Inflammation is one of the body’s natural defense mechanisms. It helps the body heal from infection, injury or stress — and it’s also a key factor in chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity.
This type of inflammation typically occurs in response to foods that cause your cellular DNA damage and dysfunction.
To avoid inflammation-causing foods, reduce or eliminate the following items from your diet:
- Processed meats. These include bacon, sausage, cold cuts and other deli meats, which are preserved by smoking, curing or salting, or with the addition of chemical preservatives. Processed meats contain dietary carcinogens called nitrosamines.
- Trans fats. Trans fats are found in margarine, vegetable shortening, fried foods and most baked goods. They raise your bad cholesterol levels while lowering your good cholesterol levels, which can lead to inflammation. Beware of the words “hydrogenated” or “partially hydrogenated” on a nutrition label; if you see them, put the product back on the shelf.
- Refined carbohydrates: The high quality carbohydrate meals, consisting of white rice, white bread, and sweets can cause inflammation. Instead of consuming these, focus on complex carbohydrates which are rich in fiber and nutrients.
- Sugar. Sugar is public enemy number one when it comes to inflammation because it’s in so many foods — even foods that you don’t think of as sweet. It’s also hidden under many names, such as high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, fructose and sucrose. Avoiding sugar is a big challenge because it hides in everything from ketchup and salad dressing to sliced bread and pasta sauce.
- High amounts of omega-6 fats. It’s important to note that omega-6 fats are necessary for health but should only be consumed in moderation. Most people eat too many omega-6 fats.
- Fried foods: Diets rich in fried foods are associated with an increased risk of several diseases. In particular, fried foods that contain acrylamide may increase the risk of several cancers. This chemical is formed when starchy foods are cooked at high temperatures.