Top 10 Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Inflammation is one of the main tools used by the body to fight illness and disease.  In most cases, inflammation is a natural part of the healing process.

However, some chronic medical conditions cause the body to have an overly inflammatory response.  One of the best measures you can take to reduce unnecessary inflammation is to eat a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods. 

Here are 10 of the best anti-inflammatory foods to add to your next shopping list!

 

Avocados

In one study, avocados were shown to reduce inflammation in skin cells.  Avocados are also packed with heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, magnesium, fiber, and potassium. 

 

Beets

Beets contain betalain, a pigment that gives them a deep purple color and provides anti-inflammatory benefits.  In addition to its anti-inflammatory benefits, some studies have shown a link between regular consumption of beet juice and lower risk for dementia.

 

Cherries

Both tart and sweet cherries are some of the best foods for reducing inflammation, especially for people with gout.  They are rich in antioxidants like anthocyanins and catechins.

 

Fatty Fish

Salmon, tuna, sardines, anchovies, and herring contain high amounts of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which provide anti-inflammatory benefits to the body. 

 

Chia Seeds

Chia seeds, which can be found in the organic/health food aisle of the grocery store, are a rich source of plant-based protein and omega-3 fatty acids.  A great way to eat chia seeds is to add a spoonful to a smoothie before blending. 

 

Tumeric

A spice with a bright yellow color common to middle-eastern and Indian cuisines, turmeric has many anti-inflammatory benefits.  Curcumin, the chemical that provides the spice’s rich color, can help combat against inflammation and boosts your immune system. 

 

Broccoli

The cruciferous veggie supplies potent antioxidants, including sulforaphane. The antioxidant has shown to fight inflammation by reducing levels of cytokines, signaling proteins shown to synergize inflammation. Research has also shown consuming cruciferous vegetables, including cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, is associated with a decreased risk of both heart disease and cancer.

 

Peppers

Both bell peppers and chili peppers are loaded with vitamin C and antioxidants with powerful anti-inflammatory effects.  Chili peppers, in particular, contain sinapic acid and ferulic acid, which can reduce inflammation and may even lead to healthier aging. 

 

Leafy Greens

Leafy greens (mixed greens, romaine lettuce, spinach, kale, etc.) are probably the most nutrient-packed foods you can eat.  They are high in vitamin A, C, and K, all of which have anti-inflammatory properties.   Anti-inflammatory leafy greens do not include iceberg lettuce, which has very little nutritional value.

 

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Extra virgin olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fats and oleocanthol, which has been found to have similar anti-inflammatory effects to ibuprofen.  These anti-inflammatory benefits can reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.