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10 Benefits of an Anti-Inflammatory Diet (Plus the Best Foods to Try)


The best anti-inflammatory foods can provide some major health benefits!

By incorporating more of these nutrient-dense foods into your diet, you can help avoid chronic inflammation, inflammatory diseases, and other health conditions such as high blood pressure. Whole foods with anti-inflammatory effects can make a lasting impact on the quality of your life.

Here’s a closer look at what causes inflammation, the benefits of an anti-inflammatory diet, and the 20 best anti-inflammatory foods to incorporate.

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When our bodies encounter something foreign like viruses, bacteria, toxic chemicals, or an injury, it activates our immune system.

In response to the alarm, your immune system sends off inflammatory cells to fight the good fight. This is an inflammatory response. These cells try to trap any outside offenders and heal any injured tissue. On the external side, this might look like pain, swelling, bruising, or redness.

So, we need the inflammatory response to heal. It’s an important part of our immune system and overall health. However, when inflammation doesn’t go away, we need to start paying attention.

Chronic inflammation is when your body continues to send inflammatory cells when there is no reason to. Chronic inflammation has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease, asthma, cancer, heart disease, Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and Type 2 diabetes.

Autoimmune disorders, exposure to toxins and untreated acute inflammation can all lead to chronic inflammation. There are also some lifestyle factors that may increase your levels of inflammation. Drinking excess alcohol, a high BMI, chronic stress, and smoking can all impact inflammation.

Common symptoms of inflammation include:

Flushed skin at injury site
Pain and tenderness

The most common symptoms of chronic inflammation include:

Abdominal pain
Chest pain
Joint pain
Mouth sores

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An anti-inflammatory diet typically focuses on foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, fatty fish, and herbs and spices like turmeric and ginger, while limiting or avoiding processed foods, added sugars, and unhealthy fats.

Here are the 10 biggest benefits of adopting an anti-inflammatory diet:

It reduces chronic inflammation. This helps prevent and manage inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and psoriasis.
It improves heart health. An anti-inflammatory diet reduces the risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and atherosclerosis.
It promotes better weight management. Some foods in an anti-inflammatory diet, like fruits and vegetables, are low in calories and high in fiber, which can aid in weight management. Maintaining a healthy weight is essential for reducing inflammation.
It improves joint health. People with conditions like osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis may experience reduced pain and improved joint function when following an anti-inflammatory diet.
It boosts your immune system. A diet rich in antioxidants and nutrients can support a robust immune system, helping the body fight off infections and illnesses.
It helps your gut. An anti-inflammatory diet can be beneficial for individuals with conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and Crohn’s disease, as it may reduce gastrointestinal inflammation and discomfort.
It balances blood sugar. Consuming complex carbohydrates and foods with a low glycemic index can help stabilize blood sugar levels, reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes and helping those already diagnosed manage their condition.
It improves cognitive function. Some research suggests that an anti-inflammatory diet may support brain health and lower the risk of cognitive decline and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease.
It can help your skin. Certain skin conditions, such as acne and eczema, may improve when you adopt an anti-inflammatory diet thanks to reduced inflammation.
It aids in cancer prevention. While no diet can guarantee cancer prevention, an anti-inflammatory diet rich in fruits and vegetables, which are high in antioxidants, may reduce the risk of certain types of cancer.

Foods that are naturally anti-inflammatory can do wonders for your body! The following 20 foods are some of the best to add to your anti-inflammatory diet.

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Berries aren’t just beautiful in color; they’re incredibly good for you, too. Of all fruits, they’re packed with the most antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.

Choices like strawberries, blackberries, cranberries, and blueberries have amazing vitamins, minerals, fiber, and polyphenols.

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Berries aren’t the only fruit with great anti-inflammatory benefits. Citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and limes have powerful levels or vitamin C, giber, potassium, calcium, B vitamins, copper, and anti-inflammatory phytochemicals like flavonoids and carotenoids!

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Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine incorporates herbs and spices into their practices regularly as a means to treat a variety of ailments, including inflammation.

Turmeric has compounds with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. It’s even been known to control inflammation, pain, and upper respiratory infections.

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Ginger has so many healing properties. When taken as a supplement, it reduces inflammation in the intestines, and it also aids with digestion. Ginger is known to treat a wide range of diseases with anti-inflammatory responses.

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Garlic is loved by many for its high nutrition and low caloric levels. But it also offers great anti-inflammatory benefits. Garlic contains diallyl disulfide, an anti-inflammatory compound.

If you have sore or inflamed joints and muscles, you can even rub them with garlic oil. Garlic also helps with fighting off common colds and high blood pressure.

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If you love a little green tea as part of your morning routine, you’re in luck! Green tea is packed with antioxidants called catechins, and they reduce inflammation. It has even been known to reduce inflammation-driven conditions like heart disease, Alzheimer’s and certain cancers.

Keep in mind that green tea has lots of natural caffeine, too. This drink is best suited for morning time so you don’t disrupt any sleep patterns.

