The Top 5 Foods to Fight Inflammation

The Food Matters Team THE FOOD MATTERS TEAM

Have you ever sprained your wrist, bumped your head, or had any sort of injury that caused swelling? This sort of inflammation is healthy and the body’s response to injury or infection. 

Conversely, chronic inflammation, or prolonged inflammation, can lead to a host of health issues including heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and even cancer.

Making mindful dietary choices can help mitigate inflammation and promote overall health and well-being. Here are 5 foods you can incorporate into your diet to help decrease chronic inflammation in the body:

1. Turmeric 

Turmeric is a bright yellow spice commonly used in traditional medicine for its potent anti-inflammatory properties. It contains a compound called curcumin, which has been shown to inhibit inflammatory pathways in the body and reduce the production of inflammatory molecules. Studies have shown that curcumin supplementation can alleviate symptoms of inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and metabolic syndrome. Adding turmeric to curries, soups, stir-fries, or smoothies can provide a flavorful way to reduce inflammation and support overall health. It’s best to combine curcumin with agents such as piperine (found in black pepper) to enhance its bioavailability and maximize its anti-inflammatory properties. 

2.  Berries 

Berries such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries are packed with antioxidants called polyphenols, which have anti-inflammatory effects. These compounds help neutralize free radicals and reduce oxidative stress, which mitigates inflammation in the body. One group of polyphenols is called anthocyanins, which are responsible for the color of berries and contain anti-inflammatory properties. Additionally, berries contain fiber and vitamin C, which further support immune function and reduce inflammation. 

 3. Fatty fish

Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, and trout are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which have potent anti-inflammatory properties. Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), help reduce inflammation by inhibiting the production of inflammatory molecules called cytokines and prostaglandins. Regular consumption of fatty fish or omega-3 supplements can decrease levels of inflammatory markers in the body, lowering the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and arthritis. Studies show that our bodies “break these fatty acids down into compounds called resolvins and protectins that help manage inflammation. These compounds limit our inflammatory response and sweep away damaged cells.”[3] We suggest seeking local or wild-caught fish if possible, as high quality fish supports our health, ethics, and environment.

4.  Ginger

Ginger contains bioactive compounds such as gingerol, shogaol, and paradol, which are believed to have anti-inflammatory properties. These compounds have been studied for their ability to inhibit the production of pro-inflammatory molecules in the body, such as cytokines and prostaglandins. Additionally, ginger contains antioxidants, which can help neutralize free radicals and reduce oxidative stress, another factor that contributes to inflammation.

 5. Olive oil

Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), particularly oleic acid, as well as phenolic compounds such as oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol. These components are believed to contribute to olive oil's anti-inflammatory properties. MUFAs have been shown to reduce inflammation by modulating immune responses and decreasing the production of inflammatory cytokines in the body. Incorporating extra virgin olive oil into the diet as a primary fat source can help mitigate inflammation and promote overall health. It's important to choose high-quality, unrefined olive oil, as processing can degrade its beneficial compounds.

If you’re looking for ways to incorporate these 5 powerhouse foods for inflammation into your diet, make sure to check out our recipes HERE, and search the keywords. 


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