This post was written by Ruby Yang, a volunteer at Calgary Family Nutrition.

Besides trying to include foods that are anti-inflammatory, you can also try to eat less of foods that may promote further inflammation.  Pro-inflammatory foods may contribute to increased risk of chronic diseases and increased inflammation in our bodies, contributing to problematic skin. The following are pro-inflammatory foods that are recommended to be eaten less often.

1. Foods with Refined Carbohydrates

Refined carbohydrates are products made with white flour, white rice, white potatoes and other refined cereals and grain products. Not only do these refined carbohydrates contribute to weight gain but they also stimulate inflammation.

Healthier grain products: 100% whole wheat bread, brown rice, baked goods made with wheat bran or whole grains. 

2. Sugary Foods

This category is probably the hardest to resist for most people since most desserts, pastries, beverages and packaged foods have added sugar. However, studies have shown processed sugar as a trigger for inflammation.

Healthier alternatives: fresh fruits and vegetables, carbonated water, fruit infused water, 100% fruit juice.

3. Deep Fried Foods

When certain foods are cooked to high temperatures, compounds can form in the food and cause an inflammatory response. Common deep fried foods include french fries, fried chicken, chips and donuts.

Healthier cooking methods: baking, roasting, steaming, stewing.

4. Saturated and Trans Fats

Studies have shown saturated fats to not only contribute to heart disease but to also worsen inflammation. Trans fats are also known as a trigger for systemic inflammation. Fortunately, artificial trans fats have recently been banned in Canada due to its harmful effects of increasing “bad” cholesterol levels. However, retailers have been given a grace period of 2 years to clear inventory which means you might still find products with trans fats. Sources of saturated and trans fats include cheese, butter, margarine, shortening, and lard which are commonly added into baked goods, desserts, pizza and pasta-dishes.

Healthier fat and oil alternatives: canola oil, olive oil, flaxseed oil, safflower oil, soybean oil, seeds, avocado, nuts.

 5. Red Meat and Processed Meats

Red meats have higher levels of saturated fats and has been associated with heart problems and inflammation. Processed meats may also be made with red meats, but the major culprit is the excessive addition of salt. Too much sodium has been linked to high blood pressure as well as inflammation. Therefore, by eating less hot dogs, sausages, deli meat, beef and pork, you may reduce the severity of some skin conditions.

Healthier protein alternatives: lean meats, skinless chicken/turkey, fish, legumes