Home » Diet and Nutrition News & Advice » 8 Best Anti-Inflammatory Foods

8 Best Anti-Inflammatory Foods

To a certain degree, inflammation is necessary for helping the body to combat infection and respond to injury. But nowadays the vast majority of people suffer from chronic inflammation, brought on by too much stress, a sedentary lifestyle, and a diet filled with processed foods.

And if it persists over time, can lead to serious diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s. Thankfully, chronic inflammation can oftentimes be managed just by adding more of the following eight anti-inflammatory foods into a person’s diet.

1. Olive Oil

According to Prevention, olive oil contains plenty of polyphenols, which “provide both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits.” One such polyphenol is called oleocanthal, and has been found to “inhibits inflammatory enzymes in the same way that ibuprofen does,” says Reader’s Digest.

In addition to its anti-inflammatory benefits, olive oil—specifically the extra virgin variety—is considered to be a very heart-healthy fat. This is due to its high oleic acid content, which Prevention indicates “has been found to help lower blood pressure, reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol, and increase HDL (good) cholesterol.”

2. Green Leafy Vegetables

You can add ‘fights inflammation’ to the list of reasons to eat more green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and Swiss chard. These foods are rich sources of vitamin E, which Health.com says “may be key in protecting the body against pro-inflammatory molecules called cytokines.”

Although not as leafy, broccoli is another green with powerful anti-inflammatory properties. According to Healthline.com, broccoli is a valuable source of sulforaphane, “an antioxidant that fights inflammation by reducing your levels of cytokines and NF-kB, which drive inflammation.”

3. Nuts

Not only are nuts and seeds rich sources of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, but they also contain plenty of anti-inflammatory properties. Walnuts, for example, are high in rare antioxidants like juglone, which “help scavenge and neutralize rogue pro-inflammatory free radicals,” says Ann Kulze, M.D., in speaking with Men’s Fitness.

When it comes to seeds, Dr. Axe says, “Chia are an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory powerhouse.” They contain myriad vitamins and minerals, as well as essential fatty acids like alpha-linolenic and linoleic acid, making them able to “reverse inflammation, regulate cholesterol and lower blood pressure.”

4. Fatty Fish

Fatty fish—such as salmon, sardines, anchovies, and herring—are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which the Arthritis Foundation says “reduce C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-6, two inflammatory proteins in your body.”

The omega-3s in fatty fish can also help to reduce the pain associated with inflammation. According to Reader’s Digest, a study out of the University of Pittsburgh found that “people with back and neck pain who took omega-3 fatty acids in supplement form for three months had less pain overall.” To achieve these benefits, the source recommends eating fatty fish twice per week, as well as taking an omega-3 supplement.

5. Fruit

When it comes to fruits with anti-inflammatory properties, there are plenty to enjoy! Berries like strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries are rich in antioxidants called anthocyanins, which Healthline.com says “have anti-inflammatory effects that may reduce the risk of disease.”

Both the flesh and rind of citrus fruits—such as orange, grapefruits, lemons, and limes—are beneficial because as well due to their flavonoids, which Prevention indicates “neutralize free radicals, potentially preventing the growth of cancer cells.” Also, in pineapple, the enzyme bromelain has been found to reduce inflammation and pain in people with knee osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and carpal tunnel syndrome.

6. Tomatoes

In addition to being an excellent source of vitamin C and potassium, tomatoes are also rich in the antioxidant lycopene, which Healthline.com says has “impressive anti-inflammatory properties.”

Particularly, the source indicates it may be beneficial for “reducing pro-inflammatory compounds related to several types of cancer.” But to maximize their anti-inflammatory benefits, Health.com says that eating them cooked (such as in tomato sauce) is better than raw.

7. Garlic and Onions

Not only do garlic and onions pack a flavor punch, but they’ve also been dubbed “anti-inflammatory superstars”—and for good reason. Garlic, Health.com explains, contains organosulfur compounds, which “may lower the production of substances in the blood that boost inflammation.” It is most beneficial when eaten raw, however, so try adding it to salads, salsas, or guacamole.

And onions contain the flavonoid quercetin, which the source says “helps inhibit inflammation-causing agents at play in arthritis,” especially in red onions, yellow onions, and shallots.

8. Herbs and Spices

Certain herbs and spices also help to combat chronic inflammation. Turmeric, for instance, contains a substance called curcumin, which Health.com says “helps to turn off NF-kappa B, a compound that’s integral to triggering the process of inflammation.”

And turmeric’s cousin ginger has been used to reduce inflammation for thousands of years. Whether consumed fresh, dried, or as a supplement, Dr. Axe says “ginger is so effective at warming the body, it can help break down the accumulation of toxins in your organs,” in addition to cleansing the body’s lymphatic system.


We Recommend

More on ActiveBeat

  • Arthritis Diet: 7 Worst Foods to Eat
    Arthritis is a general term used to describe a variety of conditions that are primarily characterized by joint pain and inflammation.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • 13 Foods that Naturally Boost Collagen Production
    There’s a lot of buzz around collagen in the beauty world right now. A structural protein, collagen is found throughout the body in the muscles, bones, and tendons.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • 8 Foods That Are Rich Sources of Folate
    Also known as vitamin B9, folate is an essential nutrient that, among several other functions, helps the body with the production and regeneration of cells.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • Gastritis Diet: Foods to Eat and Foods to Avoid
    A condition that involves the inflammation, irritation or erosion of the stomach lining, gastritis can occur suddenly or gradually as a result of many different factors.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • 6 Best Foods to Fight Osteoarthritis
    Osteoarthritis is actually the most common chronic joint problem, caused in part by wear and tear that reduces joint cushioning and cartilage, leading to pain and stiffness.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • Video: Diving into Deep Breathing for Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients
    For patients living with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), the management of daily energy can be extremely challenging.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • 7 Tricky Ways to Get Your Kids to Eat More Vegetables
    Telling your kids to eat something "because it's good for you" doesn't always fly. In fact, as a parent, you know it can have the opposite effect in some cases.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • 10 Ways to Enjoy Hot Tea Month in January
    It's cold outside in many parts of the world, so perhaps tea is already a cozy part of your daily regimen. Thankfully, January is National Hot Tea Month, in Canada and the U.S.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • Video: Feeling the Energy of Gratitude for Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients
    For patients living with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), the emotions associated with the daily management of energy can create feelings of anger, frustration, and isolation.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • 8 Fake "Health" Foods to Avoid
    New Year's resolutions bring commitments to get fit and be healthy, and that means eating better.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • Video: Energy Refresh for Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients
    For patients living with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), daily energy management can be very challenging.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • 9 Health Benefits and Risks of Grapefruit
    Recently I learned that I may be one of the few lovers of grapefruit. I'm exaggerating of course, but many are turned off at the tart taste of this bold citrus fruit.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • 6 Clear Signs of Zinc Deficiency
    Of all the essential minerals, we're perhaps the least familiar with zinc, the element required to keep your immune system and cell devision running smoothly.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • 6 Things a Gluten Free Diet Isn't
    If you venture to the grocery store, bagel shop, or bakery in this day and age, chances are you've come across a myriad of products with a "gluten-free" label smacked on the...
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • 6 Negative Health Effects of Eating Too Much Protein
    So we're all aware of how essential protein is—according to WebMD.com the body utilizes protein to repair and built tissues (i.e.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice