Inflammation is a part of so many health conditions and a huge part of our treatment is seeking out anti-inflammatories to ease our pain and discomfort. The interconnectedness of our bodies with the bacteria and fungi that live in them is important to note. It seems obvious that what we eat affects how we feel, but our modern (generally terrible) diets are causing us so many problems with inflammatory conditions that just by eating the foods that reduce inflammation, we can make ourselves substantially healthier. There is a lot of dietary nonsense out there, so we have tried to use only real data in our articles. Here are 10 of the best foods that reduce inflammation.
Tomatoes contain lycopene, a carotenoid that has been found to have many health benefits, including cancer prevention, cardiovascular health, and anti-inflammatory effects. The exact mechanism lycopene achieves this remarkable feat is not well known, but it is thought to be through inducing immune cell death. Do not worry, this is a natural process and will not rid you of all your immune cells. Lycopene will help to keep the numbers of immune cells at the right level, if you have chronic inflammation conditions, tomatoes could help a lot. Plus, they are delicious.
Packed with phenols, virgin olive oil is strongly associated with improved health. For a long time, fatty foods were “out” and low-fat (basically full of sugar) foods were “in”. The health of people who ate lots of high-fat foods like olive oil did a lot to change this view, however. It turns out that virgin olive oil, when fresh, has strong anti-inflammatory properties. It is less beneficial when it is cooked, so as a dip, mixed with balsamic vinegar, or just drunk raw, olive oil is ideal.
Very rich in antioxidants like anthocyanins, polyphenols, and catechins, both sweet and sour cherries are thought to be a very healthy choice for an anti-inflammatory diet. Even preserved cherries have some benefits, though they are very sugary.
The health benefits of green tea have been talked about for years, now the science is catching up. Full of catechins (like cherries), which act as powerful anti-inflammatories, green tea is a healthy and low-caffeine drink that makes a good alternative to coffee.
Turmeric has been used for thousands of years as an anti-inflammatory and overall health booster. It seems to protect against cancer and neurodegenerative conditions, mostly through the anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin, one of the active ingredients. There are other anti-inflammatories in turmeric, including elemine, turmerin, and turmerone. Nobody knows exactly how they work but they do seem to work.
Studies have shown that diets rich in soy and green tea reduce inflammation significantly. Soy products are good alternatives to dairy and meat, and so can form a part of a more environmentally friendly diet as well as an anti-inflammatory one.
Nuts like betel, Brazil, peanuts, cashews, walnuts, pistachios, pine nuts, and almonds are all great sources of proteins, fibre, and nutrients. As well as being good meat alternatives, depending on the nut, they are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, low-density lipoproteins, lutein, and ALA, all powerful anti-inflammatories.
Chocolate and cocoa
Chocolate is rich in polyphenols, which are strongly protective of the cardiovascular system and can modulate the immune system to reduce inflammation. Dark chocolate has a lot of flavanols, which are also very good for the cardiovascular system. The more cocoa in the chocolate, the better.
Mushrooms are emerging as anti-inflammatory foods. Edible truffles contain syringaldehyde and syringic acid, both effective anti-inflammatories. Most mushrooms have high concentrations of phenols, like pyrogallol, which are very useful for reducing inflammation and maintaining good immune system health through their inhibition of nitrous oxides and luciferase activity.
Red cabbage contains phelolics, flavonoids, and anthocyanins, all powerful anti-inflammatories. These are many of the pigments that give the cabbage its colour; it is thought that strongly coloured brassicas could be better anti-inflammatories because of their higher relative concentrations of these pigments. Pickled cabbage like kimchi is very strongly beneficial to immune health and reducing chronic inflammation.
If you are looking for foods that reduce inflammation, it is not all doom and gloom. There are plenty of healthy and tasty options for you to try. Generally, cutting down on sugar and trans-fats will help reduce inflammation, but promoting healthy gut flora with high fibre, low-glycaemic index foods is one of the best ways to do this.All the foods listed above have at least some scientific evidence that suggests they should be a part of an anti-inflammatory diet. Foods that reduce inflammation are common, cheap, more environmentally friendly, and better for all round health than alternatives. Most of them are delicious when prepared right (chocolate is delicious however you prepare it, of course). Foods that reduce inflammation do not need to be boring and you should have enough choice to keep eating foods you want to eat at the same time as getting all your anti-inflammatories.