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Best Natural Anti-Inflammatory Foods to Add To Your Diet

By Riddhi Parmar +2 more

During this COVID-19 pandemic situation, you often heard the medical terminology CRP (C- reactive protein) levels. The CRP is a marker of inflammation in your body. Inflammation is our body’s normal reaction to infection or injury.

Best Anti Inflammatory foods to eat

What is inflammation?

When inflammation happens, white blood cells activate to protect your body from invaders like microbe, plant pollen, or chemical. This raises the blood flow to the area of injury or infection causes redness and warmth. Some of the chemicals cause fluid to leak into your tissues, resulting in swelling.

One of the most powerful ways to combat inflammation is to include anti-inflammatory foods in your diet. Certain foods may accelerate inflammation but by choosing the right foods you can prevent the risk of many illnesses.

Did You Know?

  • Anti-inflammatory foods can help improve symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and reduce the need for medication. source: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  • A study found that a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods can improve cognitive function and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. source: nia.nih.gov
  • Anti-inflammatory foods can help reduce the risk of obesity and promote weight loss. source: pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
  • A study found that a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods can reduce the risk of depression and improve mental health. source: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

What does anti-inflammatory food do?

There are plenty of foods that can relieve inflammation. An antioxidant is a major component of anti-inflammatory foods that act as protective compounds that can help reduce levels of inflammation. Antioxidants protect your body from harmful free radicles that stimulate inflammatory cells. These free radicles can lead to cell damage which causes chronic inflammation or DNA damage. To fight against it our body produces natural antioxidants but dietary antioxidants can also help. An anti-inflammatory diet favours foods that are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Amazing Anti-Inflammatory Foods you Must Add To your Diet –

1. Green Tea

Green tea is the best antioxidant and anti-inflammatory beverage you can drink. It contains a substance called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). It inhibits inflammation and prevents damage to the fatty acids in your cells. Green tea is high in a powerful antioxidant – Catechin polyphenols which work as an anti-inflammatory and help to destroy free radicles in your body.

2. Turmeric

We all know since childhood that turmeric acts wonderfully when mom applied it on wounds or cuts. It remarkably reduces inflammation and infection. Turmeric has abundant anti-inflammatory and anti-septic properties due to the presence of Curcumin in it. Curcumin is a powerful anti-inflammatory nutrient that helps to reduce inflammation in arthritis, diabetes, and even depression. It significantly reduces CRP – inflammatory marker when you consume turmeric with black paper.

3. Berries

Berry such as blueberry, strawberry, and raspberry are loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Berries contain antioxidants called anthocyanins. These act as an anti-inflammatory to reduce your risk of various diseases. It also boosts our immunity and reduces the risk of heart disease.

4. Peppers

Bell peppers and chilli peppers are full of vitamin C and antioxidants. Bell peppers provide the antioxidant quercetin, which may reduce inflammatory markers in people with sarcoidosis, an inflammatory disease.

5. Fatty fish

Fatty fishes are a great source of proteins and omega-3 fatty acids. Fishes like salmon, mackerel are the best source of omega-3 fatty acids. Fatty acids – EPA and DHA reduce inflammation that can cause metabolic syndrome, heart disease, diabetes, and kidney disease. The study suggests that these fatty acids also help to reduce an inflammatory marker – CRP.

6. Nuts 

Walnuts are an excellent source of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. It helps to reduce pain and swelling by inhibiting neurotransmitters. Almonds are also full of antioxidants and vitamin E which helps to reduce inflammation.

7. Green vegetables

Green leafy vegetables such as spinach are rich in vitamins, fibres, minerals and antioxidants. These nutrients can protect your body against the oxidative stress caused by free radical damage. Vitamin E present in green leafy vegetables protects our body from inflammatory causing molecule-cytokines. Other green vegetables like kale and broccoli contain disease-fighting phytochemicals like calcium, iron and fibre than light-coloured vegetables.

8. Olive oil 

Olive oil is one of the healthiest fat you ever eat. Extra virgin olive oil provides powerful anti-inflammatory benefits, which cut down the risk of heart disease, cancer, and other serious health conditions.

9. Fruits

Fresh fruits like pineapple and avocado have been known for their anti-inflammatory properties. The monounsaturated fats and antioxidants contained in avocado have proven to be quite effective in controlling as well as helping to reduce inflammation in the body. On the other hand, pineapple contains bromelain, which is a protein-digesting enzyme with powerful anti-inflammatory properties. 

10. Tomatoes

Recent research has shown that consuming tomato juice can be highly beneficial when it comes to helping reduce inflammation in a natural way. This is because tomatoes contain a powerful antioxidant known as lycopene which helps to rapidly reduce inflammation and also prevents further damage to your body from free radicals.

11. Mushrooms

There are several different kinds of mushrooms from button mushrooms to shitake and oyster mushrooms. Studies have found that mushrooms have traces of phenol and other antioxidants that help this anti-inflammatory food provide protection to the immune system. It is also rich in copper, selenium and Vitamin B with traces of calories found in some mushrooms making it a great addition to your diet, especially for vegetarians.

Some studies have even shown that when they are cooked, mushrooms may tend to lose these anti-inflammatory properties which make them so beneficial. To ensure that you get the most out of your mushrooms, consume them raw or lightly cooked.

