Foods that Fight Inflammation

Eating certain foods can contribute to inflammation and disease, but luckily, eating the right foods can help fight inflammation.

Chronic inflammation (persistent inflammation of cells) has been linked to many diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and Alzheimers, and though the foods we eat can contribute to the cause they may also be one of the best medicines.

Does your diet contribute to inflammation?
The foods you are eating may be the root of some major health problems and even contribute to your achy joints. How many of these foods end up on your plate each day?
  • Saturated fats which are found in animal products like meats and dairy.
  • Trans-fats which can be found in processed foods, baked goods and some oils.
  • Sugar: Yes table sugar is important to avoid, but added sugar is the real culprit. Start reading the ingredient lists on the foods you purchase. You will be surprised how many times sugar pops up.
  • Refined carbohydrates which are made with processed, white flour and contain little to no fiber

Moderation is key! Don’t feel like you can never eat dairy, meat or sugar again. The point is to be mindful of how much you are consuming and aim to reduce the amounts of saturated fats and added sugars in our diets day to day. Here are some healthy upgrades to get you started:

  • Reduce saturated fats by choosing low-fat dairy products and lean meats
  • Minimize processed foods and sweets
  • Eat whole foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains

Hungry? Here are some must eat foods that can reduce chronic inflammation:

  • Foods that are rich in omega-3 are key for fighting and preventing inflammation in the body. Try salmon, ahi tuna, sardines, nuts and seeds like flax, chia and hemp.
  • Olive oil, onion, turmeric, garlic and ginger have chemicals that act as a pain reliever and anti-inflammatory --just like ibuprofen.
  • Berries, as well as deep red and purple fruits are loaded with antioxidants and free radical-fighting properties that can aid in the prevention of many different diseases, including chronic inflammation. Deep red and purple fruits as in: blueberries, pomegranates, blackberries, strawberries, cranberries and many others are able to block the chemical pathways that create inflammation in the body as well as prevent cancer.
  • Broccoli, asparagus, carrots and many other deep orange and dark green vegetables are loaded with phyto-nutrients to again, prevent against inflammation as well as cancer and other diseases.
  • All types of tea (sans the sugar of course) have anti-inflammatory properties if you drink 4-5 cups a day.

Overall, a true anti-inflammatory diet is bright, colorful and fresh. Include these festive recipes in your repertoire to reduce inflammation and prevent disease.

Katie Cavuto Boyle, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian, personal chef and owner of HealthyBites, LLC. See Katie's full bio »

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