The Best Foods to Help Fight Inflammation

You've probably heard your fair share about inflammation lately, but do you know what it is? We're breaking down what it is and sharing what foods can help reduce it.

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Many diseases—from diabetes and arthritis to cancer, heart disease and even Alzheimer’s—have been linked to chronic inflammation. And, research indicates that the foods we eat may have an impact on how much (or little) our bodies are subjected to inflammation.

Here are some of the best foods you can eat to help fight inflammation.

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“Tomahto”, “tomayto,” however you want to pronounce it, you definitely want to be eating these juicy veggies to fight inflammation. Make sure to fill your plate with lots of richly colored foods of the rainbow to get maximum nutrients and vitamins! Fresh tomato recipes are a great way to help keep chronic inflammation at bay.

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All fruits can help fight inflammation, especially berries. Go for a handful of fresh-picked blackberries, blueberries or raspberries next time your sweet tooth is calling or try one of these fresh strawberry recipes, just watch out for too much added sugar.

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Next time you’re craving something crunchy, salty or sweet, go for a handful of nuts instead of chips. Nuts are not only high in fiber and vitamin E, you can make them sweet or savory depending on your cravings, and they’re easy to carry around as an on-the-go snack. Find a new favorite in our top-rated nut recipes (hint: go for the healthy nut mixes).

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These little legumes are great for you for many reasons. Mostly celebrated for their high fiber and protein content, beans are also inexpensive and a green protein source. Here’s a fun fact: Three of the USDA’s top four antioxidant-rich foods are beans! Small red beans, kidney beans, and pinto beans all took top honors. That’s another great reason to tote along baked beans for the best potluck.

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Olive Oil

A lifestyle that’s heart-healthy, like the Mediterranean diet, is key to reducing inflammation throughout your body. A big part of that is incorporating foods rich in monounsaturated fat like olive oil and avocados rather than saturated and trans fats.

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Leafy Greens

Go for dark leafy greens that are rich in vitamin E like spinach, kale and Swiss chard. These greens are all packed with iron and calcium and are super easy to integrate into recipes from casseroles to lasagnas, and everything in between.

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Fatty Fish

Don’t be alarmed by the word fatty! Fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can combat inflammation. Skip fried fish, and bake, grill or boil instead to keep it healthy.

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Cruciferous Veggies

These members of the cabbage family include Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, and the cabbages.  Aim for a couple of servings per week and be careful not to overcook, so that you preserve the nutrients. Our superstar broccoli dishes will convert even your pickiest eater.

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Whole Grains

Making the switch from refined white grains to whole grain recipes is an easy one, and your body will definitely thank you for it. That’s because non-processed grains are higher in fiber and have more nutrients than refined grains.

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Ginger and Turmeric

Spice up your life by adding a little bit of ginger and turmeric to your dishes for a big impact. In addition to being anti-inflammatory, turmeric has a lot of potential health benefits and can be added to everything from curry to cauliflower. Ginger, which is in the same family as turmeric, has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties because it’s high in antioxidants.

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Black, green and white teas all contain polyphenols, compounds that can help keep our bodies healthy. Green tea is high in EGCG, an antioxidant compound that may help protect against cancer.

And, adding green tea to a healthy diet and exercise may help you achieve a healthy weight.  We have 30 smart dinners that hit the table in 30 minutes to help.

Jacqueline Weiss
Jacqueline is a blogger and writer, passionate about sharing the latest in helpful tips and trends in food and cooking. In her spare time, you’ll find her trying new restaurants and experimenting in the kitchen.
Christine Rukavena
Christine loves to read, curate, sample and develop new recipes as a senior book editor at Taste of Home. A CIA alumna with honors, she creates cookbooks and food-related content. A favorite part of the job is taste-testing dishes. Previous positions include pastry chef at a AAA Five Diamond property. Christine moonlights at a boutique wine shop, where she edits marketing pieces and samples wine far higher than her pay grade.