Foods that have anti-inflammatory effects

About inflammation

Inflammation occurs naturally as part of the body’s immune response. When your body is fighting an infection or injury, it sends inflammatory cells to the rescue resulting in those classic signs — swelling, redness, and sometimes pain. That’s completely normal and natural. But when it happens too often it can trigger diseases. Experts link long-term (chronic) inflammation to:


Heart disease


Alzheimer’s disease


You can lower your risk of chronic inflammation with changes to what you eat.

Relevancy of anti-inflammatory diet in treating inflammation

Taking medication for chronic pain only when necessary is probably also a good idea, since many drugs come with unpleasant side effects, like fogginess, sleepiness, and memory loss.

While medication and other treatments are important, many experts say an anti-inflammatory diet may help, too. If you have a condition like rheumatoid arthritis, changing what’s on your plate won’t be a magic cure. But an anti-inflammatory diet might lessen the number of flare-ups you have, or it might help take your pain down a few notches.

About anti-inflammatory diet

An anti-inflammatory diet focuses on fresh fruits and vegetables. Also, many plant-based foods are good sources of antioxidants.

Dietary antioxidants are molecules in food that help remove free radicals from the body. Free radicals are the natural byproducts of some bodily processes, including metabolism. However, external factors, such as stress and smoking, can increase the number of free radicals in the body.

Free radicals can lead to cell damage. This damage increases the risk of inflammation and can contribute to a range of diseases.

The body creates some antioxidants that help it remove these toxic substances, but dietary antioxidants also help.

Which foods anti-inflammatory diet favours?

An anti-inflammatory diet favors foods that are rich in antioxidants over those that increase the production of free radicals.

An anti-inflammatory diet favors fruits and vegetables, foods containing omega-3 fatty acids, whole grains, lean protein, healthful fats, and spices. Conversely, it discourages or limits the consumption of processed foods, red meats, and alcohol.

Omega-3 fatty acids, which are present in oily fish, may help reduce the levels of inflammatory proteins in the body. Fiber can also have this effect, according to the Arthritis Foundation.

The anti-inflammatory diet is not a specific regimen but rather a style of eating. Moreover, the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet are examples of anti-inflammatory diets.

What Are Natural Anti-Inflammatories?

Natural anti-inflammatories are foods that you can eat to lower your odds of having inflammation. If you have a condition that causes inflammation, it may help to change your eating habits.

An anti-inflammatory diet is widely regarded as healthy. Even if it doesn’t help with your condition, it can help lower your chances of having other problems.

How an Anti-Inflammatory Diet Works?

Brittany Scanniello, RD, a nutritionist based in Boulder, Colorado, says to think of the anti-inflammatory diet as a lifestyle rather than a diet. “An anti-inflammatory diet is an eating plan that works to reduce or minimize low-grade inflammation within our bodies,” she says.

Ideally, you would eat eight to nine servings of fruits and veggies per day, limit your intake of red meat and dairy, choose complex carbohydrates over simple ones, and swear off processed foods.

You’ll want to choose foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids — including anchovies, salmon, halibut, and mussels — rather than omega-6 fatty acids, which are found in corn oil, vegetable oil, mayonnaise, salad dressings, and many processed foods.

She says the anti-inflammatory diet could be especially helpful for someone who’s dealing with chronic inflammation as a result of a health condition. Athletes and people who exercise at a high intensity and are looking to lessen their baseline inflammation could also find it beneficial, she says.

Anti-inflammatory foods

Here are foods that can help you reduce inflammation. These are


olive oil

green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and collards

nuts like almonds and walnuts

fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines

fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges

Vegetables, especially broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and bok choy


Green tea





Dark chocolate and cocoa


Whole grains: Oatmeal, brown rice, whole-wheat bread, and other unrefined grains.

Dried fruit, like plums (prunes)

Plant-based proteins, such as chickpeas, seitan, and lentils


Seeds, such as chia seeds and flaxseed


Red wine (in moderation) 


What Are the Possible Health Benefits of Following an Anti-Inflammatory Diet?

Following an anti-inflammatory diet has been shown to help people with:

Autoimmune disorders including RA and MS

Heart disease

Cancer, including breast cancer and colorectal cancer

Alzheimer’s disease


Pulmonary disease


What Are Inflammatory Foods To Stay Away From?

Inflammatory foods are highly refined or processed, and they contain a high amount of saturated fats. Processed meats like hot dogs and lunch meats, and deep-fried vegetables and meats are inflammatory. Same goes for whole milk and whole milk dairy products, so look for lower fat options. Furthermore, refined carbs and simple sugars like white bread, candy, pastries, soda, sugar, honey, and high fructose corn syrup are also inflammatory, as they cause blood sugar spikes that trigger inflammation. “Overconsumption of these foods have been linked to heart disease, diabetes, cancer and obesity,” says Nancy Park, a registered dietitian nutritionist with Henry Ford Health System.

In addition, people may find it beneficial to limit their intake of the following:

Gluten: Some people experience an inflammatory reaction when they consume gluten. A gluten-free diet can be restrictive, and it is not suitable for everyone. However, if a person suspects that gluten is triggering symptoms, they may wish to consider eliminating it for a while to see if their symptoms improve.

Nightshades: Plants belonging to the nightshade family, such as tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, and potatoes, seem to trigger flares in some people with inflammatory diseases. There is limited evidence to confirm this effect, but a person can try cutting nightshades from the diet for 2–3 weeks to see if their symptoms improve.


The anti-inflammatory diet is a healthy approach to eating, whether you suffer from chronic inflammation or not. Subsequently, an anti-inflammatory diet may help reduce inflammation and improve symptoms of some common health conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis. There is no single anti-inflammatory diet, but a diet that includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthful fats may help manage inflammation.

Even low levels of inflammation on a chronic basis can lead to disease. Subsequently, you can lower your risk of chronic inflammation with changes to what you eat. So, do your best to keep inflammation in check by choosing a wide variety of delicious, antioxidant-rich foods. Everyone can benefit from a diet plan such as this anti-inflammatory diet, and Brittany Scanniello especially have found it helpful in populations with chronic inflammation and health conditions.


  1. The 13 Most Anti-Inflammatory Foods You Can Eat. Written by Franziska Spritzler on December 19, 2019 — Medically reviewed by Atli Arnarson BSc, PhD.
  2. Natural Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Reviewed by Hansa D. Bhargava, MD on August 11, 2020.
  3. A Comprehensive Guide to an Anti-Inflammatory Diet.By Moira Lawler.Medically Reviewed by Lynn Grieger, RDN, CDCES.Reviewed: June 29, 2020.
  4. Anti-inflammatory diet: What to know. Medically reviewed by Katherine Marengo LDN, R.D. — Written by Jenna Fletcher on January 3, 2020.
  5. The Health Benefits Of An Anti-Inflammatory Diet.Posted on July 13, 2020 by Henry Ford Health System Staff.

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