Inflammation can have both positive and negative effects. It helps your body fight infection and injury. Chronic inflammation can cause disease. This risk can be increased by stress, low activity, and eating foods that cause inflammation. Studies have shown that certain foods may help reduce chronic inflammation. The Houston weight loss doctor states that these are 13 anti-inflammatory food options.
Berries are small fruits rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. There are dozens of different varieties.
These are some of the most popular:
Anthocyanins are antioxidants found in berries. These compounds may lower your risk of developing certain diseases.
One study that included 25 adults found that consuming blueberry powder daily produced significantly more natural killer cell (NK) cells than those who didn’t. These results were similar to an earlier study.
Your body produces NK cells naturally, which help maintain your immune system in good condition.
Another study found that adults who ate strawberries, regardless of their excess weight, had lower levels of certain inflammatory markers linked to heart disease.
2. Fatty fish
Fatty fish provide an excellent source of protein and long-chain omega-3 fatty oils eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA).
All types of fish have some omega-3 fatty acids, but these fish are the best.
DHA and EPA help to reduce inflammation which could lead to metabolic syndrome.
The body converts these fatty acids into compounds known as resolvins or protectins. They have anti-inflammatory properties.
Studies show that salmon, EPA, and DHA supplement users experience a reduction in C-reactive protein (CRP), according to studies.
However, in one study, those with irregular heartbeats who took EPA or DHA daily did not experience any difference in inflammatory markers compared to those who received a placebo.
Broccoli is very nutritious. It is a cruciferous veggie, including cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and kale.
Research by a weight loss clinic has shown that eating many cruciferous veggies is associated with a lower risk of developing heart disease or cancer. This could be due to the anti-inflammatory properties of the antioxidants.
Broccoli is high in sulforaphane, an antioxidant that reduces inflammation by reducing levels of cytokines (NF-kB) and nuclear factor kappa B, which are molecules that cause inflammation in the body.
Avocados are rich in potassium, magnesium, and fiber. They also contain carotenoids, tocopherols, and other compounds associated with a lower risk of developing cancer. Additionally, avocados contain a compound that may help reduce inflammation in newly formed skin cells.
One high-quality study that included 51 overweight adults found that avocado consumption for 12 weeks led to a decrease in inflammatory markers such as interleukin-1 beta (IL-1b) and CRP.
5. Green tea
Green tea is one of your most healthful beverages. It has been shown to reduce the risk of developing heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and other diseases.
Many of its benefits are due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties; especially a substance called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). EGCG reduces inflammation by reducing pro-inflammatory cytokine release and damage to fatty acids in your cells.
Chili peppers and bell peppers are rich in vitamin C and antioxidants, with powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
The antioxidant quercetin found in bell peppers may help reduce inflammation related to chronic diseases like diabetes.
Chili peppers are rich in sinapic acid. These substances may help reduce inflammation and promote healthier aging.
There are thousands of mushroom varieties worldwide, but only a handful can be eaten and grown commercially. These include truffles and portobello mushrooms as well as shiitake mushrooms. Mushrooms have very few calories, are high in selenium and copper, and contain all the B vitamins.
They also contain phenols and other antioxidants that protect against inflammation. Low-grade inflammation associated with obesity may be reduced by a special mushroom called Lion’s Mane.
One study showed that mushrooms cooked in oil significantly reduced their anti-inflammatory properties. It is best to either eat the mushrooms raw or lightly cook them.
Anthocyanins in grapes reduce inflammation. They may also lower the risk of many diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Grapes are also a great source of resveratrol (an antioxidant compound with many health benefits).
Research has shown that resveratrol may protect the heart from inflammation. One study that included 60 patients with heart disease found that those who took two 50-mg capsules daily of resveratrol for three months decreased inflammatory gene marker levels, including interleukin six and IL-6.
A 2012 study found that grape extract consumption was associated with higher adiponectin levels in adults. Low levels of this hormone can lead to weight gain and increased cancer risk.
Turmeric is an Indian spice that has a warm and earthy flavor. It’s used often in curries and other Indian cuisines.
Because it contains curcumin, a powerful anti-inflammatory compound, this product has attracted attention.
Research has shown that turmeric can reduce inflammation in arthritis, diabetes, and other conditions.
