Inflammation is the byproduct of an immune response in the body meant to
heal damaged tissue, so in theory, it's a perfectly healthy process.
In people with inflammatory conditions, however, like rheumatoid arthritis
or psoriasis, this system has gone a bit haywire, and instead damages
the body when it should be healing it. There is a long list of foods known
to worsen inflammation, including any high in sugar or saturated fat,
but there are also plenty of foods that can help fight it.
Here are just five food options for fighting inflammation. If you're
battling an inflammatory illness, try incorporating more of these foods
into your diet and track your progress to see if symptoms are naturally
minimizing over time.
1. Good Oils. Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a simple addition to your diet that can make
a huge impact on how you're feeling. Rich in omega fatty acids, EVOO
minimizes inflammation better than others like vegetable oil. So opt for
olive oil next time your cooking something on the stove or selecting a
salad dressing, as this is an easy alternative with incredible anti-inflammatory
2. Fish. Unlike red meat, which is high in cholesterol, fat and sodium, and can
worsen inflammation, fish help you meet your daily protein needs while
providing extraordinary anti-inflammatory properties. Salmon, tuna, halibut
and countless other fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids, a micronutrient
that soothes inflammation in the body. If you don't like the taste
of fish, or don't want to work that added cost into every meal, talk
to your pharmacist about fish oil supplements, as these can be a potent
3. Herbs and Spices have been making a name for themselves in healthy diets since quite literally
the beginning of time. Certain herbs in particular, like basil, thyme
and oregano, are great sources of antioxidants that have also been proven
to curb inflammation. Additionally, in recent studies, more potent herbs
like cumin, chili pepper, cinnamon, all spice and turmeric have been shown
to fight inflammation right at the source, and even diminish the associated
4. Fruits are truly your best friend in an anti-inflammatory diet, as they're
delicious and convenient to work into your daily diet. From raisins and
dried cranberries to fresh fruits like apples, blueberries, strawberries
and pineapple, the antioxidants present in fruits -- and produce in general
-- have an unrivaled ability to keep inflammation in check. Next time
you're looking for a healthy snack that won't take a toll on your
body, consider reaching for a handful of raisins or raspberries.
5. Nuts are inflammation-curbing machines, packed with a high dose of plant-based
omega-3s and over a dozen antioxidants, both of which play a key role
in fighting inflammation. Some nuts in particular, like walnuts, help
specifically with rheumatoid arthritis, while others, like cashews and
almonds, are a safe choice for all inflammatory ailments.
Do you have any experience with anti-inflammatory foods that worked or
didn't work for you? Share your story in the comments below.