Written by: Melissa Mitri, MS, RDN
Inflammation is your body’s way of fighting against infection, illness, or injury. When something enters your body, such as a virus, your body releases chemicals to trigger an immune response. This is called acute inflammation, and is not necessarily a bad thing. But when your body is in a state of chronic inflammation, it can put you at risk for many health conditions.
Chronic inflammation, when left untreated, can damage your cells and put you at a higher risk for diseases such as arthritis, cancer, diabetes, and obesity. If you suffer from a chronic disease or are at risk, following an anti-inflammatory diet can help reduce your risk.
This article discusses the top foods that cause inflammation. Below each category, common examples are provided.
1. Refined Carbohydrates
Refined carbohydrates can contribute to inflammation and obesity by increasing inflammatory markers in the body. Refined carbs have a higher glycemic index (GI) which means they tend to raise your blood sugars more quickly. Chronically high blood sugar levels can contribute to inflammation. It is recommended to limit your refined carbohydrate intake as much as possible. At minimum, at least ½ of your grain intake should come from whole grains.2. Processed Meats
- Hot Dogs
Processed meat consumption is associated with an increased risk of inflammatory diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. This is partially because they contain more advanced glycation end products (AGE’s) than other meats, that are formed when cooking at high temperatures. AGE’s are chemicals that increase inflammation in the body. It is recommended to limit processed meat intake as much as possible, and instead choose more natural, lean meats such as chicken breast, pork tenderloin, or lean sirloin.3. Alcohol
Excess alcohol intake can increase CRP levels in the body, a marker of inflammation. People who drink more than recommended are also at risk for a condition called leaky gut, which causes bacteria to move into the body at a higher rate than normal. This can lead to inflammation and may increase the risk of chronic diseases. Alcohol intake should be limited to one drink per day for women and two for men. One standard drink is 5 oz of wine, 12 oz of beer, and 1.5 oz of liquor.4. Added Sugars
- Sweetened Cereals
- Soft Drinks and Juices
Excess sugar intake has been shown to increase the risk for insulin resistance and inflammation. Several studies have shown that a diet high in added sugar can lead to increased inflammation. To lower your risk, limit your total added sugar intake to 25 grams per day, or less than 10% of your total calories.5. Trans Fats
- Baked Goods
- Frozen Pizza
- Refrigerated Biscuits and Rolls
- Fried Foods
Trans fats are often added to processed foods to extend their shelf life. Since trans fats are not natural, they have been shown to increase inflammation and chronic disease risk. There is no safe amount of trans fat intake, so it’s best to avoid any product that has “partially hydrogenated oil” listed on the ingredient label.
Following an anti-inflammatory diet that limits these foods can improve your overall health. However, it is not enough to just simply reduce your intake of these foods. It is also equally as important to consume anti-inflammatory foods. One simple way to get your daily anti-inflammatory dose is from ZYN CURCUMIN (from Turmeric) Infused Drinks. ZYN provides refreshment packed with the health benefits of 10-to-15 Turmeric roots, fortified with vitamins C&D and 200mg of CURCUMIN. Due to the high level of CURCUMIN, the refreshing drinks may reduce your inflammation and boost your overall health.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
About Melissa Mitri, MS, RDN
Weight Loss Expert
Melissa Mitri is a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist and owner of Melissa Mitri Nutrition, LLC. In her private practice, Melissa specializes in helping women lose weight and keep it off through simple, sustainable habits. She is a freelance writer for both health professionals and companies alike and is the author of the Ebook “20-Minute Meals for Busy Women.”