Inflammatory foods: what they are and what they are

Inflammatory foods are those that, when consumed in excess, cause oxidative stress, promoting inflammation and favoring the emergence of problems such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, cancer and high blood pressure.

Inflammatory foods, such as red meat, soda, instant noodles and pizza, are generally rich in refined carbohydrates, saturated and trans fats, which cause an increase in “bad” LDL cholesterol in the blood, insulin resistance and a reduction in “good” HDL cholesterol.

It is important to remember that the harmful effects of inflammatory foods occur mainly when they are consumed frequently and/or when they are associated with other factors such as an inadequate diet, few hours of sleep, a sedentary lifestyle and smoking, for example.

11 inflammatory foods

The main inflammatory foods are:

1. Red meat

Red meat is an inflammatory food because it has high amounts of saturated fat, a type of fat that, when consumed in excess, can increase levels of “bad” cholesterol, LDL, in the blood.

Therefore, red meat can cause inflammation in the body, favoring the emergence of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks, atherosclerosis and high blood pressure.

2. Sugar

Sugar is considered an inflammatory food because it promotes excess weight by increasing the release of inflammatory cytokines that damage tissues and organs. Thus, excessive sugar consumption can cause the development of diseases such as atherosclerosis, stroke or heart attack.

In addition, sugar also causes a rapid increase in blood glucose levels, which causes oxidative stress and hinders the production of the hormone insulin, favoring insulin resistance and diabetes. Learn more about the harmful effects of sugar on your health .

3. Sausage

Sausage is a processed meat made with red meats that are sources of saturated fat, such as pork and beef, and which, therefore, can cause chronic inflammation, favoring the development of health problems such as heart attack, stroke and atherosclerosis.

In addition, sausage also contains artificial preservatives, such as nitrites and nitrates. These preservatives can promote oxidative stress, increasing the risk of developing certain types of cancer, such as liver, pancreatic and intestinal cancer.

However, more research in humans is needed to confirm the relationship between nitrite and nitrate intake and cancer risk.

4. Beer

Beer is an inflammatory food because the metabolism of alcohol forms the compound acetaldehyde in the body, a toxic compound that contributes to inflammation in the liver, pancreas, brain, gastrointestinal tract and other organs.

In addition, beer and other alcoholic beverages, such as wine, whiskey, sparkling wine and vodka, also increase the release of biomarkers that cause inflammation and oxidative stress in the body, such as C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6, melanoaldehyde and 8-isoprostran.

5. Pizza

Pizza, especially industrialized pizza, is considered an inflammatory food because it contains large amounts of saturated and trans fat, fats that increase levels of “bad” cholesterol, LDL, in the blood.

Additionally, pizza dough also contains gluten, a protein found in some grains that can cause inflammation in people with celiac disease, gluten intolerance or allergy.

6. Soda

Being a food rich in sugar, soda stimulates the release of inflammatory cytokines, favoring the emergence of cardiovascular diseases, such as stroke and heart attack.

Additionally, soda also rapidly increases blood glucose levels, causing oxidative stress and thus facilitating insulin resistance and diabetes.

7. Sausage

Like sausage, hot dogs are an inflammatory food rich in saturated fat that, in excess, increases levels of total cholesterol and “bad” cholesterol, LDL, in the blood, and can cause chronic diseases such as heart attack, atherosclerosis and stroke.

Because it contains nitrites and nitrates, sausage can also cause oxidative stress, increasing the risk of developing some types of cancer.

8. Ice cream

Ice cream is considered an inflammatory food because it is rich in sugar and saturated fat, nutrients that cause an increase in cholesterol and blood glucose levels.

Furthermore, industrialized ice cream is also rich in trans fat, a type of inflammatory fat that causes an increase in levels of “bad” cholesterol, LDL, in addition to decreasing “good” cholesterol, HDL, in the blood.

9. Instant noodles

Because it is a product that is manufactured by frying in vegetable fat, instant noodles have high amounts of saturated fat, which is why they are considered an inflammatory food.

Additionally, instant noodles are also often high in sodium, a mineral that, when consumed in excess, increases levels of inflammatory cytokines that cause kidney damage, potentially increasing the risk of high blood pressure.

10. Stuffed biscuit

Stuffed cookies are an inflammatory food because they are rich in trans fat, a type of fat that increases levels of total cholesterol and “bad” cholesterol, LDL, in the blood.

Furthermore, the stuffed biscuit contains sugar, an ingredient that stimulates the release of inflammatory cytokines and increases blood glucose levels, which can cause diseases such as atherosclerosis, obesity, diabetes and stroke.

11. French fries

French fries, especially industrial ones, are very rich in fat, and the fact that the food is continually fried in the same oil causes it to deteriorate and the formation of toxic compounds in the body, such as acrylamides.

Therefore, French fries, like other fried products, can cause inflammation in the body and increase the risk of developing cancer and cardiovascular diseases when consumed in excess.

Anti-inflammatory foods

Anti-inflammatory foods are those that fight free radicals and strengthen the immune system, helping to prevent the onset of diseases such as diabetes, heart attacks, obesity, metabolic syndrome and cancer.

The main anti-inflammatory foods are:

  • Pomegranate;
  • Orange;
  • Olive oil;
  • Sardine;
  • Broccoli;

Other anti-inflammatory foods include green tea, peppers, cherries, tomatoes, and turmeric.

Abbas Jahangir

I am a researcher and writer with a background in food and nutritional science. I am the founder of Foodstrend.com, our reputable online platform offering scientifically-backed articles on health, food, nutrition, kitchen tips, recipes, diet, and fitness. With a commitment to providing accurate and reliable information, we strive to empower our readers to make informed decisions about their health and lifestyle choices. Join us on Foodstrend.com's journey toward a healthier and happier lifestyle.

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