5 Foods that Cause Inflammation

by Amy Ahlberg

Upgrade your health and feel better by steering clear of these inflammatory foods:

Vegetable oilsVegetable oils1. Vegetable oils: Inflammation is a condition that damages healthy tissue, raises blood pressure, and can potentially encourage cancer cells to grow, says Rachel Beller, R.D., president of Beller Nutritional Institute. Since consuming too many omega-6 fatty acids (in relation to omega-3s) can increase the risk of inflammation, swap omega-6-laden soy, sunflower, corn, cottonseed, safflower. and mixed vegetable oils with extra virgin olive oil, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. For higher-heat cooking or a more neutral taste, use organic expeller pressed canola oil (those sold in glass bottles are the best).

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Processed cheesesProcessed cheeses2. Processed cheeses (such as American): Pass up processed cheeses and enjoy small amounts of natural, hard cheeses for more flavor (and less sodium). If you can find it, cheese made from the milk of grass-fed animals is best, Beller says.

Pre-seasoned foodsPre-seasoned foods3. Pre-seasoned foods and seasonings: Pre-Seasoned Foods and Seasoning Mixes
A high sodium to potassium ratio in your diet is thought to create an inflammatory response. Season your side dishes and entrées with fresh or dried herbs such as thyme, basil, sage, and rosemary, or try no-sodium-added spice mixes.

Sugar-added cerealsSugar-added cereals4. Sugar-added cereals: There are some studies that show that a high sugar diet fuels inflammation, Miller says. Cut back on sugary cereals and choose low-sugar, high-fiber varieties instead. Another anti-inflammatory breakfast option? Oatmeal-especially minimally-processed steel cut oats.

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Fatty meatsFatty meats5. Fatty meats: Inflammatory foods increase risk for chronic health problems such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and autoimmune disease, Miller says. And though the jury's still out, a couple of studies point to saturated animal fats as inflammatory culprits. Instead of fatty meats like burgers, hot dogs, bacon, bologna, or ribs, Beller suggests eating more omega-3-rich fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel, and tuna, as well as beans, nuts, and whole soy foods.

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