Anti-Inflammatory Foods (And Inflammatory Foods to Avoid)

Risa Groux, CN
 | Published: 
July 15, 2020

Anti-inflammatory Foods to Incorporate


Eat lots of fruits, vegetables, and wild seafood. Add generous portions of deeply-pigmented vegetables to every meal and snack for their fiber and natural anti-inflammatory compounds. Many herbs and foods such as turmeric, oregano,garlic, green tea, blueberries, and ginger contain bioflavonoids and polyphenols that limit free-radical production in the body.

Hot Peppers: The capsaicin found in cayenne, serrano, jalapeño, and all hot chili’s serves as a natural alternative to anti-inflammatory drugs. Capsaicin works to inhibit the COX-2 enzyme, a known cause of inflammation in arthritis and other inflammatory diseases in the body.

Apples and Onions: These contain quercetin, a natural histamine inhibitor that helps the body fight environmental allergies—a cause of inflammation. Keep in mind that quercetin is found in the skin of apples, so buy organic and eat them whole.

Pineapple: This sweet tropical fruit contains an anti-inflammatory compound called bromelain, which contains enzymes that have been proven to suppress inflammation and pain in the body by minimizing swelling. Bromelain loses its anti-inflammatory value when heated, so go for fresh, whole pineapple instead of the heat-processed canned variety.

Dark, Leafy Green Vegetables: These good-for-everything veggies contain alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 that has similar anti-inflammatory benefits as the omega-3s found in fish.

Flaxseeds, Walnuts, Pumpkin seeds: Like dark,leafy greens, these nuts and seeds also contain all-important omega-3s. Choose raw nuts, not toasted, because roasting temperatures destroy omega-3s.

Oily,Cold-Water Fish: Salmon, mackerel, and sardines are all packed with omega-3s, which reduce the production of pro-inflammatory hormones in the body. Remember to choose wild Pacific or Alaskan salmon, or organically and sustainably farm-raised varieties, which have been shown to have the lowest mercury levels. Also keep in mind that most of the omega-3 fats in these fish are in the “brown fat” near the skin.

Olives and Olive Oil: The oleic acid in olives and olive oil contain omega-9 fatty acids, which help omega-3s do their anti-inflammatory job. Skip over “light” olive oil, and go for expeller pressed green, and unrefined varieties. And keep in mind that raw olive oil has the most anti-inflammatory properties; heating can lessen its nutritional benefits.


These foods not only reduce chronic inflammation in the body,they also provide the essential building blocks for reaching and maintaining a healthy weight and having more energy.


Inflammatory Foods to Avoid

If you don’t know what your food sensitivities are here, this is a list that will help you avoid dietary inflammation.  

Trans fats: Also, known as hydrogenated oils found in processed foods.

Sugars: Any kind of sugar but especially white sugar found in processed foods, sodas, salad dressings, sauces etc.

Refined carbohydrates: flour, white rice, instant rice, instant oatmeal, corn starch

Processed dairy: This can be a chemical cocktail, as it contains steroids, (naturally occurring and synthetic)hormones, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, fertilizers, antibiotics,veterinary medications, synthetic preservatives, additives, and (possibly most disturbing) white blood cells (aka pus).

Gluten-containing foods: Breads, pastas,cakes, cookies and pastries.  Gluten eats the villi in the intestinal lining which is used for protection.  If the villi is ruptured, it pokes holes in the lining, and that is how we form leaky gut.

Additives, dyes, and preservatives: These are well-hidden in processed convenience foods, making them very difficult to avoid but well worth it!

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