Anti-inflammatory foods are some of the best things that you can put in your body. From greens, to fruits, to fish, incorporating anti-inflammatory foods into your diet can help you feel better, and make you healthier.
Choosing what foods to put in our bodies requires balancing the foods we crave and the foods that are good for us. That’s part of why I’m such a big fan of anti-inflammatory foods. Anti-inflammatory foods can have a huge impact on your health, and they’re one of the most important things to prioritize in a diet. But the good news is that they’re also delicious! Most anti-inflammatory foods aren’t just good for your body, but also good for your taste buds, so you can prioritize your health without it being a sacrifice.
A lot of my favorite foods have anti-inflammatory properties, which not only help your long-term health, but keep you feeling good on a daily basis. Below you’ll find some of the best anti-inflammatory ingredients, as well as some recipes so that you can incorporate them into your diet.
What Does Anti-Inflammatory Mean?
To understand what anti-inflammatory foods do, we first need to understand what inflammatory foods do. When your immune system notices foreign substances in your body, it causes inflammation. This isn’t always related to food, as chemicals, pollens, and other allergens can cause inflammation.
But it often is the result of what we eat. Foods such as sodas, white bread, red meat, and fried foods will cause inflammation in your body.
What Are the Benefits of Anti-Inflammatory Foods?
Inflammatory foods can cause all sorts of physical and mental health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, weight gain, cancer, and even depression and Alzheimer’s. Anti-inflammatory foods can begin to offset the impact of those inflammatory foods.
The more anti-inflammatory foods you eat, the less inflammation your body will deal with. The less inflammation, the healthier you’ll be in the long term, and the better you’ll feel in the short term. The most common side effects of inflammatory foods are diabetes and heart disease, and a diet full of anti-inflammatory ingredients can go a very long way towards keeping those at bay.
14 Anti-Inflammatory Foods to Eat
Incorporating just a few ingredients that reduce inflammation can dramatically impact your health. Some of these foods are probably already staples in your diet, while others you can add to improve your health, and decrease your risk of diabetes and heart disease. I’m including some recipes for each ingredient, so you can have an easy time working them into your diet.
Avocados are a great example of a healthy fat, and they’re packed full of fiber, too. They have a lot of nutrients that most people don’t get enough of, such as potassium, magnesium, and B6. Avocados are considered a top food for keeping a healthy immune system. It doesn’t hurt that they’re delicious, too!
Recipes with avocados:
Blueberries are not just a great anti-inflammatory ingredient, but a strong antioxidant as well. They have a big impact on bone and skin health, but most importantly, they help with blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, and mental health. While blueberries are the best option, any kind of berry will have strong anti-inflammatory properties.
Recipes with blueberries:
It probably isn’t surprising to learn that broccoli is very healthy for you. Broccoli contains a large number of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. There’s a lot of sulforaphane in broccoli, which helps reduce the chance of cancer.
Recipes with broccoli:
In addition to being full of anti-inflammatory properties, cherries have lots of antioxidants. As a result, they’re one of the best foods you can eat for reducing the effects of aging. Cherries improve your health in almost every way, and they’re popular post-workout foods, because they help with muscle pain and inflammation.
Recipes with cherries:
Chilis are full of capsaicin, which is what gives them their spiciness. It’s also what makes them a great anti-inflammatory ingredient, as capsaicin attacks inflammation. If you’re not a fan of spice, bell peppers are also full of anti-inflammatory properties.
Recipes with chilis:
Coconut oil is another healthy fat. Thanks to the lauric acid in it, coconut oil is not only an anti-inflammatory food, but an antimicrobial and antifungal food as well. Coconut oil is also good for your oral health, skin health, and hair.
Recipes with coconut oil:
- Vegan Coconut Oil Chocolate Chip Cookies
- No Bake Healthy Pumpkin Spice Truffles
- Vegan Coconut Oil Quinoa Granola
I know this is exciting news for a lot of people: dark chocolate is actually good for you (in moderation, of course). Dark chocolate is jam-packed with antioxidants and is also considered a great food for lowering blood pressure. Since dark chocolate usually has a bit of sugar in it, you want to limit your intake of it, but a small amount is very good for you.
Recipes with dark chocolate:
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Like avocados and coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil is a healthy fat. It’s a huge antioxidant, and the oleocanthal in extra virgin olive oil behaves similarly to store-bought anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen.
Recipes with extra virgin olive oil:
- Healthy Green Goddess Salad Dressing
- Spicy Vegan Vodka Sauce with Rigatoni
- The Best Shallot Dressing Recipe
Just as with broccoli, it’s probably not a shocker to learn that leafy greens have a lot of health benefits. Any dark, leafy green, be it spinach, kale, collard greens, or others, will be packed with vitamins and minerals that have strong anti-inflammatory properties.
Recipes with leafy greens:
- Spinach Artichoke Quinoa Casserole
- The Best Collard Wraps with Quinoa and Veggies
- Spicy Raw Kale Chips
Thanks to their high levels of ergothioneine, an amino acid that limits cell damage, mushrooms are one of the best foods that you can eat for decreasing your risk of having cancer. They’re also good for brain health, and can greatly reduce the chance of getting Alzheimer’s.
Recipes with mushrooms:
Nuts of all varieties have tons of anti-inflammatory properties. In particular, nuts help with inflammation around the heart, reducing your chances of heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes. Walnuts are the nut that is considered most anti-inflammatory, but all nuts are good for you.
Recipes with nuts:
- Pumpkin Spice Almond Butter
- Creamy Walnut Pasta with Butternut Squash and Spinach
- Mint Chocolate Energy Balls
Salmon is arguably the healthiest meat that you can eat, in large part because it’s packed with omega-3 fatty acids. These omega-3s increase cell function, and lower your blood pressure and your chance of cancer. Other fatty fishes, like anchovies, sardines, herring, and mackerel, are also very good for you, and possess many anti-inflammatory properties.
Recipes with salmon:
Tomatoes have lots of lycopene, an important antioxidant. Lycopene plays a big role in reducing the risk of both cancer and heart disease. Tomatoes are also one of the best foods that you can eat for your skin health.
Recipes with tomatoes:
- Spicy Tomato Gazpacho
- Vegan Roasted Cherry Tomato Pasta Sauce
- Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Quinoa Soup
It’s no surprise that turmeric is full of health benefits. Most notably, turmeric is believed to have a strong impact on brain function, and on reducing the likelihood of cognitive failure. Turmeric is also thought to help reduce the chance of cancer.
Recipes with turmeric: