Inflammation is natural, and it’s often a very good thing; after all, it’s your body’s way of fighting off foreign invaders that enter your system. But, when things go into overdrive and chronic inflammation sets in, inflammation can become a very serious problem indeed.
Chronic inflammation can cause horrible symptoms such as chronic fatigue, body aches, insomnia, anxiety, depression, myalgia, and problems with the gastrointestinal system that can lead to unwanted changes in body weight, diarrhea, constipation, and more.
The good news is that inflammation can be treated, and often it can be treated naturally just by changing your diet so that it includes more superfoods. In this article, we will go over the top 15 foods to eat that fight inflammation, so that you can get back to your healthiest self.
The 15 Best Foods to Eat To Fight Inflammation
Each of the following foods have proven to be effective at treating the symptoms of inflammation. But chronic inflammation can’t be treated by just eating these foods when you’re experiencing symptoms. Treating chronic inflammation means incorporating some or all of these foods into your diet regularly so that you can reap their benefits over time. So, with that said, let’s get right into it.
Berries are one of the tastiest items on this list. From strawberries to blueberries to raspberries and so on, berries are an all-natural way to combat the symptoms of chronic inflammation. Berries are an effective anti-inflammatory because they contain antioxidants known as anthocyanins, which fight against inflammation and also help lower your risk of diseases related to inflammation.
Fish, especially fatty fish, such as salmon, herring, sardines, and mackerel, are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, which do an excellent job of reducing inflammation while at the same time fighting the symptoms caused by chronic inflammation. Omega-3 fatty acids are also known to help treat metabolic syndrome and reduce your risk of both kidney and heart disease.
Avocados might just be nature’s best and most versatile superfood. Avocados are jam-packed with potassium, magnesium, and heart-healthy fats and can effectively reduce inflammation and the symptoms of inflammation when incorporated into your diet on a regular basis. Plus, there is a compound found in avocadoes that can reduce inflammation in new skin cells, making avocadoes an excellent choice for those who want to prevent inflammation before it becomes a more serious medical problem.
Broccoli contains sulforaphane, a powerful antioxidant that effectively reduces inflammation. However, that’s not all. Broccoli also contains a number of other antioxidants and vitamins, which together can lower your risk of chronic inflammation and improve your overall health and well-being.
There are tons of different types of mushrooms out there, some are good for you and some not so much, but mushrooms most commonly found in grocery stores, such as portobello mushrooms and shitake mushrooms, are rich in selenium, copper, and all of the different B-vitamins, which all work to reduce, and fight the symptoms caused by, inflammation.
Peppers in general, but specifically bell peppers and chili peppers, contain potent antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation and lower your risk for chronic inflammation. Peppers also contain the super antioxidant quercetin, which has been shown to lower the risk of serious diseases, such as diabetes for example.
- Green Tea
Without a doubt, green tea is one of the healthiest things you can drink. Not only does green tea contain a ton of vitamins and antioxidants, but it also contains the substance EGCG, which inhibits inflammation by reducing cytokine production, which, if left unchecked, can damage the fatty acids in your cells. Green tea is also great for your heart health, and so if you can start including green tea with your breakfast, you can lower your risk of chronic inflammation over time.
Grapes are rich in anthocyanins, which are among the world’s best and most potent antioxidants. Grapes also contain resveratrol, a super antioxidant that has been shown to help protect the heart from chronic inflammation. That said, grapes also reduce the risk of diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and even Alzheimer’s disease. So, the next time you decide to have a drink with your dinner, consider making it a small glass of wine.
- Olive Oil
Olive oil, especially extra virgin olive oil, is rich in monounsaturated fats, which aid heart health and reduce inflammation in your system. A staple of the Mediterranean diet, extra virgin olive oil, has also been shown to reduce the risks of brain cancer and heart disease. There are a few great ways to incorporate extra virgin olive oil into your diet. The first way is to start cooking with extra virgin olive oil instead of vegetable oil or butter, and the second way is to enjoy it as is, with some bread, or bruschetta for example.
- Dark Chocolate
Eating healthy doesn’t always mean fruits and vegetables. Dark chocolate and cocoa are absolutely packed with antioxidants and contain flavanols that can dramatically reduce inflammation and effectively combat the symptoms associated with chronic inflammation, including anxiety and depression. Studies have shown that ingesting the flavanols found in dark chocolate may also improve vascular function. So, the next time somebody tells you that chocolate isn’t healthy for you, make sure that you correct them.
- Sweet Potato
Sweet potatoes, along with other orange-colored fruits and vegetables, contain high levels of beta-carotene, which is an important antioxidant that the body converts into vitamin-A, which it needs to fight inflammation. Vitamin-A also reduces the risk of degenerative diseases, and so by eating sweet potatoes, carrots, oranges, and so on, you can give your system a boost and combat the symptoms of chronic inflammation.
Cherries are one of the best foods for fighting inflammation because they contain antioxidants, catechins, and anthocyanins, all of which aid with reducing the symptoms and effects of chronic inflammation. More research is needed to determine if cherry juice is also effective at treating the symptoms of inflammation, but it’s clear that the antioxidants you get when eating cherries have anti-inflammatory properties and promote healthy heart functions.
Tomatoes contain high levels of potassium, vitamin C, and lycopene, an impressive antioxidant that has been shown to reduce inflammation. Lycopene is particularly good at reducing the pro-inflammatory, which can lead to certain types of cancer. Tomatoes, in general, are very nutritious and also aid with promoting healthy organ and brain function, so if you can add a few more tomatoes to your diet, you will be doing yourself a big favor.
Spices such as cinnamon, turmeric, and oregano all contain anti-inflammatory compounds which can help reduce inflammation and alleviate some of the symptoms associated with chronic inflammation. To get the best results from these spices, try to incorporate them into meals made with the other foods on this list; in this way, you can give yourself a super boost and combat the signs and symptoms of inflammation effectively.
Last but not least, nuts such as walnuts, almonds, pistachios, and cashews all help to reduce the number of c-reactive proteins in your system, which is one of the best ways to reduce inflammation and lower your risk of developing chronic inflammation. By adding some of these nuts to your salads and pastas, or by eating them as-is, you can help your system fight inflammation and get some relief from the symptoms associated with chronic inflammation.
Things To Keep In Mind
Inflammation isn’t always a bad thing; in fact, in most cases, inflammation is a very good thing as it is the system that your body uses to fight foreign entities that invade your body. If your body didn’t have an inflammation system, you would be unable to fight off many of the bacteria and free radicals that, if left unchecked, could lead to other more serious health conditions.
That said, when inflammation goes into overdrive, it can be a very serious problem indeed. Chronic inflammation comes with a number of horrible symptoms and side effects, including low energy levels, anxiety, insomnia, depression, and G.I. tract issues that can be life-threatening in the worst-case scenario.
Fortunately, in almost all cases, inflammation can be treated, and often it can be reduced simply by eating a healthier, more balanced diet that contains the superfoods showcased in this article. By making the choice to eat healthier foods that are rich in antioxidants, you can give your system a huge boost, reduce inflammation, decrease the odds of developing chronic inflammation, and treat the symptoms associated with inflammation.
Most of the foods on this list offer many other benefits as well, and aren’t just great for treating and preventing inflammation but also help promote overall health and well-being. So if you suffer from inflammation, try out some new recipes with these foods and hopefully you should be feeling better soon.