Foods that Cause Inflammation

Foods that Cause Inflammation

They always say you are what you eat, and that’s never been more true than when talking about the foods that cause inflammation. Research shows that diet is known to be connected to chronic inflammation.  You can take control of how you eat and feel by eating less of the foods that cause inflammation.

What is inflammation?

Inflammation is your body’s natural response to infection or injury. Think of inflammation as an army of white blood cells that surrounds a hurt area to protect it.

Most of us are familiar with acute inflammation. It’s what helps your body heal if you get a cut or have a sore throat. According to Harvard Health, our army of white blood cells is what causes the redness, heat, and swelling around tissues and joints when you bang your knee or get a cut. The same process also protects you from viruses like the flu. It starts and then stops.

Chronic inflammation is more like a fire in your body that you cannot see or feel.  It’s when your immune system keeps calling the white blood cell army to start repairing, but the system never stops so your white blood cells attack nearby healthy tissues and organs.

Dr. Andrew Luster of the Center for Immunology and Inflammatory Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital warns that chronic inflammation is “a smoldering process that injures your tissues, joints, and blood vessels, and you often do not notice it until significant damage is done.” 1

According to Harvard Health, chronic low level inflammation is what can hurt your health the most, as it is linked to disease like arthritis, heart disease, and diabetes. 

Signs of inflammation

Anyone suffering from inflammation could benefit from an anti-inflammatory diet. The following diseases are connected to chronic inflammation:

  • Arthritis, joint pain, Fibromyalgia
  • Heart Disease and Strokes including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglycerides
  • Diabetes, metabolic syndrome, high blood sugar
  • Autoimmune conditions like Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, Chronic Fatigue, MS, Thyroid Eczema, Psoriasis, Asthma 
  • Digestive diseases like IBS, Crohn’s, Colitis, Diverticulitis and Diverticulosis
  • Cancer
  • Brain diseases like Alzheimer’s, dementia, depression, ADD, Parkinson’s disease, seizures

You don’t have to be diagnosed with a disease to be suffering from chronic inflammation. Other signs of chronic inflammation include:

  • Extra belly fat. They now believe that your belly circumference is a better indicator of your risk factor than your BMI. For men you want to be 40” or less and women 35” or less.
  • Food Sensitivities
  • Digestive issues including ulcers, gas, bloating, heartburn, constipation, diarrhea
  • Pain such as headaches or migraines

Foods that Cause Inflammation:

Refined Carbohydrates like white bread, white flour, pizza, white rice, soda, and pastries. Swap in healthy whole grains for refined carbs and people with signs of inflammation can get relief when they eat less grains and figure out the ones that may be causing their inflammation.

Sugars from soda or high fructose corn syrup are known to contribute to chronic inflammation. Most of us are consuming too much sugar. As a result of the extra sugar, our bodies are producing more insulin which creates inflammation. 2 Here’s a tip we share with our clients. There’s a limit to how much sugar you can consume in your packaged foods. Men can have up to 36 grams (in packaged foods), women can have 25 grams (in packaged foods) and kids can have 17. Read labels, pick versions that are lower in sugar, add up what you are taking in a day and make changes to stick to your limit. This is a flexible way to eat what you love, but also stay within the recommended amount. Check out this infographic with tips to reduce sugar in packaged foods.

Fried foods like potato chips, fried chicken and french fries cause inflammation. They can also be high in trans fat. Research has found that trans fat is connected to inflammation and also contributes to weight gain. Trans fat can also increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. 3

Red meat and processed meats like bacon, ham, sausage, smoked meat, and beef jerky are linked to inflammation and inflammatory diseases like cancer. They are high in a compound called AGEs, which in high quantities has been found to be linked to inflammation and increased risk of many diseases.4 When choosing an animal protein, go for fish, seafood, and leaner cuts of meat like white meat chicken or london broil instead.

Check out: Foods that Cause Inflammation Infographic and Coronavirus: Eat to reduce inflammation and boost immunity

Finding YOUR Hard to Digest Foods

While the benefits of an anti-inflammatory eating lifestyle are clear, how we each live it can be very different. In fact, one size does not fit all.  For example you can be eating a “healthy” food – but if you have trouble digesting it – your immune system can get activated and you will experience inflammation. 

We have found success in working with our clients to help them not only follow the guidelines recommended from the scientific and medical community but to apply them to their life, and identify the right mix of foods that work best for them.  

Seven foods that can be difficult to digest include: dairy, gluten, eggs, corn, soy, citrus, and pineapple. We work with our clients to systematically figure out if any of these foods are a problem and help them find substitutions.  

“What I didn’t know is the healthy foods I was eating were not healthy for me! Now I know what I can and cannot eat and this knowledge is power. For the first time in a LONG time I am in control of my health and my appearance. Best news of all – I am finally free of the nagging migraine headaches I have had for the past 37 years!” – Stefanie T.

What’s Next

More than just cutting out the foods that cause inflammation, it’s important to also crowd in foods that actively fight to reduce inflammation. Check out Easy Ways To Eat More Anti Inflammatory Foods.

Ready to take action and figure it out?

Experience the first session of the Savory Living Anti-Inflammatory Eating Program for FREE.  You’ll learn some easy ways to eat to reduce inflammation and start feeling great today. Learn more at


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