6 Inflammation Causing Foods You May Not Know

Doctor William C Lloyd Healthgrades Medical Reviewer
Medically Reviewed By William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Written By Susan Fishman on July 24, 2021
  • senior-couple-eating-breakfast
    Avoid foods that cause RA inflammation.
    When you have rheumatoid arthritis, your body is already in inflammation overdrive. Adding foods that trigger more inflammation (the body’s defense response to irritations) is probably not what you’re going for, and can lead to other conditions you’d probably rather steer clear of, such as acne, obesity, heart disease and diabetes. But there are some foods you may be eating that you didn’t know were culprits. You’ll want to avoid these inflammatory triggers.
  • peanuts
    1. Peanuts
    We all know the peanut as a common allergen, but did you know it’s also an inflammatory instigator? It ups the body’s inflammatory response as it attempts to fight off the foreign intruder. So while you’ll want to steer clear of these nutty snacks, don’t fret—you can still go nuts with raw organic almonds or other tree nut varieties.
  • agave-syrup
    2. Agave
    This alternative sweetener may seem like a healthier option, but agave actually has a high-fructose content (fructose is another name for sugar, like sucrose, found on nutrition labels). The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that processed sugars and other high-glycemic starches increase inflammation, which causes pain. So go light on the added sweetener in your coffee, or ask your doctor about artificial sweeteners that may be better for you.
  • frozen yogurt
    3. Frozen Yogurt
    The problem with frozen yogurt is two-fold when it comes to RA: dairy and sugar—both of which can trigger inflammatory reactions. But the good news is you can still get your froyo fix. Look for ones that contain probiotics (which may help reduce inflammation) or that use coconut milk in place of dairy.
  • barley-grains
    4. Rye and Barley
    Though you’ve probably heard of a wheat allergy, you may not know that barley and rye are two other grains that can cause problems with inflammation. Why? The gluten (a protein found in whole grains), which may lead to inflammation. If you’re sensitive to gluten, you may want to avoid foods made with these grains, or eat them in moderation. If you have celiac disease (gluten allergy) you should avoid these grains.
  • kung-pao-chicken
    5. Kung Pao Chicken
    This popular Chinese dish, along with many other prepared Asian foods, is loaded with MSG, a food additive found in soy sauce and other foods, such as soup mixes, deli meats, and salad dressings. It’s been known to trigger chronic inflammation and can also affect your liver health.
  • seasoning-packets
    6. Seasoning Packs
    Packaged seasonings like those found in taco mixes and salad dressings may pack a punch in flavor, but they can also pack on the sugar and artificial coloring, key drivers of inflammation. For a healthier option, try making  your own seasoning mix, and experimenting with different flavor profiles.
Have RA? 6 Inflammation Causing Foods You May Not Know
  1. 8 Food Ingredients That Can Cause Inflammation. Arthritis Foundation. http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/arthritis-diet/foods-to-avoid-limit/food-ingredients-...
  2. When Food Causes You Pain. CNN.com. http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/20/health/food-cause-pain-daniluk/
  3. Foods to Avoid If You Have Arthritis. Arthritis Foundation. http://www.arthritis.org/living-with-arthritis/arthritis-diet/foods-to-avoid-limit/
  4. 6 Inflammation-Causing Foods No One Talks About. Prevention.com. http://www.prevention.com/food/healthy-eating-tips/foods-cause-inflammation
Was this helpful?
Last Review Date: 2021 Jul 24
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.