10 Most Anti-Inflammatory Foods You Should Eat

Inflammation is a good thing when it's in balance. It helps your body to defend against injury and infection. But when inflammation becomes chronic, it can cause disease and weight gain.

Many things can trigger inflammation, including certain types of food, stress, and a sedentary lifestyle. According to some studies, however, eating the right types of foods can help get inflammation back in control.

The following 10 anti-inflammatory foods should be included in your diet.

1. Berries

Berries are full of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. There are many varieties but some of the more common include:

  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Blackberries

Anthocyanins are a type of antioxidant contained in berries. They are compounds with anti-inflammatory benefits that can reduce the possibility of disease.

Your body produces NK cells, which also help with the function of the immune system.

One study that followed men who consumed daily blueberries produced more NK cells than men who didn't1.

Another study showed that overweight women and men who ate strawberries had less inflammatory markers that are commonly associated with heart disease2.

2. Fatty Fish

If you want a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, you can include fatty fish in your diet.

Any type of fish will contain some omega-3 fatty acids but these are the best sources:

  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Hearing
  • Mackerel
  • Anchovies

DHA and EPA are anti-inflammatory and by reducing inflammation, they help to reduce the possibility of heart disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and kidney disease.

When your body metabolizes fatty acids it creates compounds known as resolvins and protectins. These are also anti-inflammatory.

3. Broccoli

Broccoli is a very nutritious cruciferous vegetable, similar to Brussel sprouts, kale, and cauliflower.

According to some research, including plenty of cruciferous vegetables in your diet can decrease your risk of cancer and heart disease3.

This may be associated with anti-inflammatory effects because they contain healthy antioxidants.

One antioxidant in broccoli is sulforaphane. It reduces your level of cytokines and NF-KB, which cause inflammation.

4. Avocados

You can consider avocado to be a superfood. They contain plenty of magnesium, potassium, fiber, and monounsaturated fats.

Avocados also contain carotenoids and tocopherols, which have been shown to potentially reduce cancer risk.

Young skin cells may also experience a reduction in inflammation thanks to one compound found in avocado.

When people ate a slice of avocado with a hamburger, a study showed that they had lower levels of certain anti-inflammatory markers compared to those who only ate a hamburger4.

5. Green Tea

Most people recognize that green tea is a healthy beverage because it reduces your risk of cancer, Alzheimer's disease, heart disease, obesity, and other issues5.

Primarily, green tea is beneficial because it contains anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants, especially a substance that is known as epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG).

EGCG reduces inflammation by cutting back on pro-inflammatory production of cytokine and damage that could occur to cellular fatty acids.

6. Peppers

You can get a daily dose of vitamin C and antioxidants along anti-inflammatory benefits when you eat chili peppers and bell peppers.

The antioxidant quercetin is found in bell peppers and it can reduce oxidative damage when you have an inflammatory disease known as sarcoidosis.

You will find both sinapic acid and ferulic acid in chili peppers, and they can reduce inflammation and the effects of aging.

7. Mushrooms

There are literally thousands of varieties of mushrooms but you can only eat a few and even fewer are grown commercially.

Some of the types of mushrooms that are edible include truffles, portobello mushrooms, and shiitake.

Although mushrooms are a low-calorie food, they have a high level of copper, loads of B vitamins and selenium.

You also get plenty of antioxidants to reduce inflammation in the body when you eat mushrooms.

If you eat Lion's mane, a particular type of mushroom, it may assist in reducing low-grade inflammation associated with obesity.

According to at least one study, however, cooking mushrooms can have a negative effect on the anti-inflammatory compounds they contain6. It may be best to eat them slightly cooked or raw.

8. Grapes

Anthocyanins can reduce inflammation and they are found in grapes.

Along with reducing inflammation, grapes can reduce your risk for certain diseases including diabetes, obesity, heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, and some eye disorders7.

Most people have heard of resveratrol, which is a compound with multiple health benefits found in grapes.

One study showed that people who consumed a daily grape extract and also had heart disease experienced a reduction in certain inflammatory gene markers, such as NF-kB8.

