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Around the world, millions of people suffer in pain every single day due to inflammation in their body. While they are very aware of the pain, they might not be aware that their diet could be a major cause of their pain, instead turning to something like ibuprofen, a anti inflammatory medication that can be sore on the stomach (a commonly used anti inflammatory, motrin, contains ibuprofen as the active ingredient).
At the same time, however, their diet could also be the solution. In this post, we’ll discover some anti-inflammatory foods and what makes them anti-inflammatory. Then, we’ll finish off by reviewing some foods that could be making your inflammation worse.
What is the Anti-Inflammatory Diet?
If you were to eat an anti inflammatory diet, you would basically be eating food with antiinflammatory properties – i.e., they may be able to reduce the pain associated with certain diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune diseases, and even chronic stress. Anti-inflammatory foods are not only good for this though – they are usually foods that are usuallly very healthy and therefore have many other health benefits that are worth taking into consideration.
This type of diet has been recommended by experts all over the world. However, it can be difficult to know what to eat on an anti-inflammatory diet so let’s have a look to see what are anti inflammatory food, what foods you should avoid, and where to get more information if you decide this is the diet for you.
Best natural anti inflammatory foods
Berries as anti-inflammatory
If you are following an anti-inflammatory diet, it should not be complete without berries. Berries are packed full of vitamins, minerals, and fibre. They also contain a range of antioxidants which make them anti-inflammatory in nature. Some of the best berries that you can eat include strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries. One of the simplest ways to enjoy their anti inflammatory properties is make a delicious antiinflammatory smoothie using multiple types of different berries. A smoothie for anti inflammatory a great way to start the day by boosting your energy and will also give you everything you need to fight inflammation.
Fatty fish as anti-inflammatory
In addition to a whole range of other health benefits, fish that contain omega 3 fatty acids are great for their anti-inflammatory properties. They’re a great source of fiber and contain EPA and DHA. This might not mean much to you but both of these helps to reduce inflammation due to the body metabolizing these fatty acids. Some of the best fatty fish to eat for this includes salmon, herring, sardines, mackerel, and anchovies. An oily fish complete with green vegetables is the perfect anti-inflammatory dinner.
Turmeric as anti-inflammatory
Turmeric is a spice that is found in curries and other spicy dishes. The action of turmeric as anti inflammatory comes from curcumin, a powerful anti-inflammatory compound found in abundance in turmeric. Studies have shown that turmeric reduces inflammation related to a number of different conditions including diabetes, arthritis, and more. In fact, people have been using turmeric for anti inflammatory purposes for a long time! While adding turmeric to certain meals is advised, the best way to get this into your diet would be with curcumin supplements which are available in a good supplements store.
Broccoli as anti-inflammatory
Not only is broccoli extremely nutritious, eating it regularly can even give you a reduced risk of cancer and heart disease. It also earns a place on this list of anti inflammatory natural foods – so try to eat it as regularly as possible! There are heaps of anti-oxidants in broccoli, also making it an anti-inflammatory food, meaning it is well worth fitting into your daily diet where possible.
Avocado as anti-inflammatory
Avocados have soared in popularity during recent years because people are finally starting to notice the enormous health benefits associated with this delicious anti inflammatory fruit. They are packed full of magnesium, potassium, fibre, and good, monounsaturated fats. This food’s natural anti inflammatory properties have been proven in several scientific studies. It’s been found that avocados can even reduce inflammation in newly forming skin cells which is pretty extraordinary and can make for a healthier you.
Green tea as anti-inflammatory
While not exactly a food, green tea is something that you should be drinking a lot of if you are following an anti-inflammatory diet. By drinking it, you could reduce your risk of serious illness including cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and obesity. This is due to a substance called epigallocatechin-3-gallate that is found in green tea, which has huge anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Mushrooms as anti-inflammatory
There are many reasons to eat mushrooms no matter what type of diet you are following, not least of which is that they’re delicious! Besides their taste, they have also been shownto be one of the top anti inflammatory natural foods. In addition, they contain all of the B vitamins, copper, selenium and they’re also very low in calories.
Peppers as anti-inflammatory
Both bell peppers and chilli peppers are packed full of vitamin C and anti-oxidants, giving them an anti-inflammatory effect on the body. Chilli peppers are known to help reduce aging! As for those sweet bell peppers, they provide the antioxidant known as quercetin, which reduces inflammation associated with serious diseases like diabetes. Peppers can easily be added to most meals and that is recommended as these are one of the top anti inflammatory natural foods.
