Inflammation can be both good and bad.
On one hand, it helps your body defend itself from infection and injury. On the other hand, chronic inflammation can lead to weight gain and disease.
Stress, inflammatory foods, and low activity levels can make this risk even greater.
However, we know that food can be our medicine and so here are the most anti-inflammatory foods you can eat.
Berries are small fruits that are packed with fibre, vitamins, and minerals.
Although dozens of varieties exist, some of the most common include: strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries.
Berries provide antioxidants known as anthocyanins. These compounds may reduce inflammation, boost immunity, and reduce your risk of heart disease.
Your body produces natural killer cells (NK cells), which help keep your immune system functioning properly.
Fatty fish are a great source of protein and the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. Although all types of fish contain some omega-3 fatty acids, these fatty fish are among the best sources: salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel and anchovies.
EPA and DHA reduce inflammation that can lead to metabolic syndrome, heart disease, diabetes, and kidney disease.
Your body metabolises these fatty acids into compounds called resolvins and protectins, which have anti-inflammatory effects.
One of the most nutritious vegetables you can find. It’s a cruciferous vegetable, along with cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and kale.
Research has shown that eating a lot of cruciferous vegetables is associated with a decreased risk of heart disease and cancer.
This may be related to the anti-inflammatory effects of the antioxidants they contain.
Broccoli are rich in sulforaphane, an antioxidant that fights inflammation by reducing your levels of cytokines and NF-kB, which drive inflammation.
Avocados may be one of the few supposed superfoods worthy of the title.
They’re packed with potassium, magnesium, fibre, and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.
They also contain carotenoids and tocopherols, which are linked to reduced cancer risk. In addition, one compound in avocados may reduce inflammation in young skin cells.
You’ve probably heard that green tea is one of the healthiest beverages you can drink.
It reduces your risk of heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, obesity, and other conditions.
Many of its benefits are due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, especially a substance called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG).
EGCG inhibits inflammation by reducing pro-inflammatory cytokine production and damage to the fatty acids in your cells.
Bell peppers and chilli peppers are loaded with vitamin C and antioxidants that have powerful anti-inflammatory effects.
Bell peppers provide the antioxidant quercetin, which may reduce one marker of oxidative damage in people with sarcoidosis, an inflammatory disease.
Chilli peppers contain sinapic acid and ferulic acid, which may reduce inflammation and lead to healthier ageing.
While thousands of varieties of mushrooms exist worldwide, only a few are edible and grown commercially.Mushrooms are very low in calories and rich in selenium, copper, and all of the B vitamins. They also contain phenols and other antioxidants that provide anti-inflammatory protection.
However, cooking mushrooms will lower their anti-inflammatory compounds significantly. Thus, it may be best to eat them raw or lightly cooked.
Grapes contain anthocyanins, which reduce inflammation.
In addition, they may decrease the risk of several diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s, and eye disorders.
Grapes are also one of the best sources of resveratrol, another compound that has many health benefits(decrease in inflammatory gene markers, including NF-kB).
It also helps increase the levels of adiponectin. Low levels of this hormone are associated with weight gain and an increased risk of cancer.
Turmeric is a spice with a strong, earthy flavour that’s often used in curries and other Indian dishes. It has received a lot of attention for its content of curcumin, a powerful anti-inflammatory nutrient.
Turmeric reduces inflammation related to arthritis, diabetes, and other diseases.
In fact, consuming 1 gram of curcumin daily combined with piperine from black pepper caused a significant decrease in the inflammatory marker CRP in people with metabolic syndrome. However, it may be hard to get enough curcumin to experience a noticeable effect from turmeric alone.
Taking supplements containing isolated curcumin is much more effective. Curcumin supplements are often combined with piperine, which can boost curcumin absorption by 2,000%.
EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
Extra virgin olive oil is one of the healthiest fats you can eat.
It’s rich in monounsaturated fats and a staple in the Mediterranean diet, which provides numerous health benefits.
Reduced risk of heart disease, brain cancer, and other serious health conditions.
The effect of oleocanthal, an antioxidant found in olive oil, has been compared to anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen.
Keep in mind that extra virgin olive oil offers greater anti-inflammatory benefits than those provided by more refined olive oils.
DARK CHOCOLATE AND COCOA
Dark chocolate is delicious, rich, and satisfying (<70%).
It’s also packed with antioxidants that reduce inflammation. These may reduce your risk of disease and lead to healthier ageing.
Flavanols are responsible for chocolate’s anti-inflammatory effects and keep the endothelial cells that line your arteries healthy.
The tomato is a nutritional powerhouse.
Tomatoes are high in vitamin C, potassium, and lycopene, an antioxidant with impressive anti-inflammatory properties. Lycopene may be particularly beneficial for reducing pro-inflammatory compounds related to several types of cancer.
Note that cooking tomatoes in olive oil can maximise the amount of lycopene you absorb. That’s because lycopene is a carotenoid, a nutrient that’s better absorbed with a source of fat.
Cherries are delicious and rich in antioxidants, such as anthocyanins and catechins, which fight inflammation.