Natural anti-inflammatories are foods that you can eat to lower your odds of having inflammation. If you have a condition that causes inflammation, it may help to change your eating habits.
Any mainstream nutrition expert would encourage you to eat anti-inflammatory foods. They include lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, plant-based proteins (like beans and nuts), fatty fish, and fresh herbs and spices.
Fruits and veggies: Go for variety and lots of color. Research shows that vitamin K-rich leafy greens like spinach and kale reduce inflammation, as do broccoli and cabbage. So does the substance that gives fruits like cherries, raspberries, and blackberries their color, olives and olive oil.
Whole grains: Oatmeal, brown rice, whole-wheat bread, and other unrefined grains tend to be high in fiber, and fiber also may help with inflammation.
Beans: They’re high in fiber, plus they’re loaded with antioxidants and other anti-inflammatory substances.
Nuts: They have a healthy kind of fat that helps stop inflammation. (Olive oil and avocados are also good sources.) Stick to just a handful of nuts a day, or otherwise the fat and calories will add up.
Fish: Put it on your plate at least twice a week. Salmon, tuna, and sardines all have plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, which fight inflammation.
Herbs and spices: They add antioxidants (along with flavor) to your food. Turmeric, found in curry powder, does this with a strong substance called curcumin. And garlic curbs your body’s ability to make things that boost inflammation.
Who can it help?
An anti-inflammatory diet may serve as a complementary therapy for many conditions that become worse with chronic inflammation.
The following conditions involve inflammation:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Eosinophilic esophagitis
- Crohn’s disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
- Metabolic syndrome
Metabolic syndrome refers to a collection of conditions that tend to occur together, including type 2 diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease.
Foods that cause inflammation
Try to avoid or limit these foods as much as possible:
- Refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and pastries
- French fries and other fried foods
- Soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages
- Red meat (burgers, steaks) and processed meat (hot dogs, sausage)
- Margarine, shortening, and lard
Risks of Chronic Inflammation
Inflammation happens naturally in your body. Inflammation protects against toxins, infection, and injury, but when it happens too often it can trigger diseases. Experts link long-term (chronic) inflammation to:
- Heart disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
Anti-inflammatory diet tips
It can be challenging to transition to a new way of eating, but the following tips may help:
- Pick up a variety of fruits, vegetables, and healthful snacks during the weekly shop.
- Gradually replace fast food meals with healthful, homemade lunches.
- Replace soda and other sugary beverages with still or sparkling mineral water.
Other tips include:
- Talking to a healthcare professional about supplements, such as cod liver oil or a multivitamin.
- Incorporating 30 minutes of moderate exercise into the daily routine.
- Practicing good sleep hygiene, as poor sleep can worsen inflammation.
An anti-inflammatory diet may help reduce inflammation and improve symptoms of some common health conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
There is no single anti-inflammatory diet, but a diet that includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthful fats may help manage inflammation.
Anyone who has a chronic health condition that involves inflammation should ask a healthcare professional about the best dietary options for them.
- Inflammation and heart disease. American Heart Association. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/consumer-healthcare/what-is-cardiovascular-disease/inflammation-and-heart-disease. Accessed July 3, 2019.
- Chronic inflammation. National Cancer Institute. https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/chronic-inflammation. Accessed July 3, 2019.
- Mayo Clinic News Network. Home remedies: How a healthy diet can help manage pain. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2018. https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/. Accessed July 8, 2019.
- Health.harvard.edu – https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/foods-that-fight-inflammation
Disclaimer: All contents on this site are for general information and in no circumstances information be substituted for professional advice from the relevant healthcare professional, Writer does not take responsibility of any damage done by the misuse or use of the information.