The Foods That Cause Inflammation & The Swaps To Make
The Foods That Cause Inflammation & The Swaps To Make

The Foods That Cause Inflammation & The Swaps To Make

Inflammation is a natural response in the body, but too much can leave you feeling tired and bloated, take its toll on your skin and hinder muscle recovery. Even low mood, PMS and brain fog have been linked to it. Fortunately, an anti-inflammatory diet is easier to follow than you might think, and simple swaps can make a big difference. Here’s what two nutritionists recommend…
By Tor West

Limit Processed Food

“Refined carbohydrates, sugary treats, breakfast cereals and soft drinks may be delicious, but they are inflammatory. If you’re looking for more consistent energy levels and improved wellbeing, getting on top of inflammation is key. Start by swapping processed foods – ready-to-heat products like pizza, processed meats like sausages, alcohol and mass-produced bread are some of the worst culprits – with whole food options. Consider following a Mediterranean-style diet, which is naturally low in animal products and processed food and high in wholegrains, fruit, vegetables, legumes and beans. Plus, most fruits and vegetables are loaded with phytonutrients, which actively reduce inflammation. Load up on berries, green leafy vegetables, sweet potatoes, beetroot, tomatoes and carrots as well as herbs and spices like turmeric, ginger, garlic and sage.” – Xuxa Milrose, nutritional therapist at OMNI Wellness

Start The Day With A Protein-Rich Breakfast

“Foods made from refined grains – think white bread, bagels, breakfast cereals and cereal bars – cause rapid spikes in blood sugar, which leads to an inflammatory response. When you start the day with a carb-rich breakfast, your immune system jumps into action and releases inflammatory molecules. Ditch your beige breakfast and opt for eggs on wholegrain rye toast with a sprinkling of feta; a salmon and herb frittata; or millet porridge with walnuts and banana. Always eat carbs alongside a source of either protein or healthy fats (ideally both) to keep blood sugar balanced and inflammation under control. Also consider ditching your fizzy drink habit – studies show sugary drinks are especially linked to chronic inflammation.” – Xuxa 

Load Up On Fibre

“A fibre-rich diet can reduce inflammation – aim for 30g daily. The more fibre you eat, the less inflamed your body. Interestingly, a high intake of fibre is also linked to a decreased risk of chronic inflammatory conditions like cardiovascular disease and inflammatory bowel disease. Some of the best sources of fibre include beans, lentils, wholegrains like oats and rye, berries, apples, pears, avocados, and cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, spinach and kale. These foods have the bonus of also being rich in antioxidants to further control inflammation. Fibre-rich meal ideas include white bean, lemon and kale soup; lentil and feta tabbouleh with parsley; quinoa, chickpea and warm broccoli salad; and wholegrain spaghetti with kale pesto. Instead of packaged snacks like protein bars and rice cakes, try hummus with crudites, an apple dipped in nut butter, or Greek yoghurt with a handful of berries.” – Xuxa  

Manage Your Microbiome

“Aim for 30 different plant foods a week, which will ensure you’re feeding as many types of good gut bacteria as possible, which is central to a robust microbiome. Recent studies have suggested our gut bugs play an important role in modulating the risk for several chronic diseases including IBD, obesity, type 2 diabetes and cancer, all of which are inflammatory conditions. As well as fibre, your gut thrives when you eat food that contains live and probiotic bacteria – like kefir, sauerkraut, cultured yoghurt, tempeh, tofu, miso and kombucha. The probiotics in these foods make the gut lining stronger and less permeable, meaning fewer toxic compounds can cross the lining and cause an inflammatory response. Don’t forget about prebiotics either, which have also been shown to control inflammation. Eat more asparagus, bananas, berries, garlic, onions, leeks, chickpeas, and spices like cinnamon and black pepper.” – Xuxa 

Favour Oily Fish Over Meat

“Oily fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have strong anti-inflammatory benefits. Go for cold-water fish like salmon, mackerel, trout, sardines and anchovies. When you eat omegas, you nip inflammation in the bud before the cascade can take effect. Studies show those who regularly eat fatty fish are less likely to develop heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis, both of which are closely linked to inflammation. On the flip side, fatty cuts of meat, bacon, sausages, and cured meats like salami, pancetta and chorizo are linked to inflammation.” – Xuxa 

Don’t Go Fat Free

“The body needs fat but choose the fats that provide you with benefits. Extra virgin olive oil has potent anti-inflammatory effects. It’s also important to balance omega-3 and omega-6 fats. Vegetable oils like corn, soybean and sunflower oil are high in omega-6 fatty acids. While the body needs some omega-6 fats, an excessive intake, especially when not balanced with omega-3 fats, can trigger inflammation. Get into the habit of eating foods like walnuts, flaxseed, chia seeds and sardines daily.” – Isabela Ramos, nutritionist at MyHealthChecked

Test For Intolerances

“It’s interesting to note what triggers inflammation for one person may not have the same reaction for someone else. For example, wholegrain rye bread is packed with nutritious vitamins and minerals, but if you’re allergic to gluten, just one slice will trigger an inflammatory response in the body. The same goes for dairy. If an intolerance goes undiagnosed, it will only lead to more inflammation. When you eat food that damages the lining of the gut, food particles are more susceptible to leak through, leading to ‘leaky gut’. When this happens, the immune cells in your gut identify the food particles as harmful and start reacting to them. This leads to food sensitives and low-grade inflammation. The classic symptoms of a food sensitivity include skin rashes, acne, fatigue, headaches, mood issues, bloating, muscle pain, water retention and sinus problems.” – Xuxa

Experts agree a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods is a simple and powerful way to keep the body balanced and in vibrant health. Here are Isabela’s top picks…


“Natural foods with a rich, red colour – like raspberries, blackberries and pomegranate – are full of inflammation-fighting antioxidants called flavonoids. Some studies show eating berries can reduce inflammation by 50%. Add a side of berries to your breakfast daily.”

Leafy Greens

“Loaded with antioxidants, the likes of kale, spinach and Swiss chard should feature daily in your diet. Also look to cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower, which contain sulphur compounds that reduce inflammation. Get creative with greens – make your own pesto or blitz into soups and sauces.”

Nuts & Seeds

“Snack on walnuts and almonds, which are particularly rich in antioxidants as well as healthy fats and fibre. Also sprinkle flaxseeds, chia seeds and pumpkin seeds on porridge, yoghurt, salads and soups.”


“Get into the habit of cooking with fresh ginger or take a shot or supplement daily. The active compound in ginger is gingerol, an anti-inflammatory compound that’s proven to reduce oxidative stress.”

Green Tea

“Replace your afternoon coffee with a cup of green tea, which is rich in polyphenols, a type of antioxidant known to reduce chronic inflammation.”


“Turmeric can reduce inflammation and the pain associated with it. Add to curries and soups, or sprinkle over scrambled eggs.” 


“Garlic is abundant in antioxidants that reduce oxidative stress, fight systemic inflammation and protect against free radicals.” 

Fatty Fish

“Fish plays an important role in an anti-inflammatory kitchen, especially fatty varieties like salmon, trout and mackerel. Aim for at least two portions per week.”

For more nutritional advice from the experts, visit &

DISCLAIMER: Features published by SheerLuxe are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek the advice of your GP or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programme.

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