Have you ever noticed a dramatic (and often UNCOMFORTABLE) shift in the way you look OR feel even though you know you’re doing so many things right? You might not realize it, but you could be suffering from a diet that causes inflammation.
For TWO YEARS, my stubborn weight gain and symptoms had me stumped.
- I gained 15 pounds over 6 months without any changes in my routine, diet, or exercise.
- I was tired all the time.
- I couldn’t get past the brain fog that kept rolling in.
- I had weird cravings for more than my usual favorites like avocado and spice.
- I was losing my eyebrows and hair.
- I thought I was doing everything right, but something was wrong. I needed to take a step back and dig down to the root.
What was behind it all?
I finally realized: My diet was causing inflammation.
This was the root of the evil lurking in my body.
But beyond my body, I began to realize how seriously inflammation affects the thousands of women I encounter as well. From autoimmunity to brain fog to gut disorders and hormone imbalances, excess inflammation in your body could be what is making you sick.
Inflammation in moderation is actually healthy for your body though.
It’s a marker of a healthy immune system that fights off invaders such as viruses, bacteria, mold, and parasites and brings necessary blood flow and nutrients to harmed areas when our body is fighting off those invaders (this is what our immune system was built for!).
However, when inflammation is constant and out of control, it can wreak havoc on your body’s homeostasis.
Chronic inflammation plays a role in a variety of chronic pain symptoms and health issues, including:
- Metabolic syndrome
- Insulin resistance
- Type 2 diabetes
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
- Autoimmune conditions
In this article, I’m going to share the top 10 most inflammatory foods for your body and why you need to start avoiding them.
The truth is… eating healthy is actually pretty simple!
Once you understand which foods may damage your health, you can really start the shift toward eating a nutrient-dense diet without worry, healing your body with every bite.
What does an inflammation-causing diet even look like?
It’s a diet that is LOW in whole food nutrients and one of the main causes of modern-day inflammation.
When you eat inflammatory foods, your body produces too many pro-inflammatory cytokines, which are proteins secreted by your immune system to regulate your immune response.
Certain foods can trigger your immune system and lead to the overproduction of these pro-inflammatory cytokines–which causes ALL KINDS of issues.
3 factors contribute to inflammation the most
Before we get into the main culprits, it’s super important to know about the 3 factors in food that contribute to inflammation the most:
#1: Blood sugar impact
This isn’t just how much sugar you’re eating, it’s how well you’re managing your blood sugar by combining foods, eating at certain times, improving your metabolic flexibility, intermittent fasting, and using proven herbs)
#2: Quality of fats
Not all fat is created equal!
Damaged fats like canola and vegetable oil oxidize and create inflammation in the body VERY quickly… Whereas good fats, like grass-fed butter, ghee, macadamia nuts, avocado oil, etc. are ESSENTIAL to good health and do not cause inflammation.
#3: Chemicals and toxins
These include pesticides (inorganic food), mold, and all those hard-to-pronounce ingredients on the backs of labels, such as additives, hormones, heavy metals, and natural flavors.
You want to minimize these in order to give your liver its best shot at absorbing nutrients properly and staying healthy.
Now that you know what to watch out for…
Here are the 10 worst foods that cause inflammation:
Hands down, sugar is one of the MOST inflammatory foods and too much of it can destroy your immune system, brain, and body. Not to mention, lead to insulin resistance, diabetes, or worse.
And I’m not just talking about refined sugar, but ALL forms of it that are added to everyday products in the form of cane sugar, fruit, honey, and even coconut sugar.
Almost always a DANGER food, gluten causes low-level chronic inflammation, a variety of digestive and cognitive symptoms, and a leaky gut. It’s also strangely addicting.
If you suspect a leaky gut, check out this article on how your gut inflammation could be the cause of your brain fog.
#3: Refined carbohydrates
Another blood sugar super-spiker, refined carbohydrates, and refined flour are found in most baked goods and other foods in your grocery stores. Plus, many of these contain gluten.
#4: Food additives and preservatives
If you carefully look at the ingredients of some processed foods at the grocery store or even in your own pantry, you will spot several food additives and preservatives.
These ingredients are used to enhance flavor, texture, or color, or to extend shelf life. They have no nutritional value and are often inflammatory and harmful to your health.
#5: Artificial sweeteners
Unlike sugar, these are not really food at all. They are chemicals!
Aspartame, acesulfame potassium, monosodium glutamate, sucralose, and other artificial sweeteners may add a sweet flavor to your food, but they are not healthy.
They are highly inflammatory and have a neurotoxic effect on your brain and may lead to mood disorders and brain-related cancer.
#6: Highly processed vegetable and seed oils
Vegetable oils, such as corn oil, canola oil, soybean oil, safflower oil, cottonseed oil, and peanut oil are high in omega-6 fatty acids (which in excess, cause inflammation).
They are also damaged during processing and are highly inflammatory.
#7: Trans fats (partially hydrogenated oils)
We all KNOW trans fats are bad.
Here’s why: They are often disguised in processed food and even the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t recognize them as safe.
They are highly inflammatory and may raise your risk of high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, and strokes.
#8: Processed meat
Processed meat, such as deli meat and cured meat are not organic, highly processed, and full of hormones, additives, and other unhealthy ingredients. These could trigger your immune system and create inflammation all over the body.
#9: Conventionally-raised meat + dairy
Any meat that is not organic and animals not being treated with the highest standards is full of hormones and not the best option.
Hormones, antibiotics, and GMOs coming from grain-fed animals are highly inflammatory.
#10: Farm-raised fish and seafood
Farm-raised fish and seafood generally have more inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids, higher chemical exposure, and less quality protein than wild-caught counterparts. Always choose WILD CAUGHT!
There’s GOOD NEWS though!
What you eat can also play a VITAL role in preventing and reducing inflammation.
While inflammatory foods, such as sugar, refined oils, and gluten may increase the risk of inflammation, eating an anti-inflammatory diet may help you to overcome chronic inflammation and improve your health dramatically.
Level up your diet by removing these 10 inflammation-causing foods and filling them with the good stuff as much as possible.
You will begin feeling better within days of eliminating these 10 foods!
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