We all could use a little guidance at times, and this Printable Inflammatory Foods Chart will help you narrow down the top ten foods you should avoid if you want to reduce inflammation.
I’ve had Crohn’s disease for 5 years and trust me when I tell you that reducing inflammation is critical to my overall health.
Inflammation is a natural immune response to injury or infection. However, chronic inflammation can lead to a number of health problems, including heart disease, stroke, cancer, and autoimmune diseases.
There are a number of factors that can contribute to chronic inflammation, including stress, poor diet, and lack of exercise. One of the most important things you can do to reduce inflammation is to eat an anti-inflammatory diet.
The Printable Inflammatory Foods Chart Will Help
An anti-inflammatory diet is one that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats. It is also low in processed foods, sugary drinks, and unhealthy fats. Here’s my printable inflammatory foods chart of the Top 10 Anti-Inflammatory Foods to Eat and Avoid.
What Are The 10 Most Inflammatory Foods?
It is important to understand that every person’s body is different. Foods that cause inflammation in some people may not cause it in others.
Having said that, there are some foods that have been shown to cause inflammation in nearly everyone. (get the free printable inflammatory foods chart here.)
- Sugar – Studies have confirmed that people who regularly consume refined sugar (like in sugary drinks and packaged desserts) have elevated inflammatory markers in their blood. It’s best to eliminate all sources of refined sugar.
- Processed Meats – Packaged meats such as lunchmeat, hot dogs, and bacon are high in saturated fat and chemicals that produce an inflammatory response in the body.
- Packaged Foods – Convenience or “packaged” foods are loaded with artificial ingredients to increase the food’s shelf-life. Unfortunately, those same ingredients have also been shown to alter the gut’s natural bacterial balance (not in a good way), which causes chronic inflammation.
- Gluten – This is a “maybe.” Gluten can cause severe inflammation in those who have a gluten allergy or intolerance. But there is a mounting body of evidence that it can also cause long-term inflammation even in those who don’t have an immediate reaction to gluten. It is best to reduce or limit gluten intake.
- Fried Foods – The high levels of Omega 6 trans fats are known to trigger an inflammatory response. Over time, regular consumption of fried foods will cause chronic inflammation.
- Refined Carbohydrates – White, starchy foods such as white bread and potatoes cause an immediate insulin spike when they hit your bloodstream. This spike in insulin elevates the blood sugar, which then creates an inflammation response.
Additional Foods on the Printable Inflammatory Foods Chart
- Refined Oils – Many popular cooking oils such as canola oil, vegetable oil, and sunflower oil contain trans fats. Like fried foods, these oils contain large amounts of Omega 6 trans fats and will trigger the body’s inflammatory response. The American diet is very high in these types of oils and is a major cause of many chronic health issues.
- Dairy – Most adults have lactose intolerance and should avoid dairy. But it’s not the lactose that causes inflammation for most. It’s another protein in dairy called casein. This protein has been well-studied and well-known to cause bodily inflammation. Dairy should be consumed in moderation, if at all.
- Alcohol – Avoiding alcohol can help reduce inflammation in some people. Although the alcohol itself doesn’t necessarily cause immediate inflammation, the sugar associated with almost all alcoholic drinks can cause an inflammatory response if excess amounts are consumed. It’s best to limit (or eliminate) alcohol consumption when trying to reduce inflammation.
- Red Meat – There’s some controversy about red meat and inflammation. Lots of studies have linked red meat to inflammation that leads to cancer and other diseases. However, it’s unclear whether it’s actually the meat, or the “junk” that most cattle are fed. Many argue that grass fed, grass finished beef will not cause inflammation. I avoid red meat, but limited amounts of grass fed, grass finished beef is probably fine.
Get your Free Printable Inflammatory Foods Chart Here
What Are The 3 Best Foods To Fight Inflammation?
Now that you know the inflammation “top 10 offenders,” My Printable Inflammatory Foods Chart also has suggestions for foods that fight inflammation. Here are a few to get you started.
- Cruciferous Vegetables – Broccoli, kale, cauliflower, and arugula are all cruciferous vegetables that have loads of phytonutrients called carotenoids. Carotenoids have very strong anti-inflammatory properties and can help with chronic inflammation.
- Anti-Inflammatory Spices – Turmeric is the big-boy of anti-inflammatory spices. It has been well-studied and used for thousands of years to fight inflammation. Ginger, pepper, and cinnamon are also good choices.
- Dark, Leafy Greens – Spinach, beet greens, and chard all contain high levels of antioxidants that curb inflammation and prevent diseases such as cancer and help with diabetes.
What Causes Inflammation?
There are a number of other factors that can contribute to chronic inflammation, as well. So keep these in mind as you change your lifestyle to reduce inflammation in your body.
- Poor diet
- Lack of exercise
- Certain medications
- Environmental toxins
How Can You Reduce Inflammation?
Eat a Healthy Diet and Avoid What’s on the Printable Inflammatory Foods Chart
One of the best ways to reduce inflammation is to eat a healthy diet. This means eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats. It also means limiting your intake of processed foods, sugary drinks, and unhealthy fats.
My Turmeric Ginger Shot and my Anti-Inflammatory Soup Recipe will get you started!
Exercise is another great way to reduce inflammation. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, which have anti-inflammatory properties. Exercise also helps to improve your mood, which can also help to reduce inflammation.
Stress can also contribute to inflammation. When you are stressed, your body releases hormones that can damage your cells and tissues. There are a number of things you can do to manage stress, such as exercise, yoga, meditation, and spending time in nature.
Getting Enough Sleep
Getting enough sleep is important for overall health, and it can also help to reduce inflammation. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body produces more of the stress hormone cortisol, which can damage your cells and tissues.
Smoking is a major risk factor for a number of chronic diseases, including heart disease, stroke, cancer, and arthritis. Smoking also damages your cells and tissues, which can contribute to inflammation.
If you are overweight or obese, you are at an increased risk for chronic diseases, including heart disease, stroke, cancer, and arthritis. Losing weight can help to reduce inflammation and improve your overall health.
There are a number of supplements that have been shown to reduce inflammation, including:
- Fish oil
- Green tea extract
Seeing a Doctor
If you are concerned about inflammation, it is important to see a doctor. They can help you to determine the cause of your inflammation and develop a treatment plan.
Adopting an anti-inflammatory way of life is a commitment. But it’s a commitment that will pay dividends in the long run. You’ll feel great, you’ll age better, and you likely will potentially reduce or eliminate chronic diseases.