Top 10 inflammatory foods to avoid

Chronic inflammation is the underlying cause or a risk factor for many serious conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease and cancer.

Dietary choices, however, can greatly decrease inflammation and make it less likely that you will developing these chronic issues. Below are the top ten inflammatory foods to avoid.


Sugars, found in products like sodas, fruit drinks and punches as well as commercial pastries and desserts, cause a high degree of inflammation. Healthier substitutes include stevia, honey, or blackstrap molasses.

Some Cooking Oils

Some cooking oils, such as safflower, peanut or corn oil, are high in Omega-6 fatty acids and can also cause inflammation. Better alternatives include healthy oils like olive oil or macadamia oil, which have a higher percentage of Omega-3 fatty acids instead.

Trans Fats

Trans fats, found in fried foods, fast foods and commercial baked goods, are inflammatory and also raise bad LDL cholesterol levels. Read labels carefully to avoid this fats, looking for ingredients like partially hydrogenated oils.

Dairy Products

Many people have an inflammatory response to dairy in general and to lactose in particular if they are lactose intolerant. Nondairy alternatives include almond, rice or hemp “milk” and products made from them.

Conventionally Raised Meat

Conventionally raised meats, fed on corn and soy, are highly inflammatory. It is healthier to eat grass-fed or pastured free-range organic meat or skip meat altogether and get your protein from plant-based sources like beans, nuts and seeds.

Processed Meat

Intestinal inflammation caused by processed meat consumption has been linked to colorectal cancer. Try to find minimally processed, grass-fed sausage or bacon which does not contain nitrates or nitrites; this is a much healthier choice.


Overconsumption of alcohol can cause inflammation in the throat, larynx and liver; instead of wine, beer, hard cider or liquor, opt for nonalcoholic healthy drinks like green tea or white tea or filtered water.

Refined Flours

Refined white flours, found in many processed foods like breads, pastries, pastas, etc., also increase inflammation. It is better to go for whole-grain foods like whole-grain breads, pastas, and tortillas that are less processed and have higher nutritional value.

Artificial Food Additives

Some artificial food additives like MSG or aspartame can also trigger an inflammatory response and are common in many processed foods. The best way to avoid them is to adopt a whole foods diet and prepare foods at home yourself.


In those who are intolerant or who have a diagnosis of celiac disease, gluten (found in wheat, barley and rye) can trigger inflammation of the small intestine. Opt for gluten free alternatives, like breads, pastas and baked goods made from rice or corn.

In short, inflammatory foods are everywhere. The best bet if you want to avoid them is to buy fresh produce, grains and fresh, grass-fed organic meat and dairy products and prepare food at home yourself. This is not only healthier, it is easier on the pocketbook as well!

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