List of Anti Inflammatory Foods: Your Beginner’s Guide to a Wellness Diet
The next time you go grocery shopping, take this list of anti inflammatory foods with you! If you’re reading this article, you probably already know that what we eat matters and that a low inflammation diet can help us naturally feel better. Now days, many of us are battling excess inflammation in our body. Almost all diseases have a common origin in inflammation, and inflammation is actually the body’s attempt to protect itself. However, if inflammation is triggered persistently and for prolonged periods of time, chronic inflammation is the result. This condition is detrimental to your overall health.
By eating more natural anti inflammatory foods, we can move toward decreasing our inflammation and increasing our energy level. Decreasing bodily inflammation will begin the healing process of removing harmful stimuli such as irritants, damaged cells and pathogens.
From the list of anti inflammatory foods below, select proteins, fruits and vegetables to add into your daily diet. Also consider natural anti inflammatory supplements like Curcumin, high quality fish oils and Green Tea Extract to optimize the benefits from your anti inflammatory foods.
List of anti inflammatory foods and natural anti inflammatory supplements:
Anti Inflammatory Proteins:
Fatty fish, such as salmon
These fish contain Omega 3 Fatty Acids, which cut inflammation in the body when eaten frequently and cooked in a healthy way. Often, the best way to consume optimal amounts of Omega 3’s is by taking it in supplement form each day.
Chicken and Turkey
These white meats are a good compromise over consuming red meats, but they are by no means the best anti inflammatory foods. Choose organic chicken and turkey whenever possible.
Black beans (and other beans)
Black beans contain flavonoids and phytochemical compounds, which act as antioxidants and anti inflammatories.
Nuts, like almonds and walnuts
Due to the nuts’ combination of nutrients, including Omega 3 fatty acids, these nuts reduce inflammation and help your body maintain optimal health.
Soy contains isoflavones that have anti inflammatory benefits. However, avoid meat imitations and veer towards tempeh, edamame, tofu and soy nuts.
Low fat dairy
Moderate intake of low fat dairy products like greek yogurt can actually guard against inflammation. Try to avoid milk and ice creams and choose healthier options if you must have dairy.
The fibers found in lentils protect the digestive lining and cooking with them is an easy to way to introduce the spices and vegetables that are also included on this list of anti inflammatory foods.
Anti Inflammatory Grains:
Consider brown rice, black rice, red rice and bulgur wheat and cut out refined carbohydrates like pasta and white rice to reduce inflammation.
Buckwheat is rich is rutin, which fights inflammatory conditions such as arthritis.
A breakfast of toasted steel cut oats is high in polyphenols and inhibits inflammation triggers in the body.
Quinoa is known to contain many anti inflammatory supporting nutrients such as flavonoids and saponins.
Anti Inflammatory Fruits:
Berries, like blueberries, strawberries and tart cherries
The powerful chemicals that give these berries their colors is called anthocyanins, which helps protect against intestinal inflammation.
Citrus like oranges, limes, lemons and grapefruits
These fruits are rich in Vitamin C and also contain nutrients that have properties similar to non steroidal anti inflammatory medications.
This natural anti inflammatory is rich in carotenes, Vitamin C and flavonoids. In addition, papaya contains papain that is an enzyme that treats injuries in the body.
Anti Inflammatory Vegetables:
The lignans in fresh cucumbers help scavenge free radicals and reduce inflammation both internally and topically.
Dark leafy greens, like kale, kelp, spinach and swiss chard
These greens are high in natural antioxidants and polyphenol, which are protective compounds found in plants.
The rich red color of this cabbage contains more protective phytonutrients than its green counterpart. Red cabbage has additional nutritional benefits and as an added bonus, it boasts a more robust taste.
Saponins, which reduce inflammation, are found not only in the shoot but also the root portion of the asparagus found in the United States.
Carrots help in the maintenance of the acid-alkaline balance in the body, which when balanced properly, reduces inflammation.
This vegetable family includes bok choy, cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts and broccoli. These have a high concentration of phenolic antioxidants and are known to destroy free radicals in the body.
