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6 Foods to Avoid if You Want to Lower Inflammation

When our bodies recognize a foreign invader—such as a microbe, plant pollen, or chemical—our immune system lights up. This process is called inflammation. Like iron, we need some inflammation in order to be well. Inflammation is a vital part of our immune system. It signals the body to heal and repair. It’s a defender against foreign invaders, like viruses and bacteria. However, too much inflammation isn’t helpful. One of the best ways to minimize inflammation in the body? Eat anti-inflammatory foods. These foods nourish the body on a cellular level and they help avoid unwanted inflammation. From seasonal produce to omega-3 rich fish, there are a variety of ingredients that ward off inflammation.

When it comes to foods to avoid for inflammation, they’re the contrary of leafy greens, bright berries, and colorful spices. Avoid these 12 foods to potentially decrease inflammation in your body.


Not all desserts are inflammatory. You can have your cake (or pie) and consume it too. However, most doughnuts—especially these—are loaded with pro-inflammatory ingredients, artificial flavors, refined sugar, etc. Not to mention, they spike blood sugar.

Sugary Cereals

One of the reasons why added sugars are harmful is that they can increase inflammation. Furthermore, too much sugar puts you at higher risk of diabetes. Sugary cereals are additionally ultra-processed, lacking fiber, protein, and healthy fats to aid in satiation.

White Bread

Unlike their 100% whole grain counterparts, white bread is stripped of fiber and different nutrients. Fiber is key for regulating blood sugar. Unfortunately, white bread is a processed carb that promotes inflammation. However, sourdough is a great choice!


Margarine is often very high in polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acids. Some scientists believe excessive omega-6 intake may additionally promote inflammation. Furthermore, most margarines contain trans fats, and they are often added to processed foods to extend shelf life.

Hot Dogs

As with other low-quality processed meats and red meat, hot dogs are pro-inflammatory. They are high in saturated fat, table salt, and may contribute to colorectal cancer. Keep in mind that when it comes to hot dogs, there’s a sliding scale. When possible, aim for hot dogs that are uncured and made from grass-fed beef. These, for example, get my stamp of approval.

Canola Oil

Canola oil is one of the most inflammatory foods. It’s refined and high in omega-6 fatty acids. Unfortunately, it’s in everything! Reading labels on packaged food is key. Research shows that a healthy balance of omega-6s and omega-3s is important, but most packaged foods contain too many omega-6s. In turn, these cause consistent inflammation.

Originally published: Camille Styles

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