Inflammation helps the body fight illness and can protect it from harm. In most cases, it is a necessary part of the healing process.
However, some people have a medical condition in which the immune system does not work as it should. This malfunction can lead to persistent or recurrent low level inflammation.
Chronic inflammation occurs with various diseases, such as psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, and asthma. There is evidence that dietary choices may help manage the symptoms.
An anti-inflammatory diet favors fruits and vegetables, foods containing omega-3 fatty acids, whole grains, lean protein, healthful fats, and spices. It discourages or limits the consumption of processed foods, red meats, and alcohol.
The anti-inflammatory diet is not a specific regimen but rather a style of eating. The Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet are examples of anti-inflammatory diets.
The antioxidants in dark-colored berries, like blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries, have been shown to help fight cancer, slow cognitive decline, and also reduce risk of cardiovascular disease. Simply put, there’s really no reason not to try to up your berry intake. To get all the health perks, Zuckerbrot recommends aiming to consume one cup of the best anti-inflammatory food a day.
In addition to its antibacterial, antiviral, and antioxidant properties, garlic also contains a sulfuric compound called allicin, which—you guessed it—has an anti-inflammatory effect, says Zuckerbrot. It’s also a super-easy (and tasty!) addition to almost anything you’re cooking up—veggies, soups, meat, sauces—and the finer you chop it, the more allicin is released. Bonus: Research shows it may also help you lose weight.
This spice, which is part of the ginger family and traditionally used in cooking, has definitely had a moment in the wellness world as of late, and for good reason. What makes this best anti-inflammatory food so potent, and also gives it its bright yellow color, is curcumin. “Curcumin has been the focus of intense research due to its potential to avert chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s disease.
As part of the same plant family as turmeric, ginger helps tame inflammation by halting the body’s production of cytokines, proteins that trigger chronic inflammation. The best anti-inflammatory food has also long been touted as a remedy for an upset stomach and general nausea, and research shows it may also help regulate blood sugar levels
5. Fatty fish
Research shows that the omega-3 fatty acids in fish such as salmon, tuna, and herring help significantly decrease serum concentrations of inflammatory markers, says Zuckerbrot, in addition to boosting brain and heart health. Fatty fish is also rich in B vitamins, which are key in helping your body convert food into energy and in repairing your DNA. To reap the benefits of omega-3s, aim to eat 3 ounces of fatty fish twice a week.
6. Leafy greens
Leafy green veggies such as kale, Swiss chard, collard greens, arugula, and spinach are rich in antioxidants that restore cellular health, as well as anti-inflammatory flavonoids, says certified doctor of natural medicine and clinical nutritionist .These best anti-inflammatory foods also provided a concentrated dose of important vitamins and minerals like vitamins A, C, and K, as well as potassium.
If you needed another reason to sprinkle some cinnamon atop your morning latte or bowl of cereal, here are three: This yummy, versatile spice has been shown to help reduce and balance blood sugar, improve working memory, and even make your period less, well, horrible. Its high concentration of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds helps protect the body from oxidative stress, fight infections, and repair tissue damage.
8. Coconut oil
Coconut oil has long been touted for its wide-ranging health and medicinal benefits, and coconut beauty products are garnering lots of attention. But with all of its amazing uses, it’s easy to forget that simply cooking with this best anti-inflammatory food is one of the best ways to utilize this versatile oil.
The unique type of fatty acids found in coconuts are more easily metabolized by the body than fats from other oils, making coconut oil a great source of energy and also a potent weight-loss tool. It also contains lauric acid, which, when digested, helps fight off harmful bacteria, viruses, and fungi in the body.