“A high-fiber diet has been shown to lower levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation that your doctor can test for,” Ansel says. “The trouble is, most of us don’t get half the fiber we need, so working it in at every meal is key. With five grams of fiber per cooked cup, tossing quinoa into chili or serving it instead of lower fiber grains like brown rice can help keep inflammation at bay.” Plus, just half a cup of cooked quinoa contains 4g of protein and 3g of fiber, so it’s a nutritional win-win.
“Blueberries provide polyphenols called anthocyanins, which have antioxidant properties and anti-inflammatory effects,” says Paulina Lee, MSHS, R.D., L.D., a functional gut health dietician. For a cost-effective choice, opt for frozen blueberries and fold them into yogurt, oatmeal, or chia pudding (just let them defrost beforehand, obviously).
3 Almonds and other tree nuts
Some studies suggest that tree nuts—a group that includes almonds, cashews, walnuts, pistachios, and Brazil nuts—can fight inflammation. Plus, “research reveals that pecans may protect against inflammation in your arteries, potentially due to polyphenols,” Ansel says. Add nuts to your salad, sprinkle some over Greek yogurt, or eat them whole.
“Fatty fish are loaded with omega-3 fats,” Ansel says. According to the Mayo Clinic, regularly eating omega-3s can reduce your risk of developing heart disease and high blood pressure, and fish oil is associated with anti-inflammatory effects.
“Ounce-per-ounce, sardines contain more omega-3s than some varieties of salmon,” Ansel says. If you don’t want to eat them straight from the can, add them to a pasta dish or serving them on toast, Danish-style.
Salmon is another food high in omega-3 fats. Sear it in a pan with olive oil and vegetables for an easy, healthy, inflammation-fighting meal.
Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin that has anti-inflammatory properties. Sprinkle turmeric over roasted veggies, add a curry powder containing turmeric to soups, or try it over scrambled eggs.
Research indicates that a high-fiber diet may lower inflammation. A single serving of oatmeal contains about four grams of fiber.
Multiple studies support the theory that a Mediterranean diet may help lower inflammation. Legumes such as lentils are a staple in the Mediterranean diet and are rich in protein and fiber, too.
9 Olive oil
Olive oil is another major part of the Mediterranean diet. According to Harvard Health, E.V.O.O.’s anti-inflammatory properties lie in its antioxidants—including one called oleocanthal, which may have an ibuprofen-like effect, according to one study.
Leafy greens like kale are rich in antioxidants and should be included in any anti-inflammatory diet, according to Harvard Health.
Ginger contains gingerol, a powerful disease-fighting phenolic compound with antioxidant properties, found in the rhizome’s natural oils. Research has found gingerol to have anti-inflammatory benefits.
Is there anything this heart-healthy-fats-loaded, fiber-rich, tasty fruit can’t do? “Eating avocados helps our healthy gut bacteria make short-chain fatty acids, or SCFAs, which can decrease inflammation and keep oxidative stress at bay,” says Lee.
13 Fresh pineapple
What makes pineapple such an anti-inflammatory star? Bromelain. “Bromelain is a proteolytic enzyme, or protease—meaning it digests protein foods,” says Robert Iafelice, M.S., R.D.N., nutrition expert at SetForSet. (For example, pineapple juice in a marinade can tenderize meat). “When pineapple is eaten without protein foods, the bromelain gets into the bloodstream and exerts an anti-inflammatory effect throughout the body.”
Fresh papaya contains another proteolytic enzyme known as papain, says Iafelice. “Papain is another common meat tenderizer. But, when eating papaya alone, the papain—like bromelain—enters the circulation and lowers systemic inflammation,” he explains. Try papaya over oatmeal, or atop your favorite chia seed pudding recipe.
Kim Kulp, R.D.N., is a fan of this visually-pleasing plant. “This fun-to-eat vegetable is packed with polyphenols, a powerful antioxidant that protects cells from damage,” says Kulp, adding that they’re also a great source of inulin, a prebiotic, which feeds good microbes so they can create compounds that decrease inflammation.
16 Ground flaxseeds
“Flaxseeds are an excellent source of dietary fiber, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids—helping to lower inflammation, LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol, and blood sugar,” Kelsey Costa, M.S., R.D.N., says.
“Studies have found that daily flaxseed supplementation can reduce C-reactive protein and balance pro- and anti-inflammatory molecules, contributing to healthy aging and providing an overall anti-inflammatory effect,” she says, noting that they’re best absorbed when ground.
