Inflammation: The foods that wreak havoc and those that fight it

Having to deal with irritation and inflammation of our body due to a sensitivity to certain foods is a real hassle for everybody. What makes things worse is that these foods make us feel even worse down the road if we continue to take them.

For most of us, it’s a hard road to leave behind the foods that taste great in the beginning, but their side effects leave us feeling downright awful in some cases.

In any case, there is a light at the end of that tunnel. There are foods that we can eat that make us feel not only great, but they can battle against the irritation and inflammation raging through our bodies because of the other foods that aren’t so great for us. Within this article, we will focus on both sides of this spectrum by first looking at the foods we should avoid, and then the foods we should embrace in our daily diets.


Trans fats – These types of fats are typically found in some processed foods with hydrogenated oils and other sources. What makes this group so terrible for our systems is that it irritates and inflames the cells within our blood vessels. This can lead to multiple problems from high blood pressure to eventual heart disease if we don’t do everything we can to eliminate them from our diets. You’ll want to look on the labels for signs that there aren’t any trans fats within the food you’re buying as well as investigate the ingredient list for any signs of hydrogenated or even partially hydrogenated oils within the production of that food.

Sugars – These little inflamers can be found in almost anything we consume. From sports drinks to sodas to even fruit juices, sugars are hiding within them. While most of know sodas and sports drinks have high amounts of sugar, we’re often surprised by how much is actually in our fruit juices. Other areas where we have to watch our intake is foods blatantly trying to hide their sugar content under different names like corn syrup, sucrose, dextrose, and fructose. All of these just spell out sugar usage within a food item.

Refined foods – These types of foods are typically ones you’d find in your supermarket within white breads and pastas. What makes them so dangerous to our health as inflammatory foods is that their refinement has transformed them into simple sugars that give us a boost of energy and then bring us crashing down. The refining process these foods are put through makes them dangerous to us because it’s made these foods exactly what we don’t want in our systems since they go against anything we’d find in nature.

Saturated fats – While we want to have some saturated fats in our diet, the best rule of thumb for these fats is to keep their intake to moderate levels. These fats are typically found in foods made from animal products like meats, cheeses, and milk. The types we buy and the way we prepare them can make the amount of saturated fat we’re consuming either higher or lower. We want to get them on the lower end whenever possible to reduce the inflammation these foods can cause.

Alcohol – Alcohol is a natural inflamer of our bodies’ blood vessels, but its effects are usually temporary. Our livers are wonderful workers when it comes to breaking down alcohol into its different components. However, when we start drinking in excess on a regular basis, we’re starting a problem we may not have the chance to correct. The more alcohol we consume, the more we irritate our bodies’ blood vessels and overwork our livers. This can eventually lead to death within the liver and tumors throughout the body as the irritation and inflammation get steadily worse over time. Moderation with this category is key to keeping you healthy.

Omega-6 fatty acids – While fatty acids are typically great for us to consume, these omega-6 acids aren’t so much. They are highly inflammatory and work against the fatty acids that we really need to keep us healthy and happy. We can usually find these in certain cooking oils derived from vegetables and some seeds. While we can eat these in moderation, we’ll want to limit our intakes of these foods like sunflower seeds and oils, cottonseed oil, and other oils of this nature.

MSG – This is an additive that most restaurants have put into their foods as a flavoring and/or preservative. While we are still learning about MSG and its effects on our bodies, we do know that it’s overall not great for our health, including the inflammation that it causes. We are still unsure about why it causes the inflammation, but to be safe, it’s best to avoid whenever possible.

Gluten – This is something that many people are now experiencing some intolerance even if they don’t have celiac disease. While most grains can be found with gluten, many are starting avoid these foods altogether since gluten contains some fairly high levels of inflammation-inducing ingredients due in part to their production. Most producers of gluten grains have them genetically modified so they can withstand harsh seasons and insect infestations. We are still learning how this affects us overall with our consumption of genetically modified materials.

Inflammation Fighters

Omega-3 fatty acids – Omega-3 acids are some of the best fatty acids we can consume since they fight inflammation and work to keep our bodies normalized for daily living. These acids can typically be found in fatty fish like salmon and tuna and even some nuts along with other foods. Making these a regular part of your diet can help your body from irritating and inflaming sources as they work to counterbalance them.

