4 Common Foods That Can Lead to Inflammation: What to Avoid

Inflammation is one of the body’s natural responses to injury or illness, but when inflammation becomes chronic (meaning you have it often), it can lead to problems with health.

Did you know that any illness that ends in the suffix “itis” is related to inflammation? This includes things like:

  • arthritis – inflammation in the joints
  • colitis/diverticulitis – swelling in the intestines/colon
  • bronchitis – swelling in the respiratory tract/bronchioles


There are other inflammatory conditions as well, including many autoimmune conditions. The positive side of this is there are things you can do to help the body with creating less inflammation, and dealing with it better. The focus of this post is all about the connection between inflammation and the foods you eat.

Did you know that there are some common foods that can actually trigger more inflammation in the body?

One of the main culprits of inflammation is sugar. Refined sugar is found in many processed foods, and its consumption has been linked to increased inflammation and a variety of health problems.

Another inflammatory food is gluten. This protein is found in many wheat-based products, and it can trigger inflammation in people with celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity. For some people it can be a huge benefit if gluten-containing grains are eliminated, in favor of gluten-free alternatives like quinoa and buckwheat.

Processed vegetable oils, such as canola and soybean oil, are also known to cause inflammation. These oils are heavily processed and contain inflammatory chemicals, and they are commonly used in processed foods. Wether inflammation is a problem for you or not, my recommendation is that these oils are replaced with healthier alternatives such as coconut oil and olive oil.

Finally, dairy is another common source of inflammation. Cow’s milk contains casein and whey, two proteins that are known to cause inflammation in some individuals. Conventionally raised dairy cows are also given antibiotics and synthetic hormones to help increase the amount of milk they produce. These antibiotics and hormones can then transfer to YOU through the milk, cheese or yogurt you consume!

In conclusion, making changes to your diet is an effective way to reduce inflammation by avoiding foods that are known to cause it. While trying to go “cold turkey” and cut out all of these foods at once can be an overwhelming thought, it’s NOT at all the methods I’m suggesting 😉 Often people who the cold turkey approach end up feeling horrible and slip back into eating the same way!

Taking small steps to start eliminating processed sugars, grains, vegetable oils, and dairy, is a much more sustainable (and less awful!) way to start. It is possible to help reduce chronic inflammation and improve overall health.

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