Top anti-inflammatory foods

Top anti-inflammatory foods

In past articles, I have discussed how inflammation is the underlying cause of most chronic and autoimmune disorders.  The major cause of inflammation in the body is the food we eat so eating anti-inflammatory foods is important for good health. Food allergies and intolerances have been implicated in a wide range of medical conditions, affecting every part of the body: from mildly uncomfortable indigestion, to severe illnesses including celiac disease and diabetes, to developmental disorders such as ADHD and Autism. The inflammatory reaction occurs when an ingested food molecule acts as an antigen, a substance that causes the immune system to produce antibodies against it. Autoimmune diseases are characterized by chronic inflammation:

Celiac Disease (CD): inflammation of small intestine

Crohn’s Disease: inflammation of intestinal walls

Alzheimer’s Disease: inflammation of brain cells

Arthritis: inflammation of joint tissue and cartilage

Lupus: inflammation of joints and organs

Therefore, it is important to eat a diet that is both protective against inflammation and anti-inflammatory. All too often we see lists of top anti-inflammatory foods. Below I offer a list of top types of foods. Our ancestors ate a varied diet of plant and animal foods based on local environment and availability. We should too!

Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids:

Animal Sources: wild salmon, anchovies, mackerel & sardines

Plant Sources: hemp, chia seeds, flaxseed meal and walnuts

Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and may help lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. Omega-3 fatty acids are highly concentrated in the brain and appear to be important for cognitive (brain memory and performance) and behavioral function. In fact, infants who do not get enough omega-3 fatty acids from their mothers during pregnancy are at risk for developing vision and nerve problems. Symptoms of omega-3 fatty acid deficiency include fatigue, poor memory, dry skin, heart problems, mood swings or depression, and poor circulation.

Colorful anti-oxidant rich vegetables:

Choose dark leafy greens like spinach and kale; broccoli and cauliflower; sea vegetables like kelp; red peppers, sweet potatoes and cabbage.  Inflammatory conditions result in a much greater production of free radicals than is usual. For this reason, people with inflammatory conditions like CD and diabetes should aim for a much more generous intake of antioxidants than usual to minimize the increased risk of cell damage. These vegetables contain anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer phytonutrients that help detoxify the body and reduce free radical damage.

Monounsaturated fats:

Plants sources include avocado, raw soaked nuts (almonds, cashews, pecans and macadamia) and olive oils. Eating monounsaturated fats reduces inflammation by interfering with leukotrienes (naturally produced molecules that contribute to inflammation).


Including turmeric, curry, ginger, garlic and chili peppers.

These spices inhibit pro-inflammatory compounds. Turmeric contains curcumin which inhibits enzymes that participate in the synthesis of inflammatory substances in the body. The natural anti-inflammatory activity of curcumin is comparable in strength to steroidal drugs and some nonsteroidal drugs but does not have the same have dangerous side effects. Chili peppers contain the phytochemical capsaicin which reduces levels of substance P, the compound in the body that triggers inflammation and pain impulses from the central nervous system.

Tropical Fruits:

Including pineapple, papaya and coconut.

Pineapple contains bromelain, an enzyme that aids in the healing of indigestion, and muscle and joint swelling. This enzyme is anti-inflammatory and has been proven to suppress the inflammation and pain of many forms of arthritis, sports injuries, and joint conditions. Papaya contains papain, a protein digesting enzyme that helps reduce inflammation and improves digestion. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory that accelerates wound healing, swelling, and adhesions after surgery. Inflammation begins when your immune system is compromised. Coconut oil is antiviral, antibacterial, and parasiticidal (kills parasites). Coconut oil is protective in nature and supports immune function.

And don’t forget to drink Green Tea. The tea contains flavonoids that are potent anti-inflammatory compounds. Eat, drink, and be healthy!

Vancouver Health Coach