This Integrative Doctor Explains What to Eat (And What Not to Eat) to Reduce Inflammation

Have you googled “the best foods to eat and to avoid” or “what to eat and what not to eat?”

Holy moly! Have you seen all the information that pops up?

Give “anti-inflammatory foods” or “anti-inflammatory diet” a quick search.

Seriously, wow. Overwhelming is an understatement!

Eat this, but don’t eat that. Now add this food in. No, take that food away . . . I might as well just begin eating air! Ugh!

Luckily, there’s a simple rule to live by when it comes to

The key to eating healthy is to keep it simple.

If you are like most of my patients, eating can be one of the most frustrating aspects to healing. Many patients tell me similar stories over and over again.

“I tried going gluten free, but I didn’t notice anything. Then, I went vegan and ended up gaining weight. I tried ketogenic for a while, but eating fat was kinda gross. So, I gave up!”

What to eat and what not to eat? What are some anti-inflammatory foods? What’s the best anti-inflammatory diet to follow? There are so many questions that arise!

What to Eat for an Anti-Inflammatory Diet: Don’t Make It Complicated

The key to eating healthy is to keep it simple. I say this, but if you listen to my wife (who has an autoimmune condition) and I order food at a restaurant, you would roll your eyes.

Eating clean, anti-inflammatory foods does not have to be difficult or confusing if you know some basic ideas.

I will share with you what has worked very well, and consistently, over the last 12 years for my patients. This is clinical experience I am going to give you. This is not a research article, nor is this the “newest anti-inflammatory diet that promises to help you lose 20 pounds in two days.”

What I am about to share has been applied, tweaked, and modified over thousands of patients through the years.

What Not to Eat for an Anti-Inflammatory Diet: Stay Away From the “Big 3”

Keeping your eating simple is KEY! “Okay, doc, how do I do this?” Eliminate the BIG foods that are known to create the most inflammation.

My “Big 3” are:

  1. Dairy
  2. Gluten
  3. Soy

These definitely fall into the category of “what not to eat.”


1. What Not to Eat: Dairy

Let’s start with dairy and why you want to stay as far away as possible. Why?

Our bodies perceive it as foreign

Most dairy cows in the United States produce a protein called A1. Many of us can’t break that protein down. If we can’t break the protein down, our immune system “recognizes” the protein as a foreign invader and proceeds to attack it.

This attack causes inflammation to occur. One of my favorite sayings is: “If there is a fire in the gut, there is a fire in the brain.”

If you create inflammation of the gut, you are essentially creating inflammation in the brain. Patients perceive this brain inflammation as brain fog: cloudy or fuzzy thinking, loss of short-term memory, and/or lack of focus/concentration.

Dairy isn’t as healthy as we think

“But, Dr. King, isn’t milk good for our bones?”

Do you know why the term “enriched” is on the milk container? When milk is pasteurized and heated, a majority of the nutrients are destroyed. So, in order to claim that milk is good for you, the milk companies enrich the creamy liquid with vitamins.

Just a thought, but maybe we can get these vitamins/minerals from other sources, instead of drinking a substance that was originally produced to feed and nourish a baby calf . . . not a human.

Milk is meant for baby cows!

Have you heard the statement, “Name one animal that drinks milk after infancy?”

Can you think of an animal that fits that description? No? How about . . . humans? But we don’t drink breast milk. We drink cow’s milk! Milk meant for a baby calf’s neurological/physical development, not ours!

Dairy creates multiple GI issues

I remove all dairy from my patients’ eating plans. Through research, we know that dairy contributes heavily to intestinal permeability. This is holes in the gut that cause inflammation (AKA: Leaky Gut Syndrome).

I am a living testament to drinking milk with every meal and having a horrible GI-system growing up as a kid. Have you heard of Irritable Bowel Syndrome? That was me! The gassy kid with horrible allergies!

