Food EducationHealth

10 of the Best Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Reduce your risk of chronic inflammation and choose these anti-inflammatory foods to help ease pain, and get you back on the road to supreme health and wellness!

People need to fuel their body with food. But most often, people reach for the wrong foods – foods that leave them feeling slow, tired, and ill. If people continue to eat the wrong foods, then these illnesses become chronic, resulting in either chronic inflammation or inflammatory based illnesses (such as Arthritis, Inflammatory bowel diseases, Bowel disease, Chrons disaese, Ulcerative colitis, Autoimmune diseases, Asthma, Acne, Vasculitis, etc.).

Foods That ELIMINATE Inflammation:


Turmeric is well known for it’s anti-inflammatory properties. Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric, and is a potent anti-inflammatory agent. It is mostly known for it’s beneficial effects in individuals with arthritis. Curcumin acts by scavenging free oxygen radicals in the body which are implicated in inflammation (1). It is also a potent scavenger, having been studied for its powerful Superoxide scavenging activity (1).

Hemp Seeds:

Hemp seeds are a magic food (as I like to call them). They contain all 20 known amino acids including the 8 essential and 2 semi-essential amino acids (EAAs). In a 2008 Italian study it was found that hemp seeds can reduce inflammation and reduce pain symptoms for patients with muscular or skeletal inflammation. These effects occur mainly due to the ratio of EFA’s in hemp seeds.

Tart Cherries:

Tart cherries have the “highest anti-inflammatory content of any food” according to the Oregon Health & Science University presented today at the AMerican College of Sports Medicine Conference (ACSM) in San Francisco, California (2). They found that drinking tart cherry juice twice daily for three weeks led to significant reductions in inflammation markers.


Sulforaphane, a natural constituent of broccoli (and brussels sprouts, and other cruciferous vegetables) has been shown to prevent joint pain in the same way that a COX-2 arthritis drug would do (but without the harmful side effects a drug would impose on you). Broccoli also contains salicylic acid, which inhibits production of prostaglandin hormones and thus reduce joint pain and inflammation.


Pineapples contain Bromelain which has demonstrated both in vitro and in vivo therapeutic properties like reducing inflammation (3). Manhart et al. (4) have shown bromelain to significantly reduce CD4+T lymphocytes, primary effectors of inflammation.


The flavonoids and carotenoids found in spinach have been associated with reduced inflammation, especially in the digestive tract. Neoxanthin and violaxanthin are two anti-inflammatory epoxyxanthophylls that are also found in spinach, although not in high quantities, still contribute to reducing inflammation in the body (5).


A constituent in avocado called persenone A suppresses the effects of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and cyclooxygenase (COX-2), two chemicals that cause inflammation in the body (6). This study suggested that persenone A in avocados have the ability to prevent inflammation-associated diseases including cancer.

Onions & Garlic:

Onions and garlic contain similar compounds that contribute to their anti-inflammatory effects (they are “cousins” in the food world). These compounds, such as vitamin C and quercetin, inhibit enzymes that generate inflammatory prostaglandins and thromboxanes (7). These two foods are great for cold and flu season (which is coming up!), because they help fight viruses and clear our sinuses.

Nuts & Seeds:

Nuts and seeds contain unsaturated fats and other nutrients that can reduce inflammation. Jiang and colleagues (8) examined associations between nut and seed consumption and C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, and fibrinogen in individuals with Atherosclerosis. Individuals who consumed nuts and seeds 1-4 times per week was associated with lower levels of inflammatory markers which may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes risk.


Berries are incredibly high in antioxidants such as anthocyanins which confer anti-inflammatory protection against diseases such as cancer, arthritis, and dementia. In fact, one study found that the anti-inflammatory effects of berries vary depending on their anthocyanin compositions and that blackberry anthocyanin fractions contain more potent anti-inflammatory effects than blueberry and black currants (9). It is best to consume organic berries as they are sprayed with pesticides that are harmful to our health.

Foods That CAUSE Inflammation:

Margarine, Sugar, Fast Food, Gluten, Meat, Eggs & Dairy

Foods that all have extremely acidic pH levels are often those that cause inflammation in the body. These foods trigger an invasive response in the body, and the body will naturally release chemicals that attack these food particles and cause the body to inflame. This will eventually lead to sickness and disease if continually eaten on a day to day basis.


(1) Kunchandy, E. (1990). Oxygen radical scavenging activity of curcumin. International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 58, 237-240.

(2) Sleigh, A., Kuehl, K., Elliot, D. (2012). Efficacy of tart cherry juice to reduce inflammation among patients with osteoarthritis. American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting. 

(3) Tochi, B., Wang, Z>, Xu, S., & Zhang, W. (2008). Therapeutic Application of Pineapple Protease (Bromelain): A Review. Pakistain Journal of Nutrition, 7, 513-520.

(4) Manhart, N., Akomeah, R., Bergmeister, H., Spittler, A., Ploner, M., & Roth, E. (2002). Administration of proteolytic enzymes bromeliad and trypsin diminish the number of CD4+ cells and interferon-gamma response in Peyer’s patches and spleen in endotoxemic balb/c mice. Cellular Immunology, 2, 113-119.

(5) Asai, A., Yonekura, L., Nagao, A. (2008). Low bioavailability of dietary epoxyxanthophylls in humans. Br J Nutr., 100, 273-277.

(6) Kim, O., Murakami, A., Takahashi, D., Nakamura, Y., Torikai, K., Kim, H., & Ohigashi, H. (2000). An avocado constituent, persenone A, suppresses expression of inducible forms of nitric oxide synthase and cyclooxygenase in macrophages, and hydrogen peroxide generation in mouse skin. Bioscience, Biotechnology, & Biochemistry, 64, 2504-2507.

(7) Makheia, A., Vanderhoek, J., & Bailey, J. (1979). Inhibition of platelet aggregation and thromboxane synthesis by onion and garlic. Lancet., 7, 781.

(8) Jiang, R., Jacobs, D., Mayer-Davis, E., Szklo, M., Herrington, D., Jenny, N., Kronmal, R., & Barr, G. (2006). Nut and seed consumption and inflammatory markers in the multi-ethnic study of atherosclerosis. American Journal of Epidemiology, 163, 222-231.

(9) Lee, S., Park, Y., Lee, J., Koo, S., & Chun, O. (2012). Berry anthocyanin fractions inhibit LPS-induced expression of inflammatory mediators in RAW 264.7 macrophages. The FASEB Journal, 26, lb447.

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