It seems these days everyone is looking for ways to combat their inflammation. But remember inflammation can be both good and bad!
The good is, it can help your body defend itself from infection and injury BUT the bad is chronic inflammation can lead to weight gain and many, many diseases. Add on stress from your daily life, the inflammatory foods that seem to be everywhere you look, plus low activity level, these things will make your risk even greater!
But many studies throughout the years have shown that there are some foods that help fight dreaded inflammation. Here are the top 10 yummiest anti-inflammatory foods out there.
Berries are one of the most well-known anti-inflammatory food due to being packed with antioxidants. These antioxidants called anthocyanins have anti-inflammatory effects that can reduce the risk of disease and boost immunity.
There are dozens of varieties of berries, but some of the most common are Strawberries, Blueberries, Blackberries, and Raspberries.
These wonderful fruits are very healthy and packed with not only antioxidants but lots of fiber, vitamins and minerals.
Broccoli is a very nutritious vegetable. Just like Brussel sprouts, kale and cauliflower it is a cruciferous vegetable. When you eat a lot of cruciferous vegetables, research has shown a decreased risk of heart disease and cancer and can be related to the anti-inflammatory effects of the antioxidants these vegetables contain.
Broccoli itself is rich in sulforaphane, an antioxidant that fights inflammation by reducing your levels of cytokines and NF-kB, which drive inflammation.
Not only are avocados amazing yummy, but may be one of the few supposed superfoods worthy of the title. They contain carotenoids and tocopherols, which are linked to reduced cancer risk and packed with potassium, magnesium, fiber and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.
There is a compound in avocados may reduce inflammation in young skin cells. In one study, when people consumed a slice of avocado with a hamburger, they had lower levels of the inflammatory markers NF-kB and IL-6 than participants who ate the hamburger alone.
4. Fatty Fish
Fatty fish like Salmon, Sardines, Herring, Mackerel, and Anchovies are a great source of protein. They are incredibly healthy because they have amazing omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which have great anti-inflammatory effects. EPA and DHA have been known to reduce inflammation because our bodies metabolize these fatty acids into compounds called resolvins and protectins, which have anti-inflammatory effects.
Bell Peppers and Chili Peppers have tons of vitamin C and antioxidants. These have very powerful anti-inflammatory effects on the body.
Bell peppers provide the antioxidant quercetin, which can reduce markers of oxidative stress and inflammation in sarcoidosis, which is an inflammatory disease as stated in this NCBI publication.
Some amazing inflammation-reducing antioxidants like sinapic acid and ferulic acid are in Chili peppers, which can lead to healthier aging.
There are thousands of varieties of mushrooms that exist, but what you might not know is that there are only a few that are edible and grown commercially, like truffles, portobello mushrooms, and shiitake.
Mushrooms are rich in selenium, copper and all of the B vitamins and very low in calories. They also provide anti-inflammatory protection because they contain phenols and other antioxidants.
A very special type of mushroom called lion's mane can potentially reduce the low-grade inflammation seen in obesity. But unfortunately, one study found that cooking mushrooms lowered their anti-inflammatory compounds significantly. So eating them raw or lightly cooked may help you reap their full anti-inflammatory potential.
7. Dark Chocolate and Cocoa
A favorite of many, dark chocolate is so rich and satisfyingly delicious. So not only is it very tasty but loaded with antioxidants that have been known to reduce inflammation.
This NBCI publication states that flavanols are responsible for chocolate's anti-inflammatory effects and keep the endothelial cells that line your arteries healthy. This study shows that smokers experienced significant improvement in endothelial function two hours after eating high-flavonol chocolate.
It is important to choose dark chocolate that contains at least 70% cocoa to reap the anti-inflammatory benefits. More is even better!
First off, grapes contain anthocyanins, which reduce inflammation. Grapes are also one of the best sources of resveratrol, which is a plant compound that acts as an antioxidant and has many health benefits.
One study shows, people with heart disease who consumed grape extract daily experienced a decrease in inflammatory gene markers, including NF-kB. Also, their levels of adiponectin increased. Which with low levels are associated with weight gain and an increased risk of cancer.
So not only are they yummy, but they can decrease the risk of several diseases, like heart disease, diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer's disease, and eye disorders.
The nutritional powerhouse known as tomatoes is high in vitamin C, potassium and lycopene, an antioxidant with impressive anti-inflammatory properties.
Lycopene may be particularly beneficial for reducing pro-inflammatory compounds related to several types of cancer. One study shows that drinking tomato juice significantly decreased inflammatory markers in overweight women.
Also, cooking your tomatoes in extra virgin olive oil will maximize the amount of lycopene you absorb and give you even more benefits! This is because lycopene is a carotenoid or a fat-soluble nutrient. They are absorbed better with a source of fat.
10. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
One of the healthiest fats you can consume is Extra Virgin Olive Oil. It is so rich in monounsaturated fats and a staple in the Mediterranean diet, which provides numerous health benefits. It is linked to reducing the risk of heart disease, brain cancer, and other serious health conditions.
The antioxidant found in oliveoil, oleocanthal, has been compared to anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen as stated here in this NCBI publication. And the anti-inflammatory benefits are much greater in Extra Virgin Olive Oil than other more refined olive oils.