“Don’t sit near Corey, anyone. He is smelly.” Ugh . . . if I had a dollar for every time I heard that.

However, if you must drink milk, drink the brand of milk called A2. Why? Take a look at this article I wrote about eating pizza when you have a thyroid condition.

FREE EBOOK – 5 Secrets to Improving Your Energy


2. What Not to Eat: Gluten

Gluten free . . . that is such a fad!!!

Not a Fad, Not a Food

Not really! In the United States, our grain seeds have been altered and modified, so many times that our body can’t recognize them as, well . . . food!

Due to supply and demand, the seeds were altered to produce faster yielding crops, along with crops that are more resistant to bugs and insects.

The original seeds that our great, great grandparents planted, are not the same seeds that are planted today.

After running specialized lab tests on many patients through the years, I can tell you that gluten allergies/sensitivities are the real deal.

Your Body May Attack Itself

Check this out . . . if you have a thyroid condition and eat wheat, you may be making your condition worse. Why? Put on your thinking cap, here we go!!!

The molecular structure of wheat is almost identical to your thyroid gland’s tissue. This means if your immune system perceives wheat as a foreign invader (remember, the seeds have been modified to the point that they don’t resemble the real seed anymore), your body will destroy the wheat you consumed AND your thyroid tissue at the same time.

This is why all of my thyroid patients, including my wife, are not allowed to eat wheat.

You’re Eating Mold

Another interesting fact about grains is they may have mold on them when you eat ‘em! Yep, you heard that correctly! That flaky, buttery croissant that you ate for breakfast may have had mold in it.

I run a test that looks at mycotoxins (mold) in the body. One of the largest sources of mold in the body comes from food, specifically grains.

Have you ever driven past a farm and seen a few of those silos outside of the barn? Those silos are used to store grains, and sometimes those grains are stored up to two years.

During that time, mold begins to grow and unless thoroughly washed (a specialized process is needed to remove mold, and it can be expensive), you will consume that mold. Mold that is consumed will create inflammation of the gut! Ugh . . . more inflammation.

Interested in going gluten-free? What Are the REAL Benefits of a Gluten-Free Diet? Here’s Everything You Need to Know

3. What Not to Eat: Soy

Soy . . . the great milk/protein alternative . . . cough, cough!

Hardcore yogis, you may want to skip this section as I fear you may come running after me with a butcher knife! Ahh, that wouldn’t be very Zen of you, now would it?

Okay, go ahead and read this part. Just stay away from the kitchen utensils, please!

A Money-Making Scam

Many years ago, the food industry wanted to figure out what they could do with a cheap plant that produced this tiny, little, green bean – the soybean.

Well, since soy does contain protein (about 68 grams per cup), some “brilliant” minds got together to formulate a plan to make a lot of money off of this cheap, fast growing plant.

“Ah ha!!!! Let’s have people drink it, because it takes quite a bit of soybeans to make soy milk. More beans = more money!” *Side note, that is not a direct quote, just my inner capitalistic farmer voice*

One aspect of soy that was unknown at the time, and is still a controversial topic, is the fact that soy contains estrogen.

Harmful Estrogen

Have you heard about the rise of estrogen dominant cancers in the last few years? If you have, what sex predominantly develops these cancers? Women! Breast cancer and ovarian cancer have been on the rise, along with the health movement for finding alternatives for traditional dairy products and protein.

Is there a coincidence? Maybe! However, after running hundreds, if not thousands, of female hormone panels, I can tell you that those who use soy as a milk/protein substitute, tend to be the ones whose hormones are really “wonky” (real scientific, I know).

Have you heard of PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome)? The number one cause of infertility in women is caused by a shift in hormones. Notably, many of these women are converting the high amounts of estrogen they are consuming to testosterone, which is the cause of PCOS!

Sorry men, I am not leaving you out on purpose. You don’t want to eat estrogens because you may begin developing breasts (gynecomastia) and slowly start becoming more feminine.

