Inflammation is a natural way our bodies respond to injury or infection. But if we make poor food choices over time, it can cause various health issues like obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, autoimmune disorders, and arthritis.
To stay healthy, it's crucial to be mindful of foods that can make inflammation worse.
Here are five foods to limit:
Sugar and Refined Carbohydrates
Eating too much sugar and refined carbs can cause blood sugar spikes, leading to inflammation. Foods like sugary snacks, sodas, and white bread can contribute to ongoing inflammation. Choosing whole grains, fruits, and vegetables for carbs can help keep your blood sugar steady and reduce inflammation.
Highly Processed Vegetable Oils
Some vegetable oils, like soybean, corn, and sunflower oil, have lots of omega-6 fatty acids. While these are necessary, having too much compared to omega-3 fatty acids (found in fatty fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts) can lead to inflammation. Check the ingredients list on your snacks to see how often they use soybean, corn, and sunflower oil. Can you swap for healthier snacks, like these?
Trans fats are in partially hydrogenated oils, margarine, and many baked goods, and they're linked to more inflammation and health problems. These fats not only cause inflammation but also harm your heart. Check food labels and go for healthier fats like olive oil, avocados, and nuts.
While lean meat is part of a healthy diet, too much red and processed meats can cause inflammation. Processed meats, like sausages and hot dogs, often have additives that add to inflammation. Consider including plant-based protein sources like beans, lentils, and tofu for a more varied protein intake.
Regular drinking can lead to inflammation in your liver and other organs. The byproducts of alcohol metabolism can trigger an immune response, causing inflammation. It's important to drink in moderation to prevent damage to various organs.
Moderation is defined as no more than one drink per day for women and no more than two drinks per day for men.
So it's no surprise that all of these foods are considered "treats" in the RENEW Program! We don't have to completely avoid these foods, but it is important to limit them.
It's also equally important to include a variety of healthy whole foods in your diet. Want to know what helps fight inflammation? Check out 5 Anti-Inflammatory Foods to Enjoy.
Cleveland Clinic. (n.d.). 5 foods that can cause inflammation. Cleveland Clinic Health Essentials. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/5-foods-that-can-cause-inflammation
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (2019). What is moderate drinking? According to the latest guidelines. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6761695/#:~:text=Moderation%20is%20defined%20as%20no,oz%2080%2Dproof%20distilled%20spirits.
The top foods that contribute to inflammation