Inflammation is not always bad; it’s actually an important part of the immune system function that helps the body fight against injury and infection. However, as you already know, inflammation can also be very problematic since it is linked to major health problems, such as cancer, heart disease, arthritis, and diabetes. If your body doesn’t fight any infection or illness but you still experience inflammation, you have to start learning how to keep it under control in order to prevent serious medical problems like the ones we just listed.
The best way to reduce inflammation naturally is by incorporating fruits, vegetables, and spices that contain antioxidants into your diet. The antioxidants found in food help reduce inflammation and protect the cells in your body against free radicals.
Thankfully, there are many antioxidant-rich foods you can easily include in your meals and snacks. These foods can fight inflammation and they can improve your overall well-being. Not only that, but they are also delicious. That’s always a plus!
If you like berries, dark chocolate, cherries, and green tea, we have great news for you –all of them can help you prevent inflammation! However, they are not the only ones so keep reading to discover all the other fruits, veggies, and foods that can diminish your risk of illness by reducing inflammation.
Berries are low in calories, packed with vitamins, fiber, and minerals. They also contain antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties. These antioxidants are called anthocyanins and they can be found in many berries including strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. Blueberries are particularly good for reducing inflammation and promoting brain health.
Since berries are so small, it is important to buy and eat organic berries because the size makes it hard to wash away pesticides.
Beets are another great source of antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties. They are high in nitrates and they are known to lower blood pressure and boost energy levels. Moreover, they can also improve athletic performance.
Spinach is such a nutrient-dense leafy green. The antioxidants and anti-inflammatory components in spinach prevent cellular damage. Spinach also contains calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Plus vitamin A and vitamin K. These important nutrients promote health, reduce oxidative stress, and help prevent many diseases.
Dark chocolate and cocoa
Great news for chocolate lovers! Eating chocolate is actually good for you! Dark chocolate and cocoa are high in antioxidants and they are great for fighting inflammation. Cocoa contains flavanols, a group of flavonoids that lower blood pressure, reduce blood 'stickiness', reduce cholesterol, and, of course, reduce inflammation.
To reap the inflammatory benefits of chocolate, opt for dark chocolate that contains more than 70% cocoa.
After a long and unnecessary fight against fats, the world finally seems to realize that not all fats are the same. There’s no doubt that some types of fat are harmful. However, healthy fats are absolutely necessary. One great source of healthy fat is fatty fish. Salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines, and anchovies are fatty fish that contain high amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids. These fatty acids are metabolized in the body in two different compounds that have anti-inflammatory properties.
Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts are cruciferous vegetables that have anti-inflammatory effects thanks to the antioxidants they contain. Eating cruciferous veggies decreases the risk of cancer and heart disease.
Broccoli is a particularly rich source of detoxifying antioxidants that can also lessen the impact of allergies. In addition, broccoli contains omega-3 fatty acids that are known for their anti-inflammatory properties.
High in vitamin C, potassium, and lycopene, an antioxidant with remarkable anti-inflammatory properties, tomatoes can decrease inflammatory markers and help prevent different types of cancer. On top of that, tomatoes are highly nutritious, versatile, and tasty.
Just like fatty fish, avocados contain omega-3 fatty acids that help fight inflammation. Packed with magnesium, fiber, and antioxidants, avocados are a nutritional powerhouse actually worthy of their superfood status. The carotenoid antioxidants, lycopene and beta-carotene, in fresh avocados promote heart health, decrease cancer risk, and reduce cell inflammation.
There’s a good reason everything is better with a cherry on top. Cherries are delicious! But the health-promoting properties of cherries give a whole new meaning to the cherry on top saying. However, what interests us today is cherries’ anti-inflammatory properties. Cherries are rich in anthocyanins and catechins, two antioxidants that fight inflammation.
Out of all the beverages one can drink, green tea is arguably the healthiest. Green tea contains different compounds that have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Thanks to these compounds, green tea not only reduces inflammation but it also decreases the risk of developing breast cancer, prostate cancer, Alzheimer's disease, heart disease, and obesity.
Onions help your body to fight inflammation because they contain a very potent antioxidant called quercetin. Onions also help stimulate the respiratory tract and are helpful in preventing and even treating certain types of cancer.
Loaded with vitamin C and other antioxidants, peppers have powerful anti-inflammatory effects. Just as onions, peppers, particularly bell peppers and chili peppers, contain quercetin. As you just found out, quercetin is a very powerful antioxidant that can reduce inflammation markers and decrease oxidative damage, therefore preventing many illnesses and promoting health. On top of that, chili peppers contain ferulic acid and sinapic acid. These two acids also have anti-inflammatory properties.
Not all mushrooms are edible but those that are can bring you many health benefits. Mushrooms such as shiitake, truffles, and Portobello contain B vitamins, selenium, copper, and antioxidants. One of the antioxidants contained by these mushrooms is phenol. Phenol provides anti-inflammatory protection and can decrease inflammation when it occurs.
To take advantage of the anti-inflammatory properties of mushrooms, cook them lightly or eat them raw since cooking them decreases their anti-inflammatory potential.
Grapes are another delicious fruit that can reduce inflammatory markers thanks to polyphenols, the powerful antioxidants that may offer anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-cancer benefits. In addition, eating grapes can also decrease the risk of obesity, diabetes, eye disorders, Alzheimer's, and heart disease.
Last but definitely not least, we have turmeric. The flavorful spice contains curcumin, an anti-inflammatory nutrient and strong antioxidants that can improve inflammatory markers.