A common symptom men share with me is that they feel more emotional, as if they can cry just by watching a commercial or sad movie, when that never happened before. So, I check their hormones and BAM . . . wonkiness!!!


Anything Else I Should Know About What Not to Eat for an Anti-Inflammatory Diet?

I could go on about the genetic mutations that limit a person’s body to break down histamine foods. Or, the specialized lab tests that determine if non-wheat grains are cross-reacting with your gut lining.

But, I would be complicating matters for this article.

Figuring out the exact foods to eat does come down to a science.

For simplicity’s sake, avoid the “Big 3” that have been shown to create the majority of health problems in chronically sick patients.

“But, Dr. King, I am not chronically sick!” Great! Let’s keep it that way.

Think of food as fuel. Think of your body as a Ferrari. Would you put cheap gasoline in a Ferrari? Of course not! Then, why would you put crappy food into your body that will do damage.

For the Best Anti-Inflammatory Diet, Eat These Anti-Inflammatory Foods:

So, which foods should you eat?

Reach for the Veggies!

I am a big believer in eating more low-starch veggies than any other food.

Vegetables help to alkaline the blood stream when they are broken down (along with some fruit). Did you know that cancer LOVES an acidic environment?

Go Easy on the Meat

Did you know that meat can contribute to this acidic environment?

I am not saying to become a vegan/vegetarian . . . some of the sickest patients I have worked with were vegans/vegetarians. But, I am saying there is a balance you must find.

I tend to encourage my patients to eat more fish (wild caught) than red meat (organic, grass-fed).

Have Fruit . . . But in Moderation

I am not big on fruit, due to the fact that so many people are walking around with an overabundance of candida in the GI-tract. If you are going to eat fruit, make sure it is a low glycemic fruit, preferably a pitted/seeded fruit.

Recognize That Everyone Is Different

I tend to base what my patients eat from the lab tests I run. Why?

Here is a great example: Patient “X” comes in to see me and we discover she has an autoimmune thyroid condition (Hashimoto’s Disease). I tell her to go home and eat the AIP (autoimmune paleo) Diet.

Patient “X,” who is extremely hopeful because she has a diagnosis, runs home and eats lean meats, lots of veggies and little fruit, BUT . . . ”X” feels worse.

Why? Because Patient “X” has a genetic mutation limiting their ability to break down histamine foods. Guess what foods are in the AIP diet? High histamine foods.

If I would have ran more testing, I would have figured this out, and prevented the patient from becoming worse.

The Takeaway on What to Eat and What Not to Eat for a Healthy, Anti-Inflammatory Diet

There is not an exact anti-inflammatory diet that works for everyone. You must tweak, modify and change what is being consumed to fit what works best for you.

If you can’t break down heavy protein meals, then you may sway toward more fish-based, vegetarian type meals.

If you run really hypoglycemic, you may want to focus more on protein-based meals. This could be plant-based protein or animal-based protein.

There is not one “diet” to eat that works for everyone.

If you are extremely deficient in B vitamins and good fats and have been taking supplements to raise your levels, but the levels are not budging, maybe your body will do better with more meats.

You see, there is not one “diet” to eat that works for everyone. We are all a little different and need someone to look at us that way.

Did you know yoga can help reduce inflammation?

Take this Yoga for Inflammation class on YA Classes.

Yoga Class
With Chelsea Ortega

All included information is not intended to treat or diagnose. The views expressed are those of the author and should be attributed solely to the author. For medical questions, please consult your healthcare provider.

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Dr. Corey King

Dr. Corey King, D.C., B.C.I.M. is a chiropractor and Board Certified Integrative Medicine specialist. After 12 years treating patients at his medicine and neurological practice in Southern California, he now works remotely with patients domestically and internationally. Dr. King has helped hundreds of patients find solutions for dealing with their autoimmune conditions. Visit his website for a free consultation.


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