Foods That Combat Inflammation
Why Does Inflammation Happen?
You might be surprised to learn that inflammation has a positive side. It’s one way the body attempts to ward off injury and infection.
But if you suffer from chronic inflammation, being told there’s a point to it all is cold comfort. No doubt you’re tired of the pain, and you may be experiencing unwanted weight gain. You may also have heightened vulnerability to various forms of illness.
Fortunately, there are things a sufferer can do to fight back. There are foods that help with inflammation, and that being the case, here’s a list of some of the best anti-inflammatory foods.
Foods That Combat Inflammation: Fruits
Cherries provide antioxidants like catechins and anthocyanins, and these fight inflammation. You may have heard that tart cherries are especially beneficial, and this seems to be true, but even sweet ones are beneficial.
Grapes are another source of the anthocyanins that fight inflammation. They’re also an excellent source of reservatrol, a substance good for your health in a number of ways. Grapes decrease the risk of an impressive list of maladies including diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, obesity, and eye disorders.
Avocados can fairly be considered one of the best anti-inflammatory foods. They provide magnesium, potassium, and the monounsaturated fats that are healthy for your heart. They reduce inflammation in your skin cells and provide tocopherols and carotenoids that diminish the risk of cancer.
Berries are also among the foods that reduce inflammation. Blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries are all good for you. They give you anthocyanins, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Foods That Combat Inflammation: Vegetables
Tomatoes are technically a fruit, but most of us don’t think of them that way. However you classify them, they provide Vitamin C, potassium, and the inflammation-fighting antioxidant lycopene. There’s evidence that lycopene is especially potent against pro-inflammatory substances associated with a number of types of cancer. (Cooking tomatoes in olive oil maximizes lycopene absorption; we’ll have more to say about olive oil below.)
Mushrooms provide all the B vitamins, copper, selenium, and are very low in calories. They make our list of the best anti-inflammatory foods because they contain phenol and additional antioxidants with inflammation-fight properties. (The only catch is that cooking them can rob them of much of their anti-inflammatory power, so you may derive the most benefit by only cooking them lightly or having them raw.)
Chili peppers and bell peppers contain antioxidants like quercetin, ferulic acid, and sinapic acid that fight inflammation. They provide plenty of Vitamin C as well.
Broccoli is another excellent entry on our list of natural anti-inflammatory foods. Like kale, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts, it’s a cruciferous vegetable, and cruciferous vegetables decrease your risk of developing cancer or heart disease. Broccoli in particular is rich in the anti-inflammatory antioxidant sulforophane.
Foods That Combat Inflammation: Others
The common sorts of fatty fish include anchovies, sardines, herring, mackerel, and salmon. In addition to a lot of protein, they provide the long-chain omega acids DHA and EPA. They combat the inflammation that can lead to diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease, and metabolic syndrome.
Green tea is extremely good for you. Among its other virtues, it’s a rich source of EGCG and other inflammation-fighting antioxidants. It reduces your odds of getting a long list of illnesses including obesity, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and cancer.
Extra virgin olive oil is full of monounsaturated fats and the antioxidant oleocanthol, the effect of which has been compared to the inflammation-fight drug ibuprofen. Consuming extra virgin olive oil reduces your risk of brain cancer, heart disease, and a number of other serious illnesses. (You can derive some anti-inflammatory benefits by consuming any sort of olive oil, but extra virgin olive oil has the most powerful effect.)
Dark chocolate and cocoa also make our list of foods that reduce inflammation because they contain antioxidant flavonols. These combat disease and can help you age with fewer health problems. (To derive significant anti-inflammatory benefits, choose dark chocolate that’s at least 70% cocoa; an even higher percentage is better.)
Finally, the spice turmeric provides curcumin, a powerful anti-inflammatory substance. Cooking with turmeric can help with diabetes and arthritis among other illnesses.
So if you’re suffering from chronic inflammation, why not try an anti-inflammatory diet? As you can see, there are an abundance of natural anti-inflammatory foods, and you have nothing to lose but your pain.