Whole grains – The main ingredient within whole grains is the main ingredient you need in keeping your body strong and regular with its fight against inflammation. That ingredient is fiber. Fiber is an important aspect of our diet because it helps the good bacteria within our bodies by fortifying this bacteria and eliminating the irritants within our bodies simultaneously.

Soy – This product has been found to be most helpful in women as an anti-inflammatory since it contains isoflavones, which closely resembled estrogen and has helped in reducing inflammation. While this product can also be highly inflammatory, the right productions of soy can work well as anti-inflammatory, but it would be best to keep this source fairly low in your intake levels to prevent it from causing irritation and inflammation.

Nuts – Almonds and walnuts are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids or vitamin E as well as antioxidants that our bodies need to fight disease and keep us healthy. Most diets, especially the Mediterranean diet, have adopted greater consumption of this category since it does well with repairing our bodies and fighting against the effects of inflammation-inducers we can ingest.

Vegetables – There is hardly any foods from this category that you shouldn’t be consuming on a daily basis because of their benefits and nutrients for our bodies. From leafy greens like kale, spinach, and broccoli to beets, peppers, tomatoes, and carrots, you’ll find yourself with a bevy of nutrients that keep you fighting strong and reducing any inflammation your body may experience from other foods. Vitamins A, C, and E can be found throughout these foods along with other key nutrients that help fight inflammation and other problems that can occur within us.

Low-fat dairy – While whole milk and 2% milk can contain high levels of saturated fats, you can typically escaped those high levels with 1% or skim milks since their fat contents are the lowest. As mentioned earlier, higher levels of saturated fats can cause problems yet we need some saturated fats since they do serve their purpose within our bodies and our overall health. Focusing on low-fat dairy products from milk to cheese is the best way to ensure that you’re keeping your intake of saturated fats to the lowest possible while also getting the calcium we need for strong bones and teeth.

Bottle pouring virgin olive oil in a bowl close up

Olive Oil – This oil has been linked to longer lives by fortifying the heart with its healthy components compared to other oils. While many recipes call for the extra virgin derivative, this oil has been shown to carry many benefits in preventing inflammation or lessening the effects of inflammation. Many diets have also adopted this oil within their plans because of the healthy aspects within olive oil, particularly the Mediterranean diet that’s been popular of late.

Spices – Ginger, turmeric, garlic, and even curry can provide some of the best anti-inflammatory responses within our bodies as we consume them with our main dishes or in supplemental forms. They help give the body’s immune system a nice push towards reducing inflammation within the body and keeping the blood vessels and heart running strong.

Fruits – Berries, cherries, and oranges along with other fruits work together to provide some vital nutrients and antioxidants to our blood and immune systems to keep us strong. From the vitamins found within these fruits, we can fight against inflammation by soothing its irritating effects on the body and even prevent it in the future through a healthy consumption of these fruits. Blueberries and cranberries have been found to reduce inflammation in systems concerning the urinary tract and the digestive tract by promoting the healthy bacteria there.

Dry beans – Certain beans within this category, including pinto beans and black beans, have been found to provide several anti-inflammatory responses within the body based on their active nutrient compounds. Not only are they great for anti-inflammation, they have also been found to help with blood pressure and heart disease.


While these lists can be altered based on one person or another due to sensitivities to some foods like grains or nuts, most of us can enjoy the effects of eating foods that reduce inflammation since they’ll keep our bodies fighting strong, preventing further diseases and/or problems in the future. While we work on reducing and/or eliminating the foods from the top category since they are the biggest culprits for inducing inflammation within our bodies from our blood streams to our other organs, making our living highly uncomfortable. With our focus better suited towards the second group, we can find our bodies working stronger and fighting better than it would if we only ate from the first group. Inflammation is an uncomfortable condition for us in most cases since it can make our joints hurt, cause headaches, and produce other maladies that can lead to greater diseases and problems down the road. When we work on reducing the chances of inflammation, we are in essence saving ourselves from further heartaches and headaches later on in life.

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