Skip to main content

Inflammatory Foods and How They Affect Your Heart

Mar 6, 2019

inflammatory foods to avoid

Inflammation occurs naturally in the body and can be good or bad depending on the circumstances. It is your body’s way of protecting itself when you are sick or injured by protecting against illness and promoting healing. However, long-lasting inflammation is associated with a greater risk of developing diseases, including diabetes, obesity, and even heart disease. The foods you eat can have a significant impact on the inflammation in your body. Keep reading to learn about how inflammation affects heart disease and a few inflammatory foods you should try to avoid.

How Inflammation Plays a Part in Heart Disease

Most people know that high blood pressure and cholesterol are both major risk factors when it comes to heart disease, but you may not be aware that inflammation is connected. Inflammation works to help protect your body. Even the buildup of cholesterol and other materials in your arteries can trigger an inflammatory response. When sustained over a long period, however, the inflammation can irritate the blood vessels further. It may prompt more plaque growth or even loosen the plaque and cause blood clots, which often lead to heart attacks and strokes. However, by working with a doctor at a medical center in Suffolk County, NY, and trying to reduce inflammation, you can limit your chances of heart attacks and strokes. Read on to learn about some of the foods that cause the most inflammation.


Though it might taste great, consuming a lot of sugar won’t do you any favors. It has been associated with obesity, diabetes, cancer, chronic kidney disease, insulin resistance, fatty liver disease, and inflammation. Sugar can damage the gut lining, which may lead to leaky gut syndrome and let food particles enter the bloodstream. According to researchers, fructose also can cause inflammation in the endothelial cells that line blood vessels, a significant risk factor for heart disease. Unfortunately, sugar is found in all sorts of treats, such as candy, cookies, soda, cereal, and more. Try to limit your intake of sugary sweets to lower your levels of inflammation.

Processed Meats

Processed meats, such as bacon, beef jerky, ham, sausage, and smoked meat are linked with a more substantial risk of developing stomach cancer, colon cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Processed meat has more advanced glycation end products which are formed by cooking foods at high temperatures and are known to result in inflammation.

Dairy Products

Another type of food that leads to inflammation is dairy products. When you eat dairy, it can lead to irritation of the cells in the gut. In turn, this may permit allergens to enter the bloodstream and result in inflammation. Some symptoms of this sort of inflammation include rashes, fatigue, headaches, and joint pain.

high inflammatory foods

Artificial Trans Fats

Some of the least healthy foods you can consume are those that contain artificial trans fats. These include french fries, fried foods, vegetable shortening, and processed foods that are made with hydrogenated vegetable oil. Research shows that, unlike naturally occurring trans fats, artificial ones may lead to inflammation and an increased risk of disease. Artificial trans fats also lower good cholesterol and prevent the endothelial cells that line the arteries from functioning properly. This is a significant risk factor for heart disease.

If you are at risk of developing heart disease, visit Peconic Bay Medical Center to learn what foods you should avoid and other ways you can improve your heart health.