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Updated: Dec 22, 2022

Inflammation, if you need a quick refresher, is your body's natural

response against damage. In many cases, this can be a good thing

(for example, if there is actual damage). But in many cases, the

inflammatory response is activated unnecessarily, leading to an

inflammatory response when there is nothing to fight. This, in turn,

causes all sorts of health problems, from short-term irritations like

fatigue and skin irritation to serious conditions like arthritis, diabetes

and cancer.

One of the things that can trigger your body's inflammatory system is

your diet. So, an anti-inflammatory diet is, as the name implies, a diet

that avoids foods that cause inflammation, while including foods that

can dampen inflammation.

To understand how diet is related to inflammation, you must learn

about something called free radicals. Free radicals are not always

bad. In fact, some of our bodily processes, such as metabolism,

produce free radicals naturally and we can manage them without

negative consequences. But other factors, such as stress, smoking

and poor diet, can increase free radicals, and too many free radicals

lead to cell damage and, you guessed it, inflammation.

This is where diet comes in: one of the best ways to reduce free

radicals is through antioxidants, because dietary antioxidants can

scavenge free radicals from the body! Pretty cool, huh? Other foods,

like things that are repeatedly heated in cooking oil, can trigger free

radical formation.

So, at a high level, an anti-inflammatory diet is one that reduces free

radicals in your body through antioxidants. But there are also a

handful of other principles that inform the best anti-inflammatory diet choices.

The 13 most anti-inflammatory foods

We now know that the best anti-inflammatory diet includes

unprocessed organic foods packed with antioxidants, healthy fats and

fiber. But what does that look like, specifically?

We've got you. While there are many anti-inflammatory foods out

there (really, the colorful produce tip above should be your new

grocery store mantra), we've rounded up the 14 most powerful:


Avocados are packed with healthy monounsaturated fats, which helps

decrease your body's inflammatory response. A 2013 study even

found that the anti-inflammatory effect of avocados is so strong that

it neutralizes other unhealthy food choices (i.e., if you eat a burger

with avocado, you'll have less inflammation than if you eat the burger



Fruits like strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries

contain anthocyanins, a type of antioxidant that has an anti-

inflammatory effect and can reduce the risk of disease (plus, they're



Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli have been shown to reduce the

risk of heart disease and cancer, likely due to their antioxidant

content. Broccoli specifically contains an antioxidant called

sulforaphane, which reduces levels of cytokines (proteins that signal

your inflammatory response into action). Other cruciferous vegetables

include cauliflower, kale and Brussels sprouts.

Dark chocolate and cocoa:

Who knew antioxidants could taste so indulgent? Dark chocolate and

cocoa owe their anti-inflammatory properties to their high content of

flavonols, a type of flavonoid with antioxidant properties. Just

remember that not all chocolate is anti-inflammatory (in fact, some

types of chocolate are inflammatory foods that you should avoid due

to their high sugar content). To reap the benefits, be sure to choose

dark chocolate that is at least 70% cocoa.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil:

Like avocados, EVOO contains healthy fats that can dampen the

inflammatory response. One study found that people who consumed

1.7 ounces of olive oil a day saw their inflammatory markers

significantly reduced, while other research has made comparisons

between oleocanthal (an antioxidant in olive oil) and anti-

inflammatory drugs. Just be sure to choose extra virgin olive oil and

not refined!

Fatty fish such as salmon (wild!), mackerel and sardines:

These types of fish are excellent sources of long-chain omega-3 fatty

acids EPA and DHA, which reduce inflammation that can lead to a

number of diseases, including heart disease. disease and diabetes.


Like berries, grapes contain antioxidant anthocyanins and also

contain resveratrol, a powerful compound with anti-inflammatory


Green tea:

Not only is green tea an excellent alternative to coffee (which can be

inflammatory for certain people), but it also contains a substance

called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), which reduces

inflammation by inhibiting cytokine production.


Mushrooms contain antioxidants that protect against inflammation,

but studies have shown that cooking mushrooms significantly

reduces their anti-inflammatory effect, so try to eat them raw or only

lightly cooked!


Onions contain a flavonoid called quercetin, which inhibits

compounds that cause inflammation. For the most anti-inflammatory

properties, choose red or yellow onions over white.


Peppers, like onions, also contain quercetin, while chili peppers are a

powerful source of pepless acid and fer lico, both of which reduce

inflammation. (Note that there is a lot of discourse about the

nightshade family, of which peppers are a part, being inflammatory.

This is because nightshades contain a chemical compound called

alkaloids, which can be inflammatory in high doses. However, most of

the nightshades you buy at the store do not have enough alkaloids to

cause inflammation. Claims that nightshades are inflammatory are

mostly anecdotal and not supported by evidence).


Walnuts, another great source of omega-3s and healthy fats, have

been shown to reduce levels of two blood markers associated with



Watermelon gets its bright pink color from lycopene, which also

inhibits inflammatory processes and neutralizes free radicals. This

classic summer fruit also contains choline, a nutrient that can reduce

chronic inflammation.

What's your favorite way to incorporate anti-inflammatory foods into your diet?

Tell us in the comments below!

Thanks Adrienne ! More in the original post

If you're looking to dig deeper into these topics I

recommend reading this post.

Do your research, and above all listen to your body.

You deserve a better life!

With gratitude,

Gabriela Ana

Holistic Health Coach


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