Avocados are a rich source of anti inflammatory Omega 9 fatty acids.
These peppers are rich in carotenoids, which provide anti inflammatory and antioxidant health benefits.
Lycopene, which is found in tomatoes, has recently been shown to exhibit anti inflammatory activity.
Due to the color pigemented flesh, mainly beta carotene, the sweet potato is a powerful anti inflammatory.
Anti Inflammatory Spices and Flavorings:
Turmeric (and other spices in curry powder)
This might be a good time to point out the difference between turmeric and curcumin, as many folks believe they can get the anti inflammatory benefits of turmeric by simply using ample amounts in their cooking. While adding turmeric to your culinary creations will introduce rich flavor, there simply isn’t enough of the active anti inflammatory compound (curcumin) in turmeric. This is because only three percent of turmeric contains the anti inflammatory curcuminoids; for example, if you tried to add an entire gram of turmeric to your vegetable soup recipe, you would only be consuming 30mg of the anti inflammatory compounds that your body needs. Check out this explanation of the difference between turmeric and curcumin along with some helpful tips on how to read and interpret curcumin supplement labels.
Apple cider vinegar
By improving circulation in the veins’ walls, apple cider vinegar flushes out the system of toxins and thereby reduces inflammation.
Ginger contains potent compounds called gingerols, which have a similar effect to the inflammation reduction derived from nonsteroidal anti inflammatory drugs.
Garlic and onions
Both garlic and onions have the ability to reduce inflammation. Onions contain quercetin and anthocyanins, which are contained closer to the paper thin skin. Keep this in mind when preparing onions for cooking. Garlic has the ability to stimulate the lymphatic system which aids in the removal of inflammation and waste in the body.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra Virgin Olive Oil contains the phenolic compound oleocanthal and other phenolic compounds which all exert potent anti inflammatory actions. Consider Extra Virgin Olive Oil as an improved daily cooking oil and salad dressing base.
The lignans in flaxseed contains valuable Omega 3’s, which lowers cholesterol and reduces inflammation.
Dark chocolate contains flavanols and consumption of this chocolate produces anti inflammatory compounds in the body.
Resveratrol, which is present in red wine, inhibits inflammation and had therapeutic potential when it comes to stress relief and cardiovascular health.
Natural Anti Inflammatory Supplements:
Curcumin is the natural anti inflammatory extract of turmeric that attacks inflammation at the cellular level. It is one of the most researched natural anti inflammatories and 95% pure Curcuminoids should be taken daily as part of a wellness regimen.
Because we cannot consume the amount of fish needed to supply our bodies with optimal amounts of Omega 3, a good quality fish oil should be taken daily.
Green Tea Extract
Polyphenols, plant derived compounds that boost immune defense, are found in high concentrations in green tea and neutralize free radicals in the body.
When taken in its liquid form, Vitamin D is a natural anti inflammatory and is needed for peak immune performance, whether combating pain or fighting a common cold.
Vitamin K reduces levels of inflammatory markers throughout the body.
The most important ingredients in your anti inflammatory diet
The most important ingredients are gentleness and kindness toward yourself. It might sound funny, but we really can’t emphasize self-compassion enough. When we’re really honest with ourselves, I think most of us would agree that big nutritional changes can be pretty challenging to implement, and like most things that are challenging to implement, we won’t “get it right” all the time.
Start out by being proud of yourself for exploring natural ways to heal your body. You’re here! That’s a real accomplishment!
Accept the fact that wellness is a journey, not a destination. You might stumble a bit along the way, but don’t be hard on yourself and most importantly, don’t give up. So you had a day that included chocolate cake, a glass of wine, and french fries? Sure, your body is likely cringing a bit, but remember that right now is the best moment to make a good nutritional choice. All is not lost!
Most importantly, always remember that you are not alone on your journey to wellness! We are all rooting for your success. Today is the perfect day to start your anti inflammation diet and we hope that this list of anti inflammatory foods is a helpful reference for you!