Without a shadow of a doubt, food plays a role in fighting inflammation in the body (read our first article on Fight Inflammation Through Food Part 1: Foods to Eat More Often). Let’s be clear, the goal isn’t to eliminate inflammation altogether. A certain degree of inflammation is needed in the body for both healing and protection from injury. Chronic inflammation, which is inflammation that lingers over time and causes our body to be on alert, can damage our tissues and organs.
If you’re curious about which foods to limit to help keep inflammation in check, keep reading!
It’s good to note that focusing on your diet as a whole and consuming a variety of anti-inflammatory foods regularly is what’s most important. That being said, there are foods that have been linked with encouraging inflammation in the body when consumed in excess amounts.
Limit These Foods to Fight Inflammation:
1. Ultra Processed Foods: Soft drinks, candies, chips, processed meats etc.
These are foods that go through a multitude of processing steps and have a laundry list of engineered ingredients. It likely won’t come as a surprise that these are bad for your health and have been linked with encouraging an inflammatory state in the body (5), (6).
What to do: Fill your plate with whole-food ingredients, mostly plants.
2. Excess Sugar: Sugary soft drinks, sports drinks, cookies, etc.
Consuming too much sugar has also been linked with promoting an inflammatory state in the body, along with increasing risk for other health conditions (7), (8). Find fun alternatives to sugar-sweetened beverages.
What to do: To help you stay hydrated, such as flavoured sparkling water or smoothies. Practice moderation with sugary foods.
3. Fried Foods: French fries, chicken strips, donuts, etc.
Eating a lot of fried food has been found to increase inflammation due to compounds created through the frying process, increasing unhealthy trans fats, and negatively influencing our gut microbiota (9), (10), (11).
What to do: Enjoy healthier alternatives to your favourite takeout recipes like these Smash Burgers with Crispy Oven Fries.
4. Excess Alcohol
While small amounts of alcohol are safe, heavy alcohol use can impair our bodies natural defenses against systemic inflammation (12). Try your hand at making non-alcoholic mocktails.
When it comes to nutrition, we are big fans of focusing on addition compared to substraction. When you add more of the good, there’s less room for foods that aren’t as nutrient dense! A couple of our favourite inflammation-fighting recipes include this Blueberry Spinach Salad, Mediterranean Quinoa & Salmon Bowls, or this Fruit & Nut Oatmeal.