Six Inflammatory Foods to Avoid

anti-inflammatory blog inflammatory foods to avoid most inflammatory foods paleo

Paleo, AIP, Whole 30, Plant Paradox, Elimination Diet… it can be a little overwhelming, right?

I totally understand because I’ve been there.  Since I first learned I had an autoimmune disease and learned the power of food as medicine, I’ve tried so many approaches. 

I’d try one, then read about another and try that for a while, and I was constantly switching.  

When it comes down to it, if you have inflammation, the most basic requirement is to avoid inflammatory foods.   Ah … breathe … this makes it so simple.  

This doesn’t mean you go hungry.  It doesn’t mean hours and hours in the kitchen or even going broke because of the cost of food.  

Michael Pollan said it right:

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly Plants."
— Michael Pollan, author of In Defence of Food

How simple is that? 

The word ‘food’ means REAL food.  Food that doesn’t need an ingredient label.  It is what it is.  Made by nature, not in a factory.

From my engineering background, I know that the simplest solution is always the best solution.  It doesn’t have to be complicated. Simplify.

So, let’s keep this simple.  

I have done a lot of research and read many books on reducing inflammation, and the same foods keep coming up as causing inflammation. If you have signs of inflammation like joint pain, digestive issues, skin issues, brain fog, mood swings, autoimmune disease, heart disease, diabetes, or another chronic illness, the six inflammatory foods to avoid are:

  • Processed foods (including protein from ‘factory’ farms. See more information here)

  • Grains (wheat, wild rice, barley, corn, oats, rice, rye, sorghum, spelt, millet, teff)

  • Dairy

  • Legumes

  • Refined sugars and artificial sweeteners

  • Processed oils (see this article for more information on oils)

You are probably thinking, “What DO I eat?”  I know.  This list cuts a pretty wide swath across the typical Western diet. It’s a big departure from today’s “normal” foods.  

The answer is simple (keep it simple, right?): Eat lots of fresh organic vegetables, quality proteins, and quality fats.  That’s it! 

Lots of vegetables means about half your plate is vegetables.  Eat a variety of colors of vegetables to get lots of valuable phytonutrients.  Eat a rainbow of vegetables every day. 

“Colourful foods are plant-based, phytonutrient-dense, whole, unprocessed."
— Dr. Deanna Minich, author of The Rainbow Diet

If you choose to avoid these six inflammatory foods, it is very likely that you will lower inflammation and have more energy. The added bonus is that you will lose weight if you have excess weight to lose.

These foods are a great place to start.  Look at the meals you cook now. Can you make adjustments not to include these foods?  If not, search the internet or Pinterest for recipes. You can make a gradual shift if that is easier for you.  

Notice how you feel. Track what you are eating and how your body is responding. It is like scientific feedback and can be a real eye-opener!

If your body has high levels of inflammation even after removing these six foods, you may also want to consider temporarily removing and then reintroducing back, one at a time, the following foods: 

  • Alcohol

  • Eggs

  • Nuts

  • Seeds (including coffee, cocoa, and seed-based spices)

  • Nightshade vegetables (tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, eggplant, and spices made from these, including chili powder, cayenne pepper, and curry)

  • Emulsifiers and thickeners (like guar gum and xanthan gum)

  • Pseudo grains (quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, chia)

  • Fruits in excess of 2 servings per day, especially sweeter fruits

Your starting point, though, should be the six inflammatory foods to avoid. Your body will thank you for it!

And then you can get on with living your life without inflammation!

A great way to help improve your health is choosing to create peace and calm while you are eating.  HOW you eat can be as important as WHAT you eat.  I have a great resource for you to implement TODAY to help you become empowered in your health.  Click on the image below to receive it. 


Want to learn more? Here are some books I referenced in this article:

In Defence of Food, by Michael Pollan

The Rainbow Diet by Deanna Minich


Get started with lowering pain and inflammation with my free Release with Peace Audio Bundle

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  2. All information in this post is based on my personal experiences. Please discuss any changes to your diet, lifestyle or medications with your healthcare team. No information in this article is meant to replace medical advice. Please read my Terms and Conditions.