Anti-inflammatory foods: What to know?

Broccoli is one of the most widely used anti-inflammatory foods


What does an anti-inflammatory diet do? Your immune system becomes activated when the body recognizes anything foreign—such as an invading microbe, plant pollen, or chemical. This frequently activates a process called inflammation. 

However, sometimes inflammation continues, day in and day out, even when you are not threatened by a foreign invader. That's when inflammation can become your enemy. Many major diseases that trouble us—including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, depression, and Alzheimer's—have been linked to chronic inflammation.

What are the top anti-inflammatory foods?

1. Berries

Berries like strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc are small fruits packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Berries contain an antioxidant called anthocyanins which have anti-inflammatory effects that may reduce your risk of several diseases. Your body naturally produces NK cells, and they help your immune system to function properly.

2. Avocados

Avocados are packed with potassium, magnesium, fiber, and heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and also contain carotenoids and tocopherols, which are associated with a reduced risk of cancer. In addition, one compound in avocados may help reduce inflammation in newly forming skin cells.

3. Grapes

Grapes contain anthocyanins, which reduce inflammation. Also, one of the best sources of resveratrol is another antioxidant compound that has various health benefits decreasing the risk of several diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, eye disorders, obesity, and Alzheimer’s.

4. Dark chocolate and cocoa

Dark chocolate is delicious, rich, and satisfying and is packed with antioxidants that help reduce inflammation. These may reduce your risk of various diseases and also act as anti-aging.

Flavanols are responsible for the anti-inflammatory effects in chocolate and help keep the endothelial cells that line your arteries healthy. To reap these anti-inflammatory benefits choose at least 70% cocoa content chocolate — a greater percentage is even better 

5. Tomato

Tomato is a nutritional powerhouse, high in vitamin C, lycopene, and potassium. Lycopene is specifically beneficial for reducing pro-inflammatory compounds related to several types of cancer. Cooking tomatoes in olive oil can help absorb more of their lycopene content because lycopene is a carotenoid, a nutrient that is better absorbed as a source of fat.

6. Broccoli

Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable, along with cauliflower, kale, and Brussels sprouts are extremely nutritious. Eating a lot of cruciferous vegetables is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and cancer.

Broccoli is rich in sulforaphane which is an antioxidant that decreases inflammation by reducing your levels of cytokines and nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB), which are molecules that drive inflammation in your body.

7. Green tea

You might have heard that green tea is one of the healthiest beverages you can drink. And that's completely true. Research has found that drinking green tea is linked with a reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, obesity, and various other conditions.

Many of its benefits are due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, especially a substance called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). EGCG slows down inflammation by reducing pro-inflammatory cytokine production and damage to the fatty acids in your cells.

9. Extra virgin olive oil

Extra virgin olive oil is one of the healthiest fats you can eat which is rich in monounsaturated fats. Extra virgin olive oil is shown to have a reduced risk of heart disease, brain cancer, and other serious health conditions.

The effect of oleocanthal, an antioxidant found in olive oil, has been compared to many anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen.

Foods that cause inflammation

Try to avoid or limit all these foods as much as possible:

  • Refined carbs like white bread and pastries
  • French fries and other fried foods
  • Soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages
  • Red meat and processed meat 
  • Margarine, shortening, and lard

        What is an anti-inflammatory diet?

        To reduce levels of inflammation opt for an overall healthy diet. If you're looking for an eating plan that closely follows the belief of anti-inflammatory eating, consider the Mediterranean diet, which is high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, fish, and healthy oils.

        In addition to lowering inflammation, a more natural, less processed diet can have visible effects on your physical and emotional health. Eating a healthy diet is beneficial not only for reducing the risk of chronic diseases but also for improving mood and overall quality of life.

        What Are Natural Anti-Inflammatories?

        Here is a list of a few natural anti-inflammatories:

        • Turmeric
        • Ginger
        • Green tea
        • Olive oil
        • Dark green leafy vegetables
        • Onions
        • Dark chocolate

        Take Away

        The basic rule for an anti-inflammatory diet can be helpful to anyone. If you don't know where to begin, speak to your nutritionist. But it's important to remember that diet alone cannot prevent or treat any health condition, whether it be diabetes or high blood pressure. It is also important to exercise regularly, stop smoking, lose weight if needed, and take any medications your doctor prescribes.


        Is coffee acceptable on an anti-inflammatory diet?

        Yes, coffee can be accepted on an anti-inflammatory diet, as it is contains antioxidants such as polyphenols that help fight the free radicals.

        Are eggs inflammatory?

        No, eggs contain certain compounds that may have anti-inflammatory properties.


        Anti-inflammatory diet: What to know. By Medical News Today, Dec 23, 2022.

        Anti-inflammatory diet 101. By Healthline, Feb 16, 2023.

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