I may say that if you’re looking for an anti-inflammatory food, cocoa might be a great choice. It contains high-quality antioxidant polyphenols, such as catechins and anthocyanins. Surprisingly, these cocoa polyphenols might not only act as antioxidants but may also have anti-inflammatory effects.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, B.A.M.S, M.D (Ayu)

Also Read: Fast and Effective Ways to Reduce Inflammation in the Body

Top 5 Inflammatory Foods to Avoid

1. Processed and Refined Sugars

Foods high in added sugars, such as sugary snacks, desserts and sweetened drinks, can cause inflammation in the body. Regular consumption of these sugary treats can lead to chronic inflammation and increase the risk of conditions like obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

2. Trans Fats and Hydrogenated Oils 

Trans fats found in fried and processed foods like fast food, packaged snacks and certain baked goods are notorious for promoting inflammation. These harmful fats not only raise bad cholesterol levels but also lower good cholesterol, contributing to a pro-inflammatory environment in the body.

3. Refined Carbohydrates

Refined grains like white bread, white rice and pastries undergo processing that strips away their natural nutrients and fibre. These highly processed carbohydrates can cause rapid spikes in blood sugar levels, triggering an inflammatory response in the body over time.

4. Processed Meats

Deli meats, bacon, sausages and other processed meats are often high in saturated fats and preservatives. Regular consumption of these meats has been linked to increased inflammation and a higher risk of heart disease and certain cancers.

5. Artificial Food Additives

Some artificial additives like monosodium glutamate (MSG), artificial sweeteners and food colourings can trigger inflammation in certain individuals. Avoiding foods containing these additives may help reduce the risk of inflammation-related health issues.

In my experience, when it comes to reducing inflammation, it might be helpful to consider your cooking methods. Baking, steaming, or quick stir-frying may be better choices than deep frying or grilling.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

Tips To Cut Down Inflammatory Foods From your Diet:

  • Eat more vegetables
  • Add a lot of antioxidant foods
  • Limit carbohydrates
  • Get omega -3 fatty acids
  • Avoid red meat, soda, junk foods, fried foods and other processed food.

Natural anti-inflammatory foods can lower your chances of having inflammation. Of course, medicines and other therapies are important but as many experts say anti-inflammatory foods may help too. You should never ignore any kind of inflammation as it could be signs of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, and bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease as well as ulcerative colitis. Therefore, home remedies are extremely useful in controlling inflammation in its nascent stages to prevent further complications.

I should mention that coffee, aside from being known for its caffeine content, contains antioxidants and other active substances. These contents might help reduce internal inflammation and protect against disease. However, it should be always taken in moderation and a healthcare provider should be consulted if any side effects are seen.

Dr. Smita barode, B.A.M.S, M.S.

Frequently Asked Question(FAQs)

What are some natural anti-inflammatory foods?

Several natural foods possess anti-inflammatory properties. Some examples include fatty fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids (e.g. salmon, mackerel), colourful fruits and vegetables (e.g., berries, spinach, kale), nuts (e.g. walnuts, almonds), olive oil, turmeric, ginger and green tea.

How can an anti-inflammatory diet benefit health?

An anti-inflammatory diet can offer numerous health benefits. It may help reduce chronic inflammation, which is linked to various health issues, such as heart disease, arthritis and certain cancers. Incorporating anti-inflammatory foods can support overall well-being and potentially improve immune function.

Can anti-inflammatory foods help manage arthritis symptoms?

Yes, consuming anti-inflammatory foods can aid in managing arthritis symptoms. Certain foods can help reduce inflammation and alleviate joint pain and stiffness. Including foods with omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish, and antioxidants from fruits and vegetables can be beneficial for individuals with arthritis.

Are there specific foods to avoid for an anti-inflammatory diet?

Yes, some foods can promote inflammation and are best limited in an anti-inflammatory diet. These include processed foods high in refined sugars and unhealthy fats, trans fats found in some fried and packaged foods, excessive alcohol and refined carbohydrates like white bread and sugary snacks.

Is the Mediterranean diet considered anti-inflammatory?

Yes, the Mediterranean diet is often regarded as an anti-inflammatory eating pattern. It emphasizes whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds and olive oil, which are known for their anti-inflammatory properties. The Mediterranean diet can help reduce inflammation and is associated with various health benefits.

Can an anti-inflammatory diet help with weight management?

Yes, an anti-inflammatory diet may support weight management efforts. Many anti-inflammatory foods are nutrient-dense and can promote feelings of fullness, potentially leading to reduced calorie intake. Additionally, reducing inflammation can positively impact metabolic health and contribute to sustainable weight loss.

Can anti-inflammatory foods boost the immune system?

Yes, certain anti-inflammatory foods can help support a healthy immune system. Foods rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants can strengthen the immune response and improve the body’s ability to fight off infections and illnesses.

How can someone incorporate anti-inflammatory foods into their diet?

Incorporating anti-inflammatory foods can be done by including a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats in daily meals. Trying new recipes with ingredients like turmeric, ginger, and leafy greens can add anti-inflammatory benefits to the diet. Consulting a registered dietitian can also provide personalized guidance.

Are there any potential side effects of consuming anti-inflammatory foods?

Generally, consuming anti-inflammatory foods as part of a balanced diet does not pose any significant side effects. However, some individuals may have allergies or sensitivities to specific foods. It’s essential to listen to your body and avoid any foods that cause adverse reactions.

Can an anti-inflammatory diet replace medical treatment for inflammatory conditions?

An anti-inflammatory diet can complement medical treatment for inflammatory conditions but should not be used as a replacement. While certain foods can help reduce inflammation, medical conditions may require specific treatments prescribed by healthcare professionals. Always follow your doctor’s advice for managing inflammatory conditions.

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.

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Sunita Bajwa

Excellent information

Ashir Sahal

Thank you, glad you liked it.