Here are 15 of the best anti-inflammatory foods to add to your diet.
All berries, including raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries are high in antioxidants called flavonoids,” explains Tanya Zuckerbrot, M.S., R.D., a New York City-based registered dietitian, bestselling author, and founder of The F-Factor Diet. “Flavonoids contribute to anti-inflammatory effects by reducing free-radical damage to cells.” [Also read: 5 Reasons why Eating Watermelon Should be a Routine]
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. [Also read: 5 Top Foods for Increasing Breast Size Naturally]
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. [Also read: 5 Reasons Why you should Reduce Your Sugar Intake]
This spice, which is part of the ginger family and traditionally used in Indian 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,” explains Zuckerbrot. Pro cooking tip: Combining turmeric with black pepper increases the bioavailability of curcumin. If traditional turmeric dishes aren’t your taste, try incorporating the superfood spice into your favorite go-to dishes—it’s easier than you think. [Also read: 5 Signs The Spirit World Is Trying To Help You]
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. [Also read: How to Grow Longer and Thicker Hair Fast]
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. [Also read: 5 Reasons Why Spending Time Alone is the Best Ever]
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. Swiss chard, in particular, is packed with antioxidants that can help protect your brain against oxidative stress caused by free-radical damage. As a general rule, the darker the shade, the more nutritious they are, so pile on all the anti-inflammatory greens. [Also read: 8 Home Remedies To Make Your Hands Soft]
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. [Also read: 6 Effective Ways to Get a Healthy Sleep at Night]
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. Bottom line: Coconut oil is a tried-and-true superfood, one of the best anti-inflammatory foods, and definitely a pantry staple. [Also read: 5 Natural Foods That help You Boost Your S*x Life]
Your mother was on to something when she told you to always finish your broccoli. In addition to being high in minerals like potassium and magnesium, broccoli contains antioxidants that make it one of the best anti-inflammatory foods, says Axe. It also contains sulforaphane, a compound found in cruciferous veggies (think broccoli sprouts, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage, cauliflower) that has been shown to lower oxidative stress, battle chronic inflammation, and reduce the risk of developing cancer. You can cook broccoli in so many ways that show off the versatility of this OG-green veggie (and, don’t forget, one of the best foods for inflammation!). Try it in soup, pesto, coleslaw, stir-fry, salad—the list is endless.
Nuts such as almonds and walnuts are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which, in addition to keeping your heart healthy, also play an integral role in keeping your eye and brain function healthy. A recent study also linked eating walnuts to a lowered risk of developing breast cancer. Since they’re also loaded with fiber and protein, nuts can help you feel fuller, so they may be a helpful weight-loss tool. To up your intake of these best anti-inflammatory foods, snack on homemade trail mix, add some almond butter to your smoothies, or sprinkle some nuts on top of a salad or savory entrée dish. Go nuts!