development of cancer.


So, do yourself a favor and ditch these pro-inflammatory foods before you even begin to get unwanted symptoms. You’ll be so glad you did.

1. Added Sugar

Added sugar leads to weight gain and inflammation


There are zero perks to added sugar. It leads to weight gain, tooth decay, and – you guessed it – inflammation. When you eat sugar, proteins called cytokines act up. Pro-inflammatory cytokines increase, while anti-inflammatory cytokines decrease. Consequently, inflammation thrives.3

The average American already eats 22 teaspoons of added sugar a day, which is 22 teaspoons too much! And most of this comes from sugar-sweetened drinks like soda and bottled juices. Processed snacks, pastries, and cereals are also high in added sugar.4


2. Artificial Sweeteners

Similar to sugar, artificial sweeteners cause inflammation and weight gain


OK, so you’ve cut out added sugars. Should artificial sweeteners take their place? According to a 2014 study in the journal Nature, they’re not any better.


Glucose intolerance can increase after just 1 week of eating artificial sweeteners. The gut responds by releasing chemicals that spark inflammation, just like it does after sugar overdose.5 Artificial sweeteners are also linked to weight gain, which puts your body in a constant state of inflammation.6

3. Refined Starches

Refined starches are removed of fiber and increase pro-inflammatory cytokines


When a starch is refined, all the “good stuff” is removed. Fiber, a nutrient that increases satiety and reduces cholesterol, is the first to go. What’s left is a food that encourages inflammation. These refined starches are, in fact, on the list of foods that increase pro-inflammatory cytokines.7 Examples include white bread, white pasta, white rice, and processed cereals.

4. Store-Bought Condiments

Store-bought condiments are full of artificial dyes, sodium, and preservatives


Most condiments have sugar and artificial sweeteners, making them two-time offenders. Often, they’re also packed with artificial dyes, sodium, and preservatives.8 And with this, inflammation will flourish.

Look for sauces and dressings with low sodium or no added salt and sugar. When possible, make your own. Also, don’t forget the power of spices and herbs.


5. Red Meat

Eating red meat is linked to inflammatory diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart disease

Red meat might be rich in protein, but its proinflammatory effect isn’t worth it. A high intake increases C-reactive protein, an inflammatory biomarker. Glucose metabolism also takes a hit.

No wonder red meat consumption is linked to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, three inflammatory diseases.9 10 It’s a solid reason to trade red meat for lean protein like skinless poultry, fish, or beans.

Foods That Prevent Inflammation

Foods like whole grains, fresh fruits, and omega-3 fats prevent inflammation

Now that you know what to avoid, reach for these anti-inflammatory foods. You’ll get protection from both inflammation and oxidative stress.

  1. Whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat bread, and wheat pasta
  2. Omega-3 fatty acids through fatty fish, avocado, and olive oil
  3. Fresh fruits and vegetables

According to the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, these foods “cool” inflammation. On the other hand, the typical Western diet of refined starches, sugar, and saturated fat make it worse.11 It really proves the power of food.