Healing Anti-Inflammatory Food List [PDF]
Shockingly, chronic inflammatory diseases are the most common cause of death in the world.
Worldwide, three out of five people die due to chronic inflammatory diseases like stroke, heart disease, cancer, obesity, and diabetes.
The good news? You can fight inflammation. A great way to do it is to choose eating anti-inflammatory foods. Find a printable anti-inflammatory foods list in this blog post.
What is Chronic Inflammation?
Inflammation is a vital part of the body’s immune response. It helps you heal from injury and protects you from foreign invaders, like bacteria and viruses.
However, when inflammation persists even after the threat is gone, that’s when it becomes a chronic problem, and it can last months or even years. With chronic inflammation, the immune process continues on and on, damaging tissues and causing problems like pain, swelling, redness, heat, and loss of function.
Chronic inflammation has been linked to some of the world’s most serious diseases, including heart disease, cancer, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, and diabetes.
Certain lifestyle factors have been proven to contribute to chronic inflammation, including smoking tobacco, eating an unhealthy diet, being overweight or obese, not getting enough exercise, and having high levels of stress.
Anti-Inflammatory Food List PDF
Foods That Fight Inflammation
Anti-inflammatory foods are always unprocessed and low in sugar. However, some can surprise you! For example, some think of carrots as high in sugar. However, they make this list because they are a good source of beta carotene and also contain the antioxidants zeaxanthin and lutein.
This list does not include foods with gluten, as it might cause inflammation in some people.
|Cruciferous vegetables||Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, red and green cabbage, and cauliflower|
|Leafy green vegetables||Arugula, collard greens, dandelion greens, kale, mustard greens, spinach, and Swiss chard|
|Deep yellow or orange vegetables||Acorn squash, butternut squash, carrots, orange and yellow bell peppers, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes|
|Other vegetables||Mushrooms, tomatoes|
|Fruit||Apples, apricots, blackberries, cherries, grapes, pineapple, strawberries, oranges, mandarins, grapefruit, peaches, plums, pomegranates, raspberries, and watermelon|
|Protein||Lean turkey, chicken, and fatty fish (salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel)|
|Legumes||Navy beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans, and other dry beans; also, chickpeas, green peas, lima beans, and lentils|
|Whole Grains||Gluten-free oats, buckwheat*, millet, quinoa, brown and wild rice|
|Nuts and Seeds||Almonds, cashews, chia seeds, hazelnuts, hemp seeds, pecans, walnuts, and flaxseed|
|Healthy Fats||Avocados, avocado oil, coconut oil, MCT oil, extra virgin olive oil|
|Herbs and Spices||Cinnamon, nutmeg, turmeric, ginger, garlic, cayenne, black pepper, basil, oregano, cumin, thyme, clove, and cinnamon|
|Tea||Green and herbal tea|
|Chocolate||Dark chocolate (unsweetened)|
*Despite having the name wheat, buckwheat is gluten-free.
Foods That Cause Inflammation
Did you know that there are some foods that can trigger inflammation in the body?
Certain foods have been linked to chronic inflammation, including gluten, sugar, processed foods, and unhealthy fats. So if you’re looking to reduce your risk of chronic inflammation, it’s important to be aware of these foods and avoid them as much as possible.
|Sugary Drinks||Soda, cola, fruit drinks and punches, lemonade, energy drinks, and other drinks with added sugar|
|Desserts||Brownies, candy, cake, ice cream, cookies, pies, and other desserts|
|Breakfast Bread||Pastries, doughnuts, croissants, sugary cereal bars, and sweet rolls|
|Refined Carbohydrates||White pasta, white bread, white flour, sugary breakfast cereals, pastries, and pizza|
|Processed Meats||Sausage, deli meats, hot dogs, hamburgers, and other processed meats|
|Processed Snacks||Beef jerky, pretzels, chips, crackers, tortilla chips, and sandwich crackers|
|Fast Foods||All types of fast food and takeout food|
|Oils||Processed seed oils and vegetable oils, safflower oil|
|Trans Fats||Products with partially hydrogenated oils, including commercial baked goods such as cakes, cookies, and pies; shortening, fried foods, and some margarine|
|Alcohol||Wine, beer, spirits, cocktails, and especially alcohol mixed with sugar|
The Nutrition Index Score
A new ranking system developed by a nutritional epidemiologist, the nutrition index gives food categories a score based on their inflammatory or anti-inflammatory properties.
This is interesting because it means that you can now compare different foods based on their ability to cause or reduce inflammation. Anti-inflammatory foods have negative numbers, while inflammatory foods have positive numbers.
Most of the foods analyzed came without a surprise. Added sugars have a score of 0.56, and processed meats have a score of 0.68. In contrast, tomatoes have a score of -0.78, and apples and berries -.65.
More interestingly, poultry has a better anti-inflammatory score of -0.45 than fish, -0.08.
Are you looking for meal ideas that include anti-inflammatory foods?
We have gathered recipes packed with nutrients that can help fight inflammation, and they’re also delicious and easy to make. If you’re looking for a way to improve your health and reduce inflammation, give these recipes a try.
Do you want a 3-day menu including recipes? Get it here
Is gluten inflammatory?
There is some debate over whether gluten actually causes inflammation in the body or if it’s just a scapegoat for people who are intolerant to it. However, there is evidence that suggests gluten can have an inflammatory effect on some people.
Is dairy inflammatory?
Dairy products are inflammatory for those with a milk allergy. However, there is research suggesting that for people without an allergy, dairy products could help fight inflammation. Go figure!
But more research is needed for there to be enough evidence to make a determination.
Other Lifestyle Factors That Fight Inflammation
Achieve or Maintain a Healthy Weight
It’s well known that fat tissue in obese and overweight people induces chronic inflammation. So, one of the best things you can do to reduce inflammation is to achieve or maintain a healthy weight.
Allow time for the body to regenerate itself. A good night’s sleep is vital for many aspects of health, and that includes reducing inflammation.
Sleep deprivation can also raise blood pressure, which may cause cells in blood vessel wall membranes to become inflamed.
Furthermore, a lack of sleep can also change the body’s stress response system.
When you are stressed, physically or emotionally, your body goes into a fight-or-flight response. The brain sends signals to the endocrine system to release adrenaline and cortisol to help you deal with the problem.
However, when the stress is chronic, the endocrine system becomes disordered, leading to chronic inflammation.
The Bottom Line
The anti-inflammatory food list provides a comprehensive overview of the best foods to eat if your aim is to reduce inflammation in your body.
There are several lifestyle factors that can also help fight inflammation, such as maintaining a healthy weight, getting enough sleep, and reducing stress levels.
Dr. Su-Nui Escobar is a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist in Miami, FL. She is passionate about helping women over 40 live their best lives through healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle. Su-Nui is a doctor in clinical nutrition, able to translate complicated evidence-based science into practical advice. Su-Nui is the former spokesperson of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.