One study found that people with metabolic syndrome ate 1 gram of curcumin per day and piperine from Black Pepper. The inflammatory marker CRP was significantly lower in these patients.
It may not be possible to consume enough curcumin just from turmeric to see a visible effect. Supplements containing curcumin isolated may prove to be more effective.
Piperine and curcumin are commonly combined, increasing curcumin absorption by up to 2,000%.
To understand the effects of turmeric on inflammatory markers, more research is required.
10. Extra virgin olive oil
Extra virgin olive oil can be one of your healthiest oils. It is rich in monounsaturated oils and a staple of the Mediterranean diet. This has many health benefits.
Research shows extra-virgin olive oil has a lower risk of developing heart disease or brain cancer. One study that looked at the Mediterranean diet showed that CRP and other inflammatory markers were significantly lower in people who consumed 1.7 ounces (50mL) of olive oils every day for 12 consecutive months.
Oleocanthal, an olive oil-based antioxidant, has been compared with anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen. Remember that extra virgin olive oils have greater anti-inflammatory properties than refined olive oils.
11. Dark chocolate and cocoa
Dark chocolate is rich and delicious. It also contains antioxidants that reduce inflammation. These can reduce your risk of developing disease and help you age more healthy.
Flavanols are responsible for chocolate’s anti-inflammatory properties and help to keep your endothelial cells healthy, also known as the arteries.
One small study found that people who consumed 350mg of cocoa flavanols twice daily had better vascular function two weeks later.
But, it is essential to conduct more quality studies of chocolate and its components.
Dark chocolate should contain at least 70% cocoa to reap the anti-inflammatory benefits. A higher percentage is even better.
The tomato is a nutritional powerhouse. Tomatoes contain high levels of vitamin C, potassium, and lycopene. This antioxidant has impressive anti-inflammatory properties.
Lycopene could be especially beneficial in reducing pro-inflammatory chemicals related to various types of cancer. You can absorb more lycopene by cooking tomatoes in olive oils. This is because lycopene, also known as a carotenoid or nutrient, can be better absorbed when paired with fat.
Cherries are delicious and high in antioxidants such as anthocyanins or catechins, which reduce inflammation. Sweet cherries offer health benefits, even though tart cherries are more well-studied than other varieties.
A study of 37 older adults showed that people who consumed tart cherry juice (16 ounces, 480 mL) daily for 12 weeks had significantly lower levels of CRP. Another study found that tart cherry juice did not cause inflammation in younger healthy adults who took it every day for 30 days.
To understand how cherries may reduce inflammation, more research is required.
You must eat healthy, anti-inflammatory foods and limit the intake of foods that promote inflammation.
Ultra-processed foods such as fast food, frozen meals, and processed meats have increased blood levels of inflammatory markers like CRP.
Trans fats can be found in partially hydrogenated oils and fried foods, which are linked to higher inflammation levels.
Inflammation has also been linked to other foods, such as sugar-sweetened drinks and refined carbs.
Here are some foods that have been shown to increase inflammation.
- Processed food: chips and fast food.
- Refined Carbs: White bread, white rice crackers, and biscuits.
- Fried food: fries and fried chicken.
- Sugar-sweetened beverages: sodas, sweet teas, and sports drinks.
- Processed meats, bacon, and ham
- Trans Fats: Shortening and Margarine
These foods can be eaten occasionally, but it is perfectly healthy. You should eat a balanced diet, which includes lots of whole foods. You should stick to foods that have been minimally processed.
The bottom line
Even chronically low levels of inflammation can cause disease.
You can do your best to reduce inflammation by eating various antioxidant-rich, delicious foods.
You can lower your inflammation and decrease your chance of getting sick by eating peppers, dark chocolate, fish, and extra virgin olive oils.
Make your hot chocolate and enjoy the powerful antioxidant properties of chocolate.
To make 1 cup (237mL) of your milk, whether it is dairy-based, oat-based, or both, heat 1 cup (237mL) of water and add about one tablespoon (5.4g) of unsweetened chocolate. Stir until the mixture is fully dissolved.
You can add 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract to the mixture. You can also add honey, agave, or maple syrup for additional flavor. Add a pinch of cinnamon and cayenne to the mixture for an additional anti-inflammatory boost.