Grapes as anti-inflammatory
Another fruit has made the list and again, grapes can be added to a smoothie for anti inflammatory deliciousness in a hurry. Grapes contain compounds called anthocyanins, which can reduce inflammation in the body. They’re also one of the best sources of resveratrol, which is a strong antioxidant that studies have shown can protect against heart inflammation. Consuming this compound through grapes is unlikely to make you feel any of the side effects of resveratrol supplements.
Chocolate as anti-inflammatory
I bet that you didn’t expect to see chocolate on this list, did you? In addition to being tasty and satisfying, dark chocolate in particular is known to have a bunch of different health benefits. It is packed full of antioxidants, which can reduce your risk of certain diseases and also leads to healthier ageing by keeping your arteries healthy. So next time that you are tempted to snack upon some dark chocolate, you can do it guilt-free!
Tomatoes as anti-inflammatory
Tomatoes are packed full of nutrients because they are high in vitamin C, lycopene, and potassium. Lycopene is actually an antioxidant that is full of anti-inflammatory properties. Fixing tomatoes into your daily diet is definitely recommended and keep in mind that cooking tomatoes in olive oil can help you absorb more of the lycopene content!
Cherries as anti-inflammatory
In addition to being tasty, cherries are one of the best foods natural anti inflammatory. They are rich in antioxidants including anthocyanins and catechins, which help to decrease inflammation.
Ginger as anti-inflammatory
Ginger is an ingredient that can be added to loads of different dishes and it has been proven that ginger as anti inflammatory is effective. Not only can ginger boost your metabolism, but it is also packed full of antioxidants and chemicals that are anti-inflammatory and antibacterial. Studies have shown that ginger hugely helps severe inflammation that is associated with arthritis. People have been consuming ginger for anti inflammatory purposes for millenia.
What not to eat – Inflammation causing foods
Now that you know what you SHOULD be eating if you are going down the route of an anti-inflammatory diet, you also need to know what foods to avoid. You can find some information on this below. Keep in mind that these foods are just about okay in moderation. While you should never deprive yourself of the things that you are craving, here is a short list of what foods anti inflammatory specialists suggest you avoid!
Processed and junk food.
Foods that are ultra-processed like processed meats, microwave meals or fast food have been associated with high blood levels of inflammatory markers. If you are following an anti-inflammatory diet, highly processed food can have the opposite effect. Processed meats, in particular, might give you that temporary satisfaction but they are actually full of advanced glycation end products. These are formed by cooking meats at too high a temperature and are known to cause inflammation in the body.
Trans fats are some of the worst things you can consume if you are following an anti-inflammatory diet. These are artificial fats that have been created by adding hydrogen to unsaturated fats. These artificial fats have been associated with an increased risk of both heart disease and inflammation in the body. Keeping that in mind, you should ensure that foods like margarine and kept to a minimum in your diet.
The types of sugar in the fruits mentioned above as anti inflammatory natural foods are not to be confised with highly processed, added sugars. These are bad sugars that should be avoided if you are trying to follow an anti-inflammatory diet. The foods that you should be reducing from your diet include desserts, chocolate bars, and pastries. Aside from causing inflammation, they are also adssociated with dental problems, obesity, diabetes and a range of other health conditions.
Alcohol is very bad for the liver and can disrupt the rest of the body too. Research has shown that for those who drink a lot of alcohol, it increases the CRP marker in the body which can lead to inflammation. While a lot of us enjoy a tipple from time to time, you should definitely be looking to reduce your alcohol consumption where possible if you are trying to follow an anti inflammatory diet.
White bread and pasta in particular, while they might be delicious, are not the most healthy and it has been shown that refined carbohydrates can actually kick-start inflammation. It is also worth keeping in mind that refined carbs have had their fibre removed, which can lead to problems in the guts and one of the reasons why you might feel bloated over a carb-loaded meal.
Hopefully, this article has answered your questions on what is the anti inflammatory diet, what are some anti-inflammatory foods, and what foods you should avoid if you want to follow an anti inflammatory diet. At the very least you should no longer be wondering what is anti inflammatory food!
Above, you’ll find some of the best natural anti inflammatory foods to add to your diet. No matter what your health goals are, incorporating some of these foods into your diet is going to be beneficial. It’s important to take care of your body from the inside, so start today – you’ll notice a big difference in no time.
If you want to get more information and recipes on the anti-inflammatory diet, I can’t recommend Dr Weil’s anti inflammatory diet cookbook Fast Food, Good Food highly enough. Use this to build your own antiinflammatory meal plan to get on the road to a better you.
NOTE – this post is not intended to be medical advice, and should not be used in place of a medical consultation from a licensed physician. If you have any concerns about pain, you should consult your physician or other healthcare provider. Before starting any new diet or supplements you should check with a healthcare professional to ensure it is right for you and your medical situation.