10 Anti-Inflammatory Foods to Incorporate Into a Healthy Diet
What is inflammation?
Inflammation is an important process used to protect the body when injured or invaded by a foreign substance, such as pollen, microbes or chemicals. Intermittent inflammation protects and heals the body. Inflammation becomes chronic when it persists over time. Chronic inflammation contributes to various health conditions including chronic pain.
Individuals with chronic pain can help alleviate symptoms and reduce pain by regularly incorporating anti-inflammatory foods into their diet. Some foods to try include the following:
Fatty fish contains omega-3 fatty acids, specifically EPA and DHA, which aid in reducing inflammation. Good choices include salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies and sardines.
Berries are full of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Incorporating strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries in the diet may reduce inflammation, lower the risk of heart disease and maintain immune system function.
Broccoli, cauliflower, kale and Brussels sprouts are cruciferous vegetables. They are loaded with antioxidants which decrease inflammation. Incorporating cruciferous vegetables into the diet reduces the risk of heart disease and cancer. Broccoli is an especially good choice as it contains the antioxidant sulforaphane which is a power anti-inflammatory.
Avocados contain fiber, potassium, magnesium and heart-healthy fats. Adding avocados to the diet reduces inflammation in new skin cells and decreases the risk of cancer.
Bell Peppers and Chili Peppers
Peppers contain Vitamin C and antioxidants that aid in reducing inflammation.
Mushrooms, such as truffles, portobellos and shitake, are rich in B vitamins, copper and selenium. They also have anti-inflammatory compounds, such as phenols and antioxidants. Raw or lightly cooked mushrooms provide the most benefits.
Grapes contain several compounds that reduce inflammation, such as anthocyanins, antioxidants and resveratrol.
Dark chocolate is not only a delicious treat, it is also loaded with flavanols and antioxidants. Flavanols are plant-based nutrients that help reduce inflammation. Dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa is the best choice to reap the benefits of its anti-inflammatory properties.
Tomatoes are full of nutrition, including potassium, vitamin C and lycopene. Lycopene is a potent anti-inflammatory antioxidant. Drizzling olive oil on tomatoes is especially effective.
Cherries are a nutritious and easy snack. Although all cherries are full of antioxidants that combat inflammation, tart cherries are especially effective.