In addition to those benefits, the levels of adiponectin increased, so it may help to reduce cancer risks or risk of weight gain.

9. Turmeric

More than likely, you have turmeric in your kitchen. It has an earthy flavor and is often used in curries.

People have been talking about the anti-inflammatory benefits of turmeric for a long time, and there are a number of studies to back up its benefits9.

In one study, a gram of curcumin daily combined with piperine (black pepper) decreased CRP, an inflammatory marker seen in metabolic syndrome10.

You can also take turmeric as a supplement. Our Organic Turmeric supplement includes Ginger and BioPerine black pepper extract, which has been shown to significantly improve the absorption of turmeric.

10. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

This is one of the healthiest fats you can consume. It is often found in the Mediterranean diet that is known for its health benefits. You will have a hard time finding a healthy oil that has as many monounsaturated fats.

Many studies show that olive oil leads to a reduced risk of heart disease, brain cancer, and other serious health concerns11.

One diet study that followed the Mediterranean diet showed CRP and other inflammatory markers decreased significantly when people consumed 1.7 ounces of daily olive oil12.

One of the antioxidants found in olive oil, oleocanthal has been compared to ibuprofen and other anti-inflammatory drugs.

The anti-inflammatory benefits seen with extra virgin olive oil are much greater than what you would find in a refined oil.

What is the bottom line?

Even if you have low levels of inflammation, it can cause disease. Eating the right types of foods that contain lots of antioxidants can help to keep your inflammation at acceptable levels.

1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22111516, Effect of blueberry ingestion on natural killer cell counts, oxidative stress, and inflammation prior to and after 2.5 h of running, 2011 Dec;36(6):976-84. doi: 10.1139/h11-120. Epub 2011 Nov 23
2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21242652, Attenuation of meal-induced inflammatory and thrombotic responses in overweight men and women after 6-week daily strawberry (Fragaria) intake. A randomized placebo-controlled trial, 2011;18(4):318-27. Epub 2011 Jan 13
3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21593509, Cruciferous vegetable consumption is associated with a reduced risk of total and cardiovascular disease mortality, 2011 Jul;94(1):240-6. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.110.009340. Epub 2011 May 18
4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23196671, Hass avocado modulates postprandial vascular reactivity and postprandial inflammatory responses to a hamburger meal in healthy volunteers, 2013 Feb 26;4(3):384-91. doi: 10.1039/c2fo30226h
5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20370896, Beneficial effects of green tea: a literature review, 2010 Apr 6;5:13. doi: 10.1186/1749-8546-5-13
6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24262531, Anti-inflammatory effects of five commercially available mushroom species determined in lipopolysaccharide and interferon-γ activated murine macrophages, 2014 Apr 1;148:92-6. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2013.10.015. Epub 2013 Oct 14
7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20231522, Whole grape intake impacts cardiac peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor and nuclear factor kappaB activity and cytokine expression in rats with diastolic dysfunction, 2010 May;55(5):1179-85. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.109.149393. Epub 2010 Mar 15
8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23224687, Grape resveratrol increases serum adiponectin and downregulates inflammatory genes in peripheral blood mononuclear cells: a triple-blind, placebo-controlled, one-year clinical trial in patients with stable coronary artery disease, 2013 Feb;27(1):37-48. doi: 10.1007/s10557-012-6427-8
9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17569207, Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin, 2007;595:105-25
10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23150126, Influence of red pepper spice and turmeric on inflammation and oxidative stress biomarkers in overweight females: a metabolomics approach, 2012 Dec;67(4):415-21. doi: 10.1007/s11130-012-0325-x
11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26055507, Protective role of oleic acid against cardiovascular insulin resistance and in the early and late cellular atherosclerotic process, 2015 Jun 10;14:75. doi: 10.1186/s12933-015-0237-9
12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24925270, The effects of the mediterranean diet on biomarkers of vascular wall inflammation and plaque vulnerability in subjects with high risk for cardiovascular disease. A randomized trial, 2014 Jun 12;9(6):e100084. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0100084. eCollection 2014