What is inflammation? Inflammation is the body’s way of protecting itself from harmful substances such as toxins, infections, and injuries. As it tries to heal itself, the body’s immune system kicks in and releases proteins and antibodies to repair the damage. With acute inflammation, this process can last for a few days.1
With chronic inflammation, the immune system continues with the response over a long period of time. This can lead to health conditions that are caused or exacerbated by inflammation. Chronic inflammation may be linked to Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, depression, diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.2
Some of the symptoms of chronic inflammation include:1
- fatigue and insomnia
- abdominal pain
- fever and infection
- chest pain
- mouth sores and rashes
- gastrointestinal issues, such as acid reflux and diarrhea
- weight gain
One of the treatments of chronic inflammation is to eat foods that are considered to be anti-inflammatory. These foods can help to reduce inflammation and pain.
Continue reading to find out which are the best anti-inflammatory foods to add to your diet as well as those foods that you should avoid to reduce inflammation.
Anti-Inflammatory Foods List
To reduce inflammation, consider eating a less processed diet and include foods on this list that may help to reduce chronic inflammation:
Berries, such as blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries are known for their antioxidant properties. They also contain polyphenols such as anthocyanins, which studies show may reduce inflammation.3
Broccoli contains high amounts of sulforaphane, an antioxidant that has been studied for its anti-inflammatory properties.4
3. Green Tea
Green tea is rich in epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a component that may be effective in reducing inflammation.5
Turmeric is a spice that has been used for its medicinal properties in both eastern and western medicines. It contains high amounts of curcumin, a nutrient known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Studies also show that turmeric is highly effective in treating the symptoms of arthritis.6
Not only are mushrooms high in B vitamins and selenium, they also contain anti-inflammatory components, such as phenolic and polysaccharides. Research results show that mushrooms may be effective in the therapeutic treatment of diseases that are associated with inflammation.7
Grapes contain polyphenols such as flavans and anthocyanins that may help to reduce inflammation as well as treat oxidative stress. Grapes may also treat low-grade inflammation that is linked to the ageing process.8
7. Red Peppers
Red peppers are known to contain phytochemicals. Studies indicate that these phytochemicals may inhibit the inflammation process. Peppers also contain high levels of vitamin C, an antioxidant which may also help to reduce inflammation.9
Cherries are high in antioxidants such as catechins and anthocyanins, which may reduce inflammation. Research done on tart cherries indicate that the polyphenols in the fruit not only decrease inflammation, they may also help to reduce oxidative stress.10
These anti-inflammatory foods are best paired with a healthy lifestyle that includes plenty of water, recommended supplements (like multi-vitamins, or testosterone support products), as well as exercise (like bicep workouts or even water aerobics) and of course lots of sleep.
Where To Get Natural Inflammatory Foods
If you’re considering adding more anti-inflammatory foods to your diet, you’ll be able to purchase these natural foods from any grocery store. Unlike many other naturopathic treatments for health issues, the anti-inflammatory foods on this list are readily available without having to shop at health food or specialty stores.
Non Anti-Inflammatory Foods To Avoid
Just at there anti-inflammatory foods to add to your diet to reduce inflammation, there are also foods to avoid. These non anti-inflammatory foods to avoid include:11
- Processed meats, such as cold cuts and hotdogs.
- Sweets and desserts.
- Refined grains, which can quickly raise insulin levels and blood glucose.
- High-fat meals which raise triglycerides and glucose levels.
- Fried foods, which contain high levels of trans-fats.
- Excess alcohol.
Research indicates that eliminating some or all of these foods from your diet may significantly reduce inflammation. Further studies show that eating a vegetarian diet may help in the long-term management of inflammation.2,12
- 1Pahwa, R. & Jialal, I. (2019). Chronic Inflammation. StatPearls. Retrieved on June 25, 2019 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK493173/
- 2Minihane, AM. & Vinoy, S. (2015). Low-grade inflammation, diet composition and health: current research evidence and its translation. Br J Nutr. 114(7): 999-1012. Retrieved on June 25, 2019 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4579563/
- 3Joseph, SV. & Edirisinghe, I. (2014). Berries: anti-inflammatory effects in humans. J Agric Food Chem. 62(18): 3886-903. Retrieved on June 25, 2019 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24512603
- 4Hwang, JH. & Lim, SB. (2014). Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory Activities of Broccoli Florets in LPS-stimulated RAW 264.7 Cells. Prev Nutr Food Sci. 19(2): 89-97. Retrieved on June 25, 2019 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4103733/
- 5Ohishi, T. & Goto, S. (2016). Anti-inflammatory Action of Green Tea. Antiinflamm Antiallergy Agents Med Chem. 15(2): 74-90. Retrieved on June 25, 2019 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27634207
- 6Daily, JW. & Yang, M. (2016). Efficacy of Turmeric Extracts and Curcumin for Alleviating the Symptoms of Joint Arthritis: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials. J Med Food. 19(8): 717-729. Retrieved on June 25, 2019 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5003001/
- 7Muszynska, B. & Grzywacz-Kisielewska, A. (2018). Anti-inflammatory properties of edible mushrooms: A review. Food Chem. 243: 373-381. Retrieved on June 25, 2019 fromhttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29146352
- 8Petersen, KS. & Smith, C. (2016). Ageing-Associated Oxidative Stress and Inflammation Are Alleviated by Products from Grapes. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2016: 6236309. Retrieved on June 25, 2019 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4789514/
- 9Spiller, F. & Alves, MK. (2008). Anti-inflammatory effects of red pepper (Capsicum baccatum) on carrageenan- and antigen-induced inflammation. J Pharm Pharmacol. 60(4): 473-8. Retrieved on June 25, 2019 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18380920
- 10Shukitt-Hale, B. & Kelly, ME. (2016). Tart Cherry Extracts Reduce Inflammatory and Oxidative Stress Signaling in Microglial Cells. Antioxidants (Basel), 5(4): 33. Retrieved on June 25, 2019 from
- 11Kiecolt-Glaser, JK. (2010). Stress, Food, and Inflammation: Psychoneuroimmunology and Nutrition at the Cutting Edge. Psychosom Med. 72(4): 365-369. Retrieved on June 25, 2019 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5187531/
- 12Haghighatoost, F. & Bellissimo, N. (2017). Association of vegetarian diet with inflammatory biomarkers: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. Public Health Nutr. 20(15): 2713-2721. Retrieved on June 25, 2019 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28836492