Just as there are foods that aid in relieving inflammation throughout the body, there are also foods and supplements that can exacerbate existing inflammation. Ingesting a diet that contains high levels of certain substances can also cause chronic inflammatory responses.

Inflammation is the body’s response to a wide variety of causes. It’s the body’s way of saying something is wrong and it’s trying to protect itself. Inflammation within the body causes pain, swelling, redness, a sense of heat at the affected area, and even loss of function. It’s a response mounted by the body’s immune system.

Chronic inflammation is associated with diseases such as depression, diabetes and dementia. The following foods are responsible for creating an inflammatory response in the body and should be limited or even eliminated from the diet.

Alcohol

Small amounts of alcohol can be part of an anti-inflammatory regime. However, many alcoholic beverages contain soda and syrups that contain sugar and produce an inflammatory response.

Artificial additives and preservatives

Off-the-shelf foods contain dyes and preservatives that are often at the heart of inflammatory responses.

Dairy

The protein casein is found in milk and is difficult for the body to digest. The inflammatory response typically manifests as gas and bloating.

Gluten

Those with celiac disease know the havoc that gluten can wreak on the body. Many of today’s modern grains have been genetically altered and engineered for higher yields and disease resistance, but they’re also harder to digest.

Processed meat

Even lean meat can result in inflammation due to the salt, additives and preservatives added.

Refined Carbohydrates

Commercially baked bread, sugary cereals and crackers are examples of refined carbohydrates that should be avoided.

Refined Sugar

This is most familiar as white sugar used for baking. It can also appear in a wide variety of breads, yogurts and salad dressings. It’s often listed as glucose or fructose in foods with added sugar.

Saturated Fats

These are the type of fats found in red meat. Grass-fed varieties of meat generate less of an inflammatory response and contain higher levels of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids than that those that are grain-fed.

Trans Fats

Fast foods are a major source of trans fats, can appear in many pre-packaged foods, and are known to create an inflammatory response.

Vegetable Oils

These are cooking oils derived from corn, soy and safflower, any one of which may be found in foods ranging from chips to mayonnaise. They contain high levels of omega-6 fatty acids, an excess of which causes inflammation. Use virgin or extra-virgin olive oil instead.

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