Best Anti-inflammatory Foods for your Diet
Best anti-inflammatory foods? That’s what we’ll examine in today’s article.
Inflammation isn’t entirely good, and neither is it entirely bad.
On one hand, inflammation activates your body’s defense mechanism against injury and infections. And on the other hand, inflammation in its chronic form can cause disease and weight gain (1).
The risk is increased by inflammatory foods, stress, and a sedentary lifestyle.
But then, several pieces of research show that there are foods that have anti-inflammatory properties. These foods can fight inflammation. Here are some of the best anti-inflammatory foods for your diet.
Berries are loaded with minerals, fiber, and vitamins.
Even though there may be dozens of varieties of berries, the major ones include:
The human body produces cells that maintain immune function. These cells are known as natural killer cells.
In a particular study involving male subjects, those who ate blueberries daily had more natural killer cells in their immune system compared to those who did not (5).
This proves beyond doubt that berries are good anti-inflammatory foods.
Fatty fish contain a lot of protein. They are a unique source of EPA and DHA, both long-chain omega-3 fatty acids.
Although there’s some omega-3 fatty acid in all kinds of fish, these fatty fish appear to be the best sources:
These fatty acids are metabolized by the body into resolvins and protectins. These two are anti-inflammatory compounds (10).
Another study, however, showed that people who had irregular heartbeats and who took DHA and EPA regularly experienced no difference in inflammatory markers, compared with those who took a placebo (13).
Broccoli is very nutritious and is a good example of anti-inflammatory foods.
Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable. Other vegetables in this category include kale, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower.
This may be due to the anti-inflammatory effects of the antioxidants contained in them.
Avocado is a superfood in the true sense of the word.
They contain lots of magnesium, potassium, fiber, and monounsaturated fats.
Also, a compound in avocados may reduce inflammation in skin cells (22).
In a particular study, subjects who took a slice of avocado with hamburger had low levels of NF-kB and IL-6, compared with subjects who ate only hamburgers (23).
You may have heard that green tea is a healthy beverage drink. Of course, it is.
Most benefits of green tea are due to its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. Its most active compound is a substance known as epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG).
Green tea is available for purchase online.
Peppers are good anti-inflammatory foods.
Bell peppers contain quercetin. Quercetin is an antioxidant that may reduce a marker of oxidative damage in sarcoidosis patients. Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory disease (31).
There are many varieties of mushrooms globally. But then, very few are edible and cultivated in commercial quantities.
The edible varieties include shiitake and Portobello mushrooms.
Mushrooms are rich in copper, B vitamins, and selenium, but low in calories.
Lion’s mane, a special type of mushroom has the potential to reduce inflammation due to obesity (36).
Another study found that mushrooms, when cooked, lose their anti-inflammatory compounds. So, the best way to eat them is either raw or slightly cooked (37).
Grapes are rich in anthocyanins, which reduce inflammation.
Grapes contain a lot of resveratrol, a compound with healthy benefits.
In a particular study, heart disease patients who took grape extract daily experienced a reduction in NF-kB and other inflammatory gene markers (43).
Also, the patients had an increased adiponectin level. Low levels of adiponectin are associated with a high risk of cancer and weight gain (44).
Turmeric is a spice well-known for its strong, earthy flavor. It is used in curries and other Indian cuisines.
Turmeric has received much attention for its curcumin, a potent anti-inflammatory nutrient.
It is worth noting that a gram of curcumin taken daily with piperine (a component of black pepper) caused a drastic decrease in CRP, an inflammatory marker (50).
However, it may be difficult to get an adequate amount of curcumin from just curcumin.
In a particular study, overweight women who took a daily dose of 2.8g of turmeric showed no improvement in inflammatory markers (51).
Takin curcumin supplements is much better and more effective. A combined curcumin and piperine supplement can boost the absorption of curcumin by 2000% (52).
Curcumin is a unique cooking ingredient. If you’d like to use it, walk into the grocery store closest to you, or you can buy it online.
Extra virgin olive oil
There’s no fat as healthy as extra virgin olive oil.
They contain a lot of monounsaturated fats and are a major ingredient in the Mediterranean diet.
In a study of the Mediterranean diet, C-reactive protein and other markers of inflammation were drastically reduced in people who took at least 50ml of olive oil daily (57).
Olive oil contains oleocanthal. Oleocanthal is an antioxidant whose functions are similar to ibuprofen (58).
It is worth noting that extra virgin olive oil has much more anti-inflammatory benefits than that provided by refined olive oils (59).
Extra virgin olive oil is widely available at grocery stores. You can also purchase it online.
Cocoa and dark chocolate
Dark chocolate is rich, delicious, and satisfying.
In a particular study, smokers experienced improved endothelial functions within two hours of eating flavanol-rich chocolate (65).
When buying dark chocolate, choose the brand with 70% cocoa. A higher percentage has much more anti-inflammatory benefits.
If you didn’t remember to buy this treat on your last visit to the store, you don’t have to worry. It is available for purchase online.
Chronic inflammation always leads to disease.
You can check inflammation by filling your diet with foods that are rich in antioxidants. Dark chocolate, peppers, extra virgin olive oil, and fish are some of the foods that can fight inflammation and keep you free from diseases.
Tonika Bruce, MSN, RN, MBA. is an accomplished nurse leader, published author, and personal development expert passionate about advancing healthcare management and quality patient outcomes.
She taps into the years of experience in healthcare management to produce credible and easy-to-understand health and leadership content. Her exceptional work has been featured in reputable publications, including Forbes, Recruiter, Inc, and the Color of Wellness magazine.