18 Anti-Inflammatory Foods to Eat to Reduce Pain
Fill up on these nutritious whole foods to nourish your body, stop pain, and ease painful inflammation.
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have found that a chemical in extra-virgin olive oil, oleocanthal, inhibits inflammatory enzymes in the same way that ibuprofen does. Drizzle olive oil on veggies, salads, and other foods that reduce inflammation.
Bromelain, a protein-digesting enzyme, makes this tropical fruit one of the most potent anti-inflammatory foods. Studies show that eating pineapple may reduce pain in patients with knee osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis and lower swelling in people with carpal tunnel syndrome. These are the 9 subtle signs of hidden inflammation in your body.
These popular fruits are just one of the many foods that reduce inflammation because they contain quercetin, an anti-inflammatory antioxidant. No wonder one a day keeps the doctor away.
Nuts and seeds
Various nuts and seeds have a good amount of magnesium, l-arginine and vitamin E, which may play a role in keeping inflammation under control. The ideal option is the raw, unsalted nuts. The Arthritis Foundation National Office specifically recommends walnuts, peanuts, almonds, pistachios, flax seed, and chia seeds, too. Here are 10 proven ways to fight inflammation.
Green, leafy vegetables
Ana Iacob Photography/Shutterstock
Vegetables, like kale, chard, bok choy, and silverbeet are anti-inflammatory foods because they’re packed with anti-inflammatory carotenoids. These plant pigments give green and orange produce their vibrant color and thus make them great foods that reduce inflammation.
Yes, you read that correctly. Dark chocolate contains chemicals and anti-oxidants that help fight inflammation. According to a large Italian study, people who ate about one square of dark chocolate every three days had significantly lower measures of a protein associated with inflammation than those who ate no chocolate at all. At least 70 percent dark chocolate is best. These are the 12 foods that make inflammation worse.
Brown rice and other whole grains high in fiber can help fight inflammation. Fiber is known to lower c-reactive protein, a substance found in the blood produced by the liver in response to inflammation, Healthline reports. Pair this rice with some other foods that reduce inflammation for a meal with a nutritious punch.
Chomp on some grapes or mulberries or sip wine (yes!) for a dose of resveratrol, which inhibits inflammatory enzymes in much the same way aspirin does (but without the stomach irritation). Grapes also have anthocyanins which reduce inflammation, too. These are the 14 rules of the anti-inflammatory diet.
Onions and garlic
Foods that reduce inflammation like this family of bulb vegetables are high in anti-inflammatory substances, as well as sulfur compounds, that help stimulate the immune system to keep everything running smoothly. Here are the 6 foods that could be linked to fibromyalgia pain.
Green and black tea
Tea is rich in antioxidants or flavonoids, which may protect against cell damage that can worsen conditions such as arthritis. Research shows it also contains a chemical that fights inflammation, so consider swapping that morning cup of joe for a green tea instead.
This vegetable contains vitamins C and K, folate, fiber, and antioxidants. Broccoli, high in sulforaphane, fights inflammation by reducing your levels of cytokines, research shows. Other fruits and vegetables rich in sulforaphane, or foods that reduce inflammation, include kale, cabbage, bok choy, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and more.
Oily fish such as salmon, trout, and anchovies, along with walnuts, linseeds, pumpkin seeds, olive oil, and canola oil contain omega-3 fatty acids that make them powerful anti-inflammatory foods. A University of Pittsburgh study found that people with back and neck pain who took omega-3 fatty acids in supplement form for three months had less pain overall. Eat fatty fish at least twice a week and consider taking a daily omega-3 fatty acid supplement to fight pain. Here are 10 pains you should never, ever ignore.
Researchers at Oklahoma State University found that people with osteoarthritis, especially men, who ate 40 grams of soy protein per day for three months had less pain and moved more easily than those who didn’t. Other research also shows that soy food consumption is related to lowering inflammation in women, too. It’s tough to eat that much pure soy protein a day unless you add soy protein powder to shake or smoothie, but it is still worth adding a serving of soya beans, tofu, or soy milk to your daily food intake.
Gut health has links with inflammation, so it’s important to consume fermented foods such as sauerkraut, yogurt, and kimchi as part of an anti-inflammatory diet. The health benefits of fermented foods go well beyond inflammation, too. Research also shows they could help lower blood pressure, although more research is still necessary on the topic. Here are the 24 secrets pain doctors won’t tell you.
Although the perfect ripeness window is small with this fruit, it’s worth gambling your money on this avocados since they contain many nutrients. Compounds like carotenoids and tocopherols in avocados, among others, protect against inflammation and could also reduce your risk of cancer, research shows.
Some anti-inflammatory diets claim beans aren’t good for fighting inflammation. However, research shows that they are high in magnesium which is a strong anti-inflammatory, according to U.S. News & World Report. According to the Arthritis Foundation, beans could lower an indicator of inflammation found in the blood making them one of the foods that reduce inflammation. The best beans for fighting inflammation include small red beans, red kidney beans, and pinto beans. Next, check out these 50 proven remedies for fast pain relief.