If you have a condition that causes inflammation, it may help to change your eating habits.
Researchers have identified certain foods that can help control inflammation. Many of them are found in the so-called Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes fish, vegetables and olive oil, among other staples.
While medication and other treatments are important, many experts say that adopting an anti-inflammatory diet may help, too. If you have, say, rheumatoid arthritis, changing what's on your plate won’t be a magic cure -- but it might lessen the number of flare-ups that you have, or it may help take your pain down a few notches.
An anti-inflammatory diet is widely regarded as healthy, so even if it doesn't help with your condition, it can help lower your chances of having other problems.
What to Eat
Anti-inflammatory foods are those that any mainstream nutrition expert would encourage you to eat. They include lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, plant-based proteins (like beans and nuts), fatty fish, and fresh herbs and spices.
Fruits and veggies: Go for variety and lots of color. Research has shown that vitamin K-rich leafy greens like spinach and kale curb inflammation, as does broccoli and cabbage. And the substance that gives fruits like cherries, raspberries, and blackberries their color is a type of pigment that also helps fight inflammation.
Whole grains: Oatmeal, brown rice, whole-wheat bread, and other unrefined grains tend to be high in fiber, and fiber also may help with inflammation.
Beans: They're high in fibre, plus they're loaded with antioxidants and other anti-inflammatory substances.
Nuts: They have a healthy kind of fat that helps stop inflammation. (Olive oil and avocados are also good sources.) Stick to just a handful of nuts a day; otherwise, the fat and calories will add up.
Fish: Put it on your plate at least twice a week. Salmon, tuna, and sardines all have plenty of omega-3 fatty acids, which fight inflammation.
Fruits and vegetables: are packed with antioxidants, which support the immune system – the body’s natural defense system – and may help fight inflammation.
Herbs and spices: They add antioxidants (along with flavor) to your food. Turmeric, found in curry powder, has a strong substance called curcumin. And garlic curbs the body's ability to make things that boost inflammation.
Olive Oil: Olive oil contains heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, antioxidants and oleocanthal, a compound that can lower inflammation and pain.
Onions: Onions are packed with beneficial antioxidants.
What Not to Eat
Anything highly processed, overly greasy, or super sweet isn’t a good choice for you if you have inflammation. Processed foods such as cookies, chips, crisps and other snacks can be high in unhealthy fats, which are linked with inflammation. Opt for fresh fruit instead. Canned goods – vegetables and soups – are often high in sodium, which boosts blood pressure. Look for low sodium options, or go with fresh or frozen vegetables.