Another nutrient-dense berry worth incorporating into your daily routine. “A randomized control trial tested raspberry consumption after meals to reduce inflammation and glucose levels in adults with type II diabetes,” says Jenna Stedman, M.S., R.D., C.S.S.D., creator of MasterNutritionLab.com, noting that scientists found that raspberries did help.
18 Broccoli sprouts
Like other cruciferous vegetables, broccoli sprouts contain sulforaphane, a compound that has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties, says Lee. “One study showed that eating broccoli sprouts reduced several inflammatory markers in overweight individuals,” she says, adding that they’re easy to grow at home and perfect for adding to salads and sandwiches.
19 Virgin coconut oil
As Iafelice explains, coconut oil is a rich source of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), a type of fat that’s burned quickly and isn’t stored in the body. “The MCTs in the coconut oil are metabolized in the liver into ketones,” he says, explaining that ketones are powerful anti-inflammatory molecules. “The major ketone—beta-hydroxybutyrate, or BHB—has been shown to block a major hub of inflammation in the body known as the NLRP3 inflammasome.” You can go the bulletproof coffee route and add coconut oil to your coffee, or add it to your favorite protein shake recipe.
One of the great joys of summer, “tomatoes are packed with plant nutrients including carotenoids, and flavonoids,” says Kulp. “These work as cell-protecting antioxidants, and have been shown to decrease a marker of inflammation called tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-a).”
“Kimchi possesses anti-inflammatory potential due to the probiotics, or live bacteria, that are beneficial to a healthy gut microbiome,” says Lee, adding that eating a variety of probiotic foods daily can diversify your gut bacteria, and may decrease gut inflammation. Try it as a side dish, or in soups, stir-fries, or scrambled eggs.
22 Red beets
Fresh, roasted, or pickled, “red beets contain loads of polyphenols, which are known to have a high antioxidant effect and radical-scavenging capacity that may aid in reducing inflammation,” says Lee. Beets are another source of prebiotic fiber, she adds, aiding the gut’s production of those inflammation-decreasing short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs).
Choose either fresh or powdered, and you’ll benefit. “A meta-analysis of 16 trials looked at garlic doses ranging from 12 to 3,600 mg per day, and consuming those doses from two-to-52 weeks,” says Stedman. “They found that eating garlic in any amount can improve inflammation levels.”
Is anything more refreshing than a handful of frozen grapes? Your body’s cells will thank you, too. “Grapes are rich in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients,” Costa says. “Research suggests that grapes can reduce inflammation, protect against oxidative stress, reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and even inhibit cancer cell growth.” Costa notes that Concord and purple grapes are especially rich in antioxidants.
Kefir is another great choice from the wonderful world of fermented foods. “One study showed that kefir notably improved oxidative stress and appeared to inhibit inflammation,” says Lee. Probiotics may also decrease gut-associated inflammatory signaling, she adds, which contributes to inflammation.
Like ginger, “rosemary contains phenolic compounds that have been found in several studies to have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties,” she says. Lee recommends using rosemary to season proteins or roasted vegetables.
27 Greek yogurt
We’re talking about the unsweetened plain version of Greek yogurt, folks (feel free to add fruits and spices like cinnamon, and a touch of real honey). “When it comes to a healthy gut, it’s the diversity of different gut microbes that really counts,” says Kulp. “Fermented foods like Greek yogurt have been shown to increase the variety of microbes in the gut, which can reduce inflammation, and the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.”
“A 2020 meta-analysis found that pomegranate can significantly reduce some inflammatory biomarkers,” says Stedman. Sprinkle its seeds over oatmeal.
29 Green tea
While technically not a food, Costa says that green tea a powerful anti-inflammatory agent—so it rightfully deserves a spot on this list. “Research suggests that daily consumption can help reduce inflammation,” she explains. Swap a daily cup of coffee for hot- or cold-brewed green tea.
30 Matcha tea
Matcha green tea is exceptionally high in antioxidants, says Costa: It may contain up to 137 times the amount of epigallocatechin gallate (ECCG) found in traditional Chinese green tea, per a study published in the Journal of Chromatography. ECCG is a type of catechin, a plant-based compound that helps protect cells from free-radical damage.
This wellness article comes from our friends at Men’s Health. (original article linked below)
30 Best Anti-Inflammatory Foods – Foods That Fight Inflammation (menshealth.com)