Inflammation is your body’s way of protecting itself against foreign invaders like viruses, bacteria, and allergens.
However, it becomes a problem when inflammation becomes chronic or goes overboard.
Chronic inflammation is implicated in various health conditions, including arthritis, asthma, heart disease, cancer, and dementia.
Acute and exaggerated inflammation is a cause of pain and damages the affected tissue instead of solving a problem.
Fortunately, inflammation can improve with the right diet.
In this article, we will share with you the top 10 anti-inflammatory foods you should include every day or as much as possible to fix that problem naturally.
10 natural anti-inflammatory foods
Plenty of fruits, vegetables, spices, nuts, and seeds contain natural anti-inflammatory agents. But some are better than others.
Here’s a list of the top 10 foods that are anti-inflammatory agents:
Broccoli is a potent anti-inflammatory because it has vitamin C, other anti-inflammatory vitamins, and glucosinolates.
Eating foods with vitamin C has several health benefits, including reducing oxidative stress, which is linked to chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Broccoli contains more vitamin C than any other vegetable, so it’s an excellent choice to add to your diet.
Broccoli also contains glucosinolates, which are compounds that give broccoli its bitter taste. These compounds have anti-inflammatory effects, so eating broccoli may help to reduce your risk for chronic inflammation.
Broccoli is also a good source of fiber and nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin K, folate, potassium, and manganese.
Blueberries are one of the best anti-inflammatory foods because they have flavonoids, anthocyanins, phenolic acids, and tannins. This combination of anti-inflammatory benefits gives blueberries the edge over many other fruits and vegetables.
Blueberries contain anthocyanins which fight against free radicals, reduce DNA damage, and reduce inflammation. This is why blueberries can lower blood pressure, prevent cancer, and reduce inflammation.
Flavonoids, phenolic acids, and tannins in blueberries also have anti-inflammatory effects. Flavonoids help to increase your body’s natural antioxidant defense, which blocks free-radical damage and inflammation.
Kales contain lutein, zeaxanthin, and glucosinolates with anti-inflammatory potential. It is a good source of fiber and is low in calories.
Kale is an excellent addition to salads or soups, especially in winter when other greens are unavailable.
Besides anti-inflammatory and antioxidant substances, kale contains plenty of micronutrients, including vitamins A, C, and K, iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and zinc.
According to several studies, oranges are highly anti-inflammatory. They are commonly consumed because of their high nutritional content. However, oranges have even more health benefits than are widely known.
Oranges are high in antioxidant content, vitamin C, and a flavonoid known as narirutin.
Studies have shown that vitamin C and narirutin are anti-inflammatory and may help heal damaged tissues. As antioxidants, they are also an essential part of maintaining a healthy body and staving off disease.
Oranges are also low in calories and contain no saturated fat, making them a healthy addition to any diet. Studies have shown that oranges aid weight loss and may be effective in reducing levels of anxiety and depression.
Salmon is one of the best fatty fish you can have, with potent anti-inflammatory properties from omega 3. Salmon contains high amounts of vitamin D and other minerals like potassium, phosphorous, and iron.
Vitamin D fights the flu and infections, and these nutrients help boost the immune system. Recent studies say it may even help patients with osteoarthritis.
6) Green tea
Green tea can be found in infusions or as an anti-inflammatory supplement with several benefits. It contains a polyphenol known as epigallocatechin gallate (or EGCG), a potent anti-inflammatory agent.
EGCG is also a strong antioxidant that can help prevent cellular damage, improve cardiovascular health, and help prevent certain types of cancer.
Green tea also contains other compounds thought to be beneficial to your health. These include theanine, epicatechin, and gallic acid.
Theanine is a compound that increases the production of alpha brain waves associated with relaxation and focus. It also helps to fight anxiety and stress. Epicatechin is another antioxidant known to increase the rate of metabolism and burn fat.
7) Bell peppers
Bell peppers are highly anti-inflammatory due to the combination of vitamin C and quercetin. It can reduce inflammation and pain from arthritis due to its vitamin C and phytonutrients.
Quercetin is a natural compound found in fruits and vegetables. These quercetin compounds are natural remedies for inflammation. It works by targeting a molecule known as NF-kB, which triggers the production of inflammation.
Bell peppers are loaded with vitamin C. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals and protects the body from oxidative stress.
Free radicals can play a role in the development of arthritis and other types of inflammatory disease.
Turmeric is the most anti-inflammatory spice due to a component called curcumin. It is also one of the best supplements for inflammation.
This compound reduces inflammation within the body, which is the core cause of many chronic diseases.
Curcumin also fights free radicals, which are other molecules considered one of the leading causes of diseases.
Despite its potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, turmeric is not commonly found in most foods. However, it is widely used in Asian cuisine and can be added to most dishes.
Turmeric reduces the production of amyloid proteins, which are toxic proteins linked to Alzheimer’s disease. It prevents the formation of plaques in the brain, which are caused by the accumulation of amyloid proteins.
9) Olive oil
Olive oil contains an anti-inflammatory substance known as oleocanthal, which has been compared to ibuprofen in studies about inflammation.
The substance helps to reduce inflammation and can be performed simply by adding one tablespoon of olive oil to a pan of sauteed vegetables.
It also helps reduce pain and inflammation by acting on certain enzymes and proteins in your body and can help reduce your risk of stroke and heart disease.
Moreover, olive oil is delicious and easy to add to your foods. You should use extra virgin, cold-pressed, and unrefined olive oil.
Olive oil that is cold pressed and unrefined is considered the highest quality oil and contains high levels of inflammation-reducing agents.
Tomatoes contain vitamin C, lycopene, and many other anti-inflammatory agents. They also contain vitamins A, B, and E and numerous minerals like iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium.
They contain antioxidants known as flavonols that prevent cancers and heart diseases.
What is the fastest way to reduce inflammation naturally?
There are different types of inflammation. There is localized inflammation, which is more common and usually happens after injuries or localized infection. But there is also systemic inflammation, which is common in obese patients and severe infections.
Systemic inflammation takes a very long to be reduced and requires anti-inflammatory foods and medicines, losing weight, and sometimes antibiotic treatment. Compared to that, localized inflammation is much easier to handle.
Here are a few tips to reduce inflammation naturally and fast:
- If you have localized pain after an injury, ice is one of the best natural remedies for inflammation. Ice will shrink the blood vessels and reduce contact with inflammatory substances.
- Use herbal preparations to soothe inflammation and pain, such as arnica, calendula, and eucalyptus.
- Change your eating pattern and introduce the anti-inflammatory foods and spices mentioned above.
- Use over-the-counter anti-inflammatory agents such as ibuprofen and other NSAIDs as instructed by your healthcare provider.
- You can also use natural anti-inflammatory supplements with the components listed above and others.
What can make inflammation worse?
Some foods can make the problem worse, and if you’re trying to counter inflammation naturally, you will be better off without these foods in your meals:
- Saturated fats and trans fats
- Processed foods
- Refined carbohydrates
- Red meat
- Foods with gluten contents (bread, cakes, pies, bakery, cookies)
We have gone through a thorough list of natural anti-inflammatory foods, including leafy greens, fruits, protein sources, and spices. There are many options, and these natural anti-inflammatory food sources are also filled with macro and micronutrients.
It is difficult to say which is the strongest or the best natural anti-inflammatory food, but the highest ranks are probably for blueberries and turmeric.
These can be used as home remedies to reduce inflammation, and you can sometimes find them as a supplement, too.