Lots of foods have anti-inflammatory qualities; these are a few of our favorites. Aim to work them into your diet as often as possible.
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Eat to Beat Inflammation
Ongoing inflammation is problematic because it alters normal body processes and cells, which can cause long-term damage and increase your likelihood of developing a chronic condition. Food plays a pivotal role—it can either help reduce or promote chronic inflammation. While there's still more reserach to be done, we know that filling your plate with more anti-inflammatory foods while dialing back on ones that cause inflammation may have a powerful effect on your body's ability to ward of future diseases and even slow aging.
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Both sweet and tart varieties lower C-reactive protein, one of the key blood indicators used to test for inflammation. Cherries may even offer pain relief comparable to ibuprofen. When cherries aren't in season, try tart cherry juice in smoothies and salad dressings.
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The omega-3 fats DHA and EPA in salmon and other oily fish plays key roles in suppressing inflammation and boosting production of anti-inflammatory compounds. Aim to eat fish or sea vegetables like algae several times per week.
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This cruciferous veggie offers healthy doses of phytochemicals that quell inflammatory compounds associated with cancer development. Try to eat at least five weekly servings of cruciferous vegetables. These include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, mustard greens, watercress, and kohlrabi.
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4. Shiitake Mushrooms
Research suggests that eating shiitake mushrooms daily lowers inflammatory markers and improves immune system function. Oyster and enoki mushrooms also have anti-inflammatory powers. Make sure you eat them raw or cook at low to moderate temps for the most impact.
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Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
This pantry staple delivers the inflammation-suppressing compound oleocanthal, plus a small amount of omega-3s. Try other oils, too, such as flaxseed and canola, for a stronger dos of omega-3s.
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The creamy fruit works twofold thanks to monounsaturated fats and antioxidants. Avocado may even counteract eating some inflammatory foods: In one study, people who topped their hamburger with avocado had lower inflammatory markers than those who ate just the burger.
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Curcumin is the powerful compound in turmeric that eases symptoms in almost all inflammation-related conditions. Research varies on how much you need, but aim to cook with turmeric several times a week (curry powder is a good source).
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Tomatoes' lycopene propels them to the next nutritional level. Studies show lycypene reduces and suppresses inflammation—which is why tomatoes help lower cancer and cardiovascular incident risks.
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While all leafy greens are recommended, spinach offers a mix of antioxidants that boost the immune system and suppress inflammation. It also helps that the leafy green is one of the most versatile veggies for quick meal prep.
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These berries are loaded with anthocyanins and antioxidants called ellagitannins, which sweep up harmful free radicals that promote inflammation. In fact, all berries are good sources.