There are many drugs that help fight inflammation, but did you know there are also foods that fight inflammation? Here’s a list of 10 foods that have been found to decrease inflammation in the body.
Extra-virgin olive oil – an unrefined type of olive oil – contains a
substance called oleocanthol that interferes with two enzymes (COX-1 and
COX-2) involved with inflammation in
the body. In fact, a 2005 study in the journal Nature found that
oleocanthol inhibits inflammation in a way that’s identical to the
Red wine contains a compound called
resveratrol, which has been found to have both anti-inflammatory and
anti-cancer properties. Scientists say the presence of this compound may
help explain the so-called “French paradox” as to why the French –who
drink red wine with most meals – can eat a diet that’s actually quite
high in saturated fats and yet have healthy arteries and hearts.
Generally, any beverage that is high in water content will have
anti-inflammatory qualities, and tea is a great choice. Teas such as
white tea, oolong, and green tea are full of catechins, antioxidant
compounds that reduce artery plaque and inflammation. Tea also has been
linked to reduced risks of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
If you’re eating beef that’s not specifically sold as “grass-fed,” it
means the cows were fed a high-calorie diet of corn and grain in an
effort to fatten them quickly. Corn and grain are full of omega-6 fatty
acids, which have been linked to inflammation. Grass-fed cows are
leaner, and their meat is rich in healthy compounds such as omega-3
fatty acids and vitamin E.
You’ve probably seen bottles of fish
oil supplements in your pharmacy or grocery store, but you can get the
same healthy boost from going straight to the source, as well. Oily fish
such as salmon, sardines, and tuna are fish that have fatty oils
throughout the fillets and in the area around the gut, rather than just
in just the liver. Experts say eating one to two servings of these fish
per week can reduce inflammation and also decrease your risk for heart
disease and sudden death.
Cocoa contains anti-inflammatory
compounds called flavanols, substances that reduce both blood clotting
and inflammation in the body. Enjoying a cup or two of hot cocoa per
week can help reduce inflammation, particularly if it’s made with skim
or low-fat milk to keep down the drink’s content of saturated fats. Keep
in mind, however, that trying to get your cocoa in the form of candy
will load you up on saturated fats.
Cranberries are a powerhouse
food, with studies linking the red berry to such benefits as inhibiting
cancerous tumors and lowering bad (LDL) cholesterol. Scientists say the
fact that the berries are rich in anti-inflammatory antioxidants
contribute to their healthful effects. As a bonus, cranberries also
contain tannins, substances that can act as a natural antibacterial
agent to fight urinary tract and E. coli infections.
study in the medical journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular
Biology found that people with stable coronary disease lowered the
amount of inflammatory markers in their blood by drinking Concord grape
juice. This finding was likely due to the presence of resveratrol in the
grapes’ skins, which inhibits inflammation and may even help to fight
cancer. Eating grapes – and not drinking them – also adds fiber to the
grapes’ benefits and eliminates any added sugar.
contain the “plant version” of omega-3 fatty acids, a substance known as
ALA, which reduces inflammation in the body. In a 2004 study published
in the Journal of Nutrition, scientists found that people who ate at
least 2.3 ounces of walnuts and flaxseed (which also contains ALA) daily
had reduced levels of inflammatory markers such as C-reactive protein
(CRP), a major indicator of a person’s risk for heart disease.
Broccoli is a virtual disease fighter, rich in such healthy compounds as
beta-carotene, vitamin B folate, vitamin C, and the
inflammation-fighting flavanoid kaempferol. Broccoli also contains
sulforaphane, which experts say helps the body cleanse itself of