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Studies have linked vitamin E to cutting the production of cytokine, which is a pro-inflammatory molecule. Dark green vegetables, including spinach, kale, broccoli, and collard greens, offer high amounts of this vitamin.

To get the most out of your veggies, try to eat them raw as much as possible; salads or smoothies are great options. Unsurprisingly, people living in Blue Zones, with the longest life spans in the world, eat all kinds of leafy greens!

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Consuming healthy fats, like nuts, is a great way to fight inflammation. Almonds, in particular, are high in fiber, vitamin E, and calcium. Nuts are one of the most overlooked yet convenient superfoods.

Nuts are full of healthy fats and an excellent source of protein. They’re also packed with vitamins and minerals your body needs, like magnesium, folate, vitamin E, and hard-to-get selenium.

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Walnuts are high in an omega-3 called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) that has been shown to reduce inflammation in cell culture. 

Studies have confirmed that walnuts have strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory functions. They also have large quantities of unsaturated fatty acids, peptides, proteins, and phenolic compounds.

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Omega-3 fatty acids, which are considered pertinent to our health, are known to reduce inflammation in the body. However, our bodies cannot make them ourselves, so we need to incorporate them into our diet regularly.

Oily fish, including salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines, are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which can boost heart health and are excellent sources of protein.

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If you’re familiar with the Mediterranean diet, it shouldn’t surprise you that residents of Ikaria, Greece, love olive oil and other healthy fats. Olive oil is one of the only plant-derived cooking oils and is full of cholesterol-lowering monounsaturated fats.

Olive oil also contains polyphenols, which help reduce the oxidative stress within your body. (Over time, oxidative stress from fried foods, smoke, pollution, and other factors can increase your cancer risk.) The next time you’re preparing a meal, try switching from vegetable or another oil to olive oil.

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Similar to nuts and fatty fish, seeds like chia and flaxseeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids. These are proven inflammation fighters and critical for our overall health. Some of the best ways to incorporate seeds are by adding them to breakfast smoothies, oatmeal, or yogurt.

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Beans are a legume, which is a highly nutrient-dense form of a complex carbohydrate. They give you a slow and steady dose of energy instead of the crash-and-burn you get from refined carbohydrates.

Beans are naturally rich in fiber and protein, loaded with antioxidants, and they keep your digestive habits regular, too. 

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Avocados are a rare fruit filled with vitamin E, a micronutrient with anti-inflammatory effects. They also have a high concentration of anti-inflammatory monounsaturated fat. They’ve even been shown to increase good cholesterol and lower bad cholesterol.

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Tomatoes are a beneficial vegetable that contains tons of nutrients and anti-inflammatory compounds.

For example, tomatoes are rich in lycopene, which is an antioxidant compound that is thought to have anticancer properties in addition to playing a role in skin health.

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Broccoli is absolutely packed with powerful nutrients. It’s rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that protect the body from inflammation. They promote heart health, digestion support, and bone health. Broccoli also contains sulforaphane, a sulfur-containing compound that has potent anti-inflammatory properties.

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Brightly colored foods tend to contain more antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients, and peppers are no different. Bright red peppers contain a chemical compound called capsaicin, which is known to help reduce inflammation.

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Grapes have several powerful properties. They contain anthocyanins, which reduce inflammation. They also have resveratrol, an antioxidant compound with tons of health benefits, including protecting the heart from inflammation. 

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Like some of the other fruits listed above, cherries come packed with a huge punch of benefits. They’re a rich source of polyphenols and vitamin C, which means they have great anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

These benefits are consistent across different cherry products, including fresh cherries, dried cherries, and cherry juice

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Who would have thought dessert could be so good? Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants, giving it anti-inflammatory effects.

The flavanols help reduce inflammation, and the antioxidants help fight inflammation and free radicals. Simply put, a little treat could actually help you stay healthy!

The right anti-inflammatory foods can help boost your overall health and get rid of uncomfortable chronic inflammation side effects. Start incorporating these powerful foods into your diet to reap the benefits for a lifetime!

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From healthy skin to improved memory, check out the top 14 health benefits of cucumbers!

And if you’re lucky enough to have a load from your garden or farmers market on hand, you’ll definitely want to check out some of our favorite cucumber recipes, too.

14 Health Benefits of Cucumbers (And a Few Refreshing Recipes)

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On the hunt for the best quinoa recipes? We don’t blame you! Quinoa—an edible seed and plant-based protein—is known for being a nutritional powerhouse and easy to incorporate into any meal needing a healthy boost.  

Check out our favorite quinoa recipes that are so delicious, you’ll forget how healthy they are!

21 Healthy Quinoa Recipes You’ll Want to Make ASAP

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Whether you’re looking for a reason to add artichokes to your diet once and for all or just another reason to keep eating them, you’ll definitely want to check out their best health benefits!

Plus, we’ve added some delightful recipes to try.

5 Powerful Health Benefits of Artichokes (+ 7 Yummy Recipes!)


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