Smart Senior Eating: 5 Foods that Cause Inflammation

As you age, you might find that certain foods that you used to eat regularly now lead to pain and discomfort. You might experience digestive issues like stomach pain, acid reflux, or intestinal swelling, or flare ups of chronic conditions like arthritis. 

Unfortunately, your diet is just one of the many things you’ll probably have to adjust with age; however, it’s much easier to make the correct adjustments when you know which foods trigger your discomfort. Here are 5 foods and ingredients to consider eliminating from your diet in order to avoid inflammation.


There are many reasons to stay away from foods that contain tons of sugar, and inflammation is only one of them. Sugars like high fructose corn syrup lead to inflammation that can eventually cause serious illnesses like Diabetes and Cancer. 

While we’re not suggesting that you swear off sugar entirely, it’s important to keep track of your sugar intake and check labels for high percentages of sugar. If you have a huge sweet tooth and can’t imagine going cold turkey on dessert, talk to your doctor and make a plan for how you can healthily incorporate sugar into your diet without it becoming harmful or causing discomfort. Foods that are extremely high in sugar include cakes, cookies, chocolate, cereals, coffee drinks, and soft drinks.

Artificial Trans Fats

Artificial trans fats are among the unhealthiest fats you can eat. Some fats like Avocados and Salmon are good for you, and Salmon has been known to help soothe inflammation. However, artificial trans fats – most commonly listed on ingredient labels as partially hydrogenated oils – have been proven to cause inflammation and when consumed excessively, can lead to obesity and even heart disease. Processed foods like pre-packaged cakes and cookies are artificial trans fats. Margarine, fast food, and chips are other examples. 

Acidic foods

Foods and beverages that are highly acidic have been known to lead to many different forms of inflammation including arthritis, acne, fatigue, digestive issues, bloating, weight gain, and more. Acidic foods change the body’s PH which then leads your body to try to compensate to get back on track by using other nutrients like calcium and magnesium to even out the scale. Foods that are highly acidic and that could throw off your PH include citrus fruits like lemons, limes, and oranges, coffee, certain teas, tomatoes, sodas, juices, and more. 

Refined Carbohydrates 

While carbs have gotten a bad reputation because they’ve been associated with weight gain, they’re not all bad! Certain carbs like oatmeal, quinoa, and broccoli are high in fiber which promotes sugar control and makes you feel full. 

On the other hand, refined carbs have either been stripped of or contain little fiber, and can increase inflammatory bacteria in your gut. Some examples of refined carbs are pasta, flour, candy, and soft drinks.


While occasional alcohol consumption isn’t harmful and has actually been proven to have some health benefits, excessive alcohol consumption can lead to chronic inflammation amongst other health issues like cirrhosis. Certain alcoholic beverages and cocktails like Moscato Wine and Margaritas also contain high levels of sugar that only increases your risk of inflammatory symptoms.

To avoid the negative effects of alcohol including inflammation, limit your alcohol intake to 2 drinks per day.  

While excess consumption of all of these foods and ingredients can lead to painful inflammation and other health issues, it’s important to note that moderation is key. One can of pop a week isn’t going to drastically alter your body’s pH and a bowl of pasta every once in a while won’t necessarily lead to painful indigestion. Consult your doctor about the diet that will work best for you and your health, and when in doubt, listen to your body.

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