I think it’s safe to say that most of us know that oily, fast food is pretty inflammatory to our bodies. But the unfortunate thing is that a lot of popular brands also sneak inflammatory ingredients into their labels. Common ingredients that cause inflammation are sugar, saturated fats, trans fats, refined carbohydrates, monosodium glutamate (MSG), gluten, and casein.

Unfortunately, these ingredients are usually always on the ingredient label of packaged goods, so that’s why we always promote making your own snacks and meals with raw ingredients. Meal and snack prepping is one way to get ahead of the game to ensure that you always have something accessible. But that doesn’t always work out and you might need to grab a quick snack from the convenience store when you’re on the go. Avoiding a few key ingredients is a start to eating an anti-inflammatory diet.

A few switches to make:

OILS

Oils are found in just about any prepackaged food item; luckily some oils are actually anti-inflammatory! When reading the label, if there are oils in the product, choose the one that includes olive oil or avocado oil, rather than canola oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, and vegetable oil. A quick tip for buying oil at the grocery store… Avoid the ones listed before, if possible, but when choosing olive or avocado oils, lean towards ones that are extra virgin, cold pressed, or expeller pressed—they are usually labeled on the bottles!

SUGAR

Just like oil, sugar is found in a lot of prepackaged foods. One way to help with your sugar intake, is to look for natural sweeteners in your products or use them in place of sugar when cooking. Some substitutes are maple syrup, honey, agave, date paste, coconut sugar, and monk fruit extracts. Each of these has their own purpose for cooking but remember to limit overall intake when possible. –Just because it’s natural, does not mean that you should consume a bunch of it. 😉

Now, don’t go purging your pantry to throw away ​ALL food that includes these ingredients. A lot of times, our favorite foods happen to be ones that include inflammatory ingredients, but life is all about balance! Eat your favorite snacks and meals in moderation; life is meant to be enjoyed, ​and it is not necessary to always restrict yourself from things that make you happy. ​ Pay attention to how the foods you choose make you feel and how they impact your daily performance in life; you may learn which inflammatory foods you can tolerate occasionally and those you do better without.  And one key thing to remind yourself, food is meant to fuel; eat foods that fuel your body for optimal health.

INFLAMMATORY FOOD: White bread and pastries, fried foods, soda, red meat, margarine

ANTI-INFLAMMATORY FOOD: Tomatoes, olive oil, green leafy vegetables, nuts, fatty fish, fruit (aka Mediterranean diet)

Written by: Hailey Torborg, Social Media Specialist