There's been a lot of buzz in recent years about the benefits of eating an anti-inflammatory diet, which is perhaps why kale, beets, and turmeric are having such a major moment right now. But while some foods appear to be natural inflammation fighters, others seem to do the complete opposite. If you're looking to optimize your health, you'll want to steer clear of these five foods that can immediately cause inflammation in your body.
Before getting into which foods are the worst offenders, it's worth noting that there are different kinds of inflammation in the body. Acute inflammation, like when your body reacts to a cut or a burn, can actually be a good thing because it's helping the body heal, according to Kellyann Petrucci, ND, in an interview with MindBodyGreen. But chronic inflammation is when the inflammatory process goes on too long and puts your immune system into overdrive, according to Live Science.
Left unchecked, the latter can be an accelerant for diseases. "Chronic inflammation can cause and worsen certain conditions like arthritis, inflammation of the heart, kidneys, and large intestine, and possibly cancer," Ilyse Schapiro, MS, RD, CDN, tells Romper.
One research article published in the medical journal The Lancet in 2001 described the effects of ongoing inflammation as such: "If genetic damage is the 'match that lights the fire' of cancer, some types of inflammation may provide the 'fuel that feeds the flames."
So, to avoid "fueling the flames" of disease, here are some foods you'll want to limit or avoid all together.