5 Foods That Cause Inflammation In Your Body

Inflammatory foods. (Image via Unsplash/Robin Stickel)
Inflammatory foods (Image via Unsplash/Robin Stickel)

Inflammation is a biological condition of the body during which the immune system sends out inflammatory chemicals known as cytokines.

It's a natural way in which the body indicates anything not optimal inside it. These inflammatory chemicals and hormones are also known as biomarkers. Biomarkers indicate medical conditions or the occurrence of diseases.

There are two types of inflammation: acute and chronic. Acute inflammation occurs when there's any physical damage, such as a bruise or injury. The body sends cytokines and immune cells to the bruise site to repair and initiate the healing process.

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What foods cause inflammation?

Foods that contain a certain group of fatty acids known as omega-6 fatty acids are usually inflammatory. Foods containing refined carbs and sugar can also trigger an inflammatory response.

Inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids include arachidonic acid, linoleic acid, gamma-linolenic acid, eicosadienoic acid, dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid, docosadienoic acid, adrenic acid, and docosapentaenoic acid.

Foods that cause inflammation

1) Seed Oils

Sunflower oil, soybean oil, rice bran oil, palm olein oil, palm oil, canola oil, and cottonseed oil are some of the most commonly heavily consumed seed oils responsible for inflammation. They contain high amounts of inflammatory fatty acids.

2) Sugary beverages

These include soda, juice drinks, iced tea, and other instant beverages.

3) Refined carbs

Foods like white bread, pasta, and rice can also contribute to inflammation.

4) Processed meats

Sausages, salamis, bacon, burger patty, and similar products can also be harmful.

5) Fried foods

Foods deep-fried in oils like french fries, can trigger inflammation in the body.

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Why do these foods cause inflammation?

A study by the Departments of Genetics and Complex Diseases and Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health found that many chemical constituents in foods, including certain fatty acids, naturally occurring chemicals, and other agents, can trigger immune cells to release inflammatory molecules.


Health risks of inflammatory foods

These foods can cause non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), steatohepatitis, liver cirrhosis, heart disease, dementia, mental decline, and many other such lifestyle disorders. These foods can also increase the severity of other diseases like type 2 diabetes mellitus.


Anti-inflammatory foods

Foods that can decrease inflammation are the ones containing strong antioxidants and naturally occurring beneficial compounds. Foods devoid of inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids also help prevent inflammatory responses in the body.

Here's the list of the five best anti-inflammatory foods:

Remedies for inflammation. (Image via Unsplash/Jelly Bee)
Remedies for inflammation. (Image via Unsplash/Jelly Bee)

1) Omega-3 rich fatty fish

Fatty fish contain beneficial DHA and EPA, which are essential fatty acids. These fatty acids are required in the synthesis of anti-inflammatory molecules in the body.

2) Tea

Tea contains strong antioxidants and other natural compounds which are known to help in the reduction of inflammatory conditions in the body.

3) Coffee

Freshly ground coffee also contains natural compounds that have anti-inflammatory properties. Freshly brewed coffee is beneficial for overall health.

4) Citrus fruits

These types of fruits contain vitamin C, flavonoids, and other antioxidants. These compounds have anti-inflammatory properties as well.

5) Dark chocolate

Cocoa (cacao) contains beneficial compounds with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Dark chocolates that do not contain sugars are extremely beneficial for brain health.

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How to adjust your diet to reduce inflammation

Regular consumption of the anti-inflammatory foods listed above can reduce the level of inflammatory chemicals.

Several research studies conducted by The Harvard School of Public Health recommend that foods like alcohol, foods deep fried in seed oils, processed meats like sausages, burger patties, sweetened beverages like soda, juice drinks, iced tea, refined carbs like white bread, pasta, and rice should be avoided to keep inflammation low.


Inflammation FAQ

1) What is the fastest way to reduce inflammation in the body?

The immediate remedy to inflammation is to remove the foods responsible for inflammation and include anti-inflammatory foods. Supplementation with anti-inflammatory natural agents might also help reduce inflammation.

2) What can I drink to reduce inflammation?

Juices of fruits containing high levels of vitamin C can help reduce inflammation. There are several benefits of vitamin C in our body.

3) What is the strongest anti-inflammatory agent?

Omega-3 fish oil is the strongest anti-inflammatory agent. Fish oil contains DHA and EPA which are beneficial fatty acids and reduce the levels of inflammation in the body.

4) Can drinking lots of water reduce inflammation?

No, drinking plain water will not reduce inflammation and may instead cause bloating and discomfort.

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Edited by Bhargav