The Best Foods to Fight Inflammation
Filling up on these anti-inflammatory foods may help ease the pain associated with arthritis.
Foods That Fight Inflammation
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have found that a chemical in extra-virgin olive oil, oleocanthal, inhibits inflammatory enzymes in the same way that ibuprofen does. Drizzle olive oil on veggies and salads, and other foods that fight inflammation.
Bromelain, a protein-digesting enzyme, makes this tropical fruit one of the most potent foods that fight inflammation. One 2002 study suggested that bromelain might reduce knee pain in otherwise healthy adults, although the study was not placebo controlled. Other research in people, animals, and laboratory-grown cells suggest that bromelain supplements may reduce pain and inflammation in knee osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, and after dental surgery. One study found that an enzyme supplement containing bromelain reduced carpal tunnel symptoms.
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These popular fruits are just one of the many foods that fight inflammation because they contain quercetin, an anti-inflammatory antioxidant. No wonder one a day keeps the doctor away!
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Nuts and seeds
Various nuts and seeds have a good amount of magnesium, l-arginine and vitamin E, and studies have found that eating nuts can decrease the amounts of inflammatory biomarkers in the body. The Arthritis Foundation specifically recommends walnuts, peanuts, almonds, pistachios, flax seed, and chia seeds for their anti-inflammatory properties.
Green leafy vegetables, including kale, chard, bok choy, and silverbeet are anti-inflammatory foods because they’re packed with anti-inflammatory carotenoids, which are plant pigments that give green and orange produce their vibrant colour.
Yes, you read that correctly. Dark chocolate contains chemicals that help fight inflammation. According to a large Italian study, people who ate about one square of dark chocolate every three days had significantly lower measures of a protein associated with inflammation than those who ate no chocolate at all.
Brown rice and other whole grains containing fibre can help fight inflammation. Fibre can help lower c-reactive protein, a substance found in the blood produced by the liver in response to inflammation.
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Chomp on some grapes or mulberries for a dose of resveratrol. Research shows that resveratrol supplements inhibit inflammatory enzymes in much the same way aspirin does (but without the stomach irritation). Grapes also have anthocyanins that may help reduce inflammation, too.
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Cherries contain chemicals called anthocyanins, which give berries their blue and red colours and fight inflammation in the same way aspirin does. Raspberries and strawberries are also anti-inflammatory foods.
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Onions and garlic
Foods that fight inflammation like this family of bulb vegetables (particularly garlic) are high in anti-inflammatory substances, as well as sulfur compounds, that help stimulate the immune system to keep everything running smoothly.
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Green and black tea
Tea is rich in antioxidants or flavonoids, which may protect against cell damage that can worsen conditions such as arthritis. Research shows it also contains a chemical that fights inflammation, so consider swapping that morning cup of joe for a green tea instead.
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This vegetable contains vitamins C and K, folate, fibre, and antioxidants. Broccoli, high in sulforaphane, may fight inflammation by reducing your levels of cytokines, research suggests. Other fruits and vegetables rich in sulforaphane include kale, cabbage, bok choy, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and more.
Oily fish such as salmon, trout, and anchovies, along with walnuts, linseeds, pumpkin seeds, olive oil, and canola oil contain omega-3 fatty acids that make them powerful anti-inflammatory foods.
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Research shows that soy food consumption is related to lowering inflammation. It’s tough to eat that much pure soy protein a day, but it is still worth adding a serving of soya beans, tofu, or soy milk to your daily food intake.
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Mushrooms have a variety of compounds that can help fight inflammation, specifically phenols and other antioxidants, research shows. A special mushroom type, lion’s mane, may also have some inflammation-fighting benefits, too.
Gut health has links with inflammation, so it’s important to consume fermented foods such as sauerkraut, yogurt, and kimchi as part of an anti-inflammatory diet. The health benefits of fermented foods go well beyond inflammation, too. Research also shows they could help lower blood pressure, although more research is still necessary on the topic.
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Although the perfect ripeness window is small with this fruit, it’s worth gambling on avocados since they contain so many nutrients. Compounds like carotenoids and tocopherols in avocados, among others, protect against inflammation and could also reduce your risk of heart disease, research shows.
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According to the Arthritis Foundation, beans could lower an indicator of inflammation found in the blood. The best beans for fighting inflammation include small red beans, red kidney beans, and pinto beans.
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