The Top 10 Inflammation-Fighting Foods

Don't make over-the counter anti-inflammatory medication your go-to solution. Choose this all-natural solution instead.

June 13, 2017
dark chocolate coconut oil
Lili Basic Capaccetti/Getty Images

When you have a headache or joint pain, the easy fix is to reach for an over-the counter anti-inflammatory. However, recent studies show an alarming trend. 

It turns out that even one dose of the most popular OTC and prescription anti-inflammatories is enough to significantly increase your risk of heart attack. When taken regularly or in large doses, those same drugs can also cause serious gastrointestinal damage.

Related: 11 Food Rules For The Ultimate Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Fortunately, there's a healthier, all-natural way to ease inflammation, and it's on your kitchen table. Foods with omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and other nutrients are natural anti-inflammatories. By eating them regularly, you can lower your risk for inflammation and its harmful effects.

That's important because chronic inflammation is a factor in almost every major disease, from type 2 diabetes and heart disease to Hashimoto's and fibromyalgia. Inflammation can also speed up aging, make it hard to lose weight, and cause issues with digestion.

(Like what you're reading? Sign up for our newsletter to get health insights, clever kitchen tricks, gardening secrets, and more—delivered straight to your inbox.)

The great news is that the foods on the handy list below are not only natural anti-inflammatories, they taste fantastic. It's an easy choice to add more to your diet.

Here are my top 10 foods to fight inflammation naturally:

Westend61/Getty Images
Seeds (Chia Or Flaxseed)

Chia and flaxseed are great sources of anti-inflammatory fiber and healthy omega-3s, and they easily blend into your morning protein shake.

Add it: Make your own Overnight Oats that feature both chia seeds and flaxseeds. 

Tree nuts
JannHuizenga/Getty Images
Tree Nuts (Almonds, Walnuts, Pistachios—Not Peanuts)

Nuts help fight inflammation with clean protein and healthy fats, and they're equally at home in dinner or dessert.

Add it: Follow these simple baking rules to add nuts to your favorite pastries and baked goods. 

azrudin/Getty Images
Berries (Raspberries, Blueberries, Strawberries)

Berries are packed full of antioxidants, omega-3s, and fiber—all that, and they're tasty too.

Add it: Making sure they're not the dirtiest foods in your supermarket, add berries to these favorite smoothie recipes

Westend61/Getty Images
Turmeric (a.k.a. Curcumin)

Long used in traditional Eastern medicine, turmeric contains chemicals that mimic your body's own natural anti-inflammatories.

Add it: Whip up a turmeric latte (it'll quickly replace your favorite PSL) or a tropical turmeric cleanser smoothie for an antioxidant boost.

canyonos/Getty Images

Not only does ginger soothe digestion and ease nausea, it can help decrease inflammation system-wide. 

Add it: A ginger-spice smoothie will put you in fat-burning mode and you can even use it to spice up your bone broth

copyright rhinoneal/Getty Images

The sulfur compounds in garlic help stimulate your immune system and limit your body's inflammatory response.

Add it: To supercharge the healing power of garlic, turn it into a homemade roasted garlic spread or a DIY garlic hummus

OlenaMykhaylova/Getty Images
Fatty Fish (Wild-Caught Tuna Or Salmon)

The healthy omega-3 fatty acids in fatty fish make them rockstars of the anti-inflammatory world.

Add it: Avoiding the fish you should never eat, follow these rules to buy better fish and enjoy the nutritional benefits. 

Leafy green vegetables
robynmac/Getty Images
Leafy Green Vegetables (Spinach, Kale, Or Chard)

Leafy greens contain so many natural anti-inflammatories, including antioxidants and fiber. Don't love the taste? Blend them up in a smoothie!

Add it: Toss them into these green smoothies we love, or add them into hearty soup recipes

Coconut oil
Alita Ong/Getty Images
Coconut Oil

The health benefits of coconut oil are numerous, thanks to medium chain triglycerides that naturally lessen inflammation, plus lauric acid to boost your immune system.

Add it: It's one of the healthiest cooking oils, so add it to your cooking routine, but here's a bonus for you: there are many ways to use coconut oil, other than in the kitchen

Dark chocolate
Kelly Sillaste/Getty Images
Dark Chocolate

The flavanols in cacao help prevent inflammation that causes aging and disease, so dark chocolate is officially a health food.

Add it: Throw them into a gluten-free chocolate chip cookie recipe, a chocolate avocado mousse, or in a chocolate truffle to satisfy cravings. 

More than anything, remember that fresh is always best. But if you're not eating the foods above on a daily basis, consider adding a high-quality multivitamin and omega-3 supplement to your daily routine. Turmeric, ginger, and garlic are also available in concentrated capsule form for a natural anti-inflammatory boost.

The article The Top 10 Inflammation-Fighting Foods originally appeared on Rodale Wellness.