How to Choose Anti Inflammatory Foods

Three Parts:Recognizing Anti-Inflammatory FoodsAvoiding Inflammatory FoodsSelecting Alternatives to Inflammatory Foods

Inflammation is a normal process that occurs in your immune system. It helps your body respond to infecting organisms like viruses or parasites and promotes tissue repair and healing in your body. But acute inflammation and chronic inflammation can cause severe allergic reactions, such as asthma attacks, and chronic infections or health issues.[1] Inflammation can be triggered by inflammatory foods, which are foods that contain elements your body perceives as foreign or threatening. You can avoid inflammatory foods and add more anti-inflammatory foods to your diet to help lower your risk of inflammation.

Part 1
Recognizing Anti-Inflammatory Foods

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    Cook with olive oil or sunflower oil. Opt for healthier oils like olive oil, grapeseed oil, borage oil, avocado oil, or safflower oil when you are cooking.[2][3]
    • Try to cook your foods at low temperatures, such as a low simmer or medium to low heat. Using anti-inflammatory oils at low cooking temperatures usually makes for healthier meals.
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    Look for leafy green vegetables. Add leafy green vegetables like spinach, mustard and collard greens, kale, broccoli, Swiss chard, turnips, and beet greens to your diet. These vegetables are full of vitamins and minerals. They are also anti-inflammatory. You should aim to have at least one leafy vegetable per meal.[4][5]
    • Beets, celery, cabbage, carrots, peas, bok choy, and brussel sprouts are also good anti-inflammatory vegetables.
    • Fresh tomatoes and tomato based sauces are also consider anti-inflammatory.
    • If you do not have access to fresh vegetables, you can use frozen vegetables. However, fresh is always better for you.
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    Consume a variety of fresh fruits. Go for apples, bananas, pineapples, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, cherries, and oranges. These fruits all have anti-inflammatory properties. Try to have at least one anti-inflammatory fruit for every meal.[6][7]
    • If you do not have access to fresh fruits, you can have frozen fruits. You can then add these to smoothies to create a healthy, anti-inflammatory drink.
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    Have more beans and legumes. Add kidney beans, garbanzo beans, navy beans, adzuki beans, mung beans, lentils and soybeans to your diet.[8][9]
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    Eat fatty fish that contain omega-3 fats. Salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines, cod, flounder, and anchovies are all good sources of omega-3 fats.[10][11]
    • Aim to have fatty fish at least one to two times a week. Having more fatty fish in your diet will ensure it is well rounded and contains enough anti-inflammatory foods.
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    Add fresh herbs and nuts to your meals. Fresh herbs like basil, sage, and rosemary can all add anti-inflammatory properties to your meals. Foods like onions and garlic also have high anti-inflammatory properties and should be added to your diet.[12][13]
    • You should also use anti-inflammatory spices like turmeric, cayenne pepper, ginger, and cloves in your meals.
    • Nuts and seeds are a great, simple way to add more anti-inflammatory foods to your diet. Sprinkle almonds, walnuts, or peanuts in your morning oatmeal or yogurt. Add pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, cashews, or sesame seeds to salads and curries.
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    Drink green tea and herbal tea. Water is always the healthiest beverage but you can also have green tea and herbal tea to consume more anti-inflammatory liquids.[14][15]
    • You may want to read up on how to properly prepare green tea.

Part 2
Avoiding Inflammatory Foods

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    Avoid any foods that cause allergies. A food allergy is considered a specific form of inflammation, where your immune system has a negative response to a certain food. You should avoid eating any foods that cause allergies as this is a form of inflammation that can lead to serious health issues.[16]
    • Peanut allergies and seafood allergies are common, but you may also suffer from other food intolerances or sensitivities, such as a gluten sensitivity and lactose intolerance.
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    Stay away from refined carbohydrates. Refined carbohydrates such as white breads, pastas, and baked goods can cause inflammation. Avoid these foods, especially if they are pre-packaged as they likely contain additives and preservatives that are not good for you.[17]
    • Though whole grain foods are less inflammatory than white breads, pastas, and baked goods, they will have some inflammatory effects. If these foods are made with organic whole grains with no additives or preservatives, they may be considered not inflammatory.
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    Avoid fried foods. Stay away from fried foods, such as french fries or fried meats. In addition to being inflammatory, eating fried foods can also lead to other health issues like obesity and weight issues.
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    Do not have processed meats or red meat. Stay away from the cold cuts aisle, as processed meats contain inflammatory properties.[18]
    • Red meat is also considered an inflammatory food and should be consumed in moderation. Look for beef that is grass fed rather than grain fed, as grass fed beef has lower inflammatory properties.
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    Avoid butter, margarine, shortening, and lard. These types of fats are high in inflammatory omega 6-fats. Try to cook with healthier oils like olive oil or coconut oil and only use butter or margarine on toast in moderation.[19]
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    Skip the soda and sugar-sweetened beverages. Soda and beverages sweetened with artificial flavors and sugars are considered inflammatory. Stick with water or other healthy beverages such as green tea or natural fruit juices.[20]

Part 3
Selecting Alternatives to Inflammatory Foods

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    Look for unprocessed foods. Processed and pre-packed foods that contain many ingredients that can be inflammatory. There are also ingredients that are added to foods during processing that can cause inflammation. Focus on foods that are unprocessed and not packaged.[21]
    • This may mean trying to shop on the outer areas of the grocery store so you can avoid packed foods like instant noodles, instant oatmeal, and bottled sauces and cooking mixes. The more food you can prepare and cook yourself, from scratch, the less processed and pre-packed ingredients you will consume.
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    Go for fresh, whole foods. Whole foods, made of very few ingredients that are natural, do not cause inflammation. As well, fresh foods like fresh produce do not cause inflammation. Check the labels of foods at the grocery store to confirm they contain very few basic ingredients and the ingredients are all natural.[22]
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    Select foods with no additives or preservatives. Foods that do not contain additives or preservatives do not cause inflammatory. You can check food labels and the listed ingredients on food items to ensure there are no additives or preservatives.[23]
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    Have brown rice and whole grains. Rather than have a meal with white rice or refined pasta, go for a meal with brown rice and whole grains like quinoa or couscous.

Sources and Citations

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Categories: Nutrition and Lifestyle Eating