5 Inflammatory Foods You Should Avoid to Improve Your Health

by Dr. Nick Zyrowski January 13, 2023

There are certain foods that cause lots of inflammatory responses in your body that can also lead to illness and disease. Many people ignore the foods we are going to discuss, and they eventually end up consuming a diet that is unhealthy and even dangerous. You don’t have to fall into this category, because we’ll show you the foods you should always avoid and tips to replace them with healthier items.

1. Seed oils

Seed oils were all the rage in years past. These include things like vegetable oil, soybean oil, canola oil, and margarine. In previous times, the American Heart Association even encouraged people to stop eating natural fats like butter and meat, and eat more seed oils. The organization considered these healthy substitutions to help people cut down on sodium and saturated fats. (1)

These are chemically altered fats. When you look at the labels, watch for mentions of hydrogenated oils. They are also in most packed foods. Hydrogenated oils are full of omega-6 acids, which cause an inflammatory reaction in your body.

If you’re looking for healthy oils, you want to use coconut oil, avocado oil, and olive oil. You can also use grass-fed butter. When you’re changing to healthier oils, you may want to include some omega-3 fatty acids to balance out the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 content. If you’ve eaten the Standard American Diet, getting in some omega-3 fatty acids will make you feel much better.

2. Grains

Your regular diet may include things like bread, pasta, and cereals. These are all grains that we don’t need to eat and can be extremely inflammatory. This is a difficult issue for many people to understand because most of us grew up eating these foods. The problem today is that we consume so much of them and they are loaded with chemicals that are toxic to our health. Most bread is bleached white flour and sprayed heavily with pesticides. (2) Many people would benefit from removing all grains, but if you still want to eat them occasionally, sprouted grains are a much better choice. That would include things like Ezekiel bread, which is found in most local grocery stores.

3. Sugar

The average American consumes anywhere from 150 to 170 pounds of sugar every year. (3) That may come as a shock to many people, but sugar is in foods that we don’t even think about. In one soda, there can be around 39 grams of sugar. That equates to about 8 teaspoons of sugar for every 12-ounce soft drink. Sugar is also hidden in foods like sauces, bread, peanut butter, and frozen dinners. Sugar is labeled under names like high fructose corn syrup. It can even be in soups and canned goods.

Too much sugar can lead to tons of health issues, like allergies, arthritis, and even cancers. It can also cause hormone disruption and organ malfunction. (4)

If you have a sweet tooth, think of opting for natural foods, like berries. They are loaded with healthy antioxidants. You can also enjoy the occasional sweet treat with healthy alternatives like stevia, allulose, xylitol, and erythritol. You may also crave sugar if you have certain nutrient deficiencies. It’s a good idea to take a quality multivitamin in addition to your healthy diet. That will help you fill in any nutritional gaps you may have.

4. Milk

Most people who drink dairy milk and have reactions, don’t realize what’s causing their issues. Dairy milk can cause things like:

  • Stiff joints
  • Fatigue
  • Swelling
  • Chronic pain
  • Weight gain
  • Skin issues, like rashes and acne

Many people are lactose intolerant and don’t realize that’s causing some of their problems. Lots of people who struggle with weight gain and drink dairy milk could benefit by decreasing or omitting their milk consumption. Some people can still consume cheese and other dairy products without problems. If you remove milk from your diet and still have any of the issues above, you may need to stop dairy completely for a while. For a healthy alternative, think about using almond milk. It’s much lower in calories and not inflammatory. If you don’t like the taste of almond milk, you can also try cashew milk and coconut milk. (5)

5. Processed and grain-fed meats

We know that many people are on a budget and getting grass-fed meat can be a little pricey. It’s important to buy the best that you can afford when you get meat because grain-fed meats have higher concentrations of those high omega-6 fatty acids. (6)

You also want to avoid processed meats, like salami and pepperoni. These can cause issues because they contain preservatives that increase the inflammatory process. Watch for signs of bloating and poor energy to help identify inflammation problems from processed meats.

Lowering inflammation

Some of the best things you can do to lower inflammation in your body are simple and cost nothing to implement today. These are some of the easiest ways to start feeling better and decrease inflammation.

Get regular exercise to reduce the inflammation in your body. Many people join a gym during the new year and rarely use the membership. Instead, why not get outside and take a thirty- minute brisk walk? You’ll get some vitamin d in most cases, and exercise acts as a natural anti-inflammatory. (7) It’s free and you won’t end up paying for something you don’t use.

Focus on better quality sleep. So many of us treat sleep like something we may work in when we aren’t too busy. Netflix can wait and so can your phone. Get in bed at the same time each night. Read a book to wind down or take a warm bath with some Epsom salts to help you relax.

Get rid of as much stress as possible. We know it’s part of a busy lifestyle, but some stress is avoidable. It’s also one of the things that cause inflammation in your body. Think about some of the things you can remove from your life that cause you undue stress. Also, start working on ways to manage your stress. That may be learning meditation or practicing something like yoga. Many phone apps are free and focus on relaxation techniques and stress reduction.

Take control of your health

Taking control of your health is possible and within your power. Some people feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, so they continue to make the wrong decisions that negatively impact their health. The good news is that you can turn things around.

Make this the year you focus on your wellness. You deserve nutritious food, proper rest, and a healthy lifestyle. It is completely attainable and doesn’t require tons of money to get started. With a little effort, you can feel better and start living your best life now. It’s our pleasure to help you on your health journey. Please check out our website for more articles and resources to help you kickstart the new year into health and wellness.

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Dr. Nick Zyrowski
Dr. Nick Zyrowski

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