10 Anti-Inflammatory Plant-Based Foods You Should Be Eating
Anti-Inflammatory Plant-Based. When it comes to taking your health into your own hands and fighting chronic inflammation you can do more than you think. From staying active and exercising to optimizing your sleep routine and keeping a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet.
Plants are full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, healthy fats, and other incredible and powerful compounds which help fight inflammation and inflammatory diseases such as cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, metabolic syndrome, asthma, cardiovascular disease, irritable bowel syndrome, diabetes, and more. Whether you’re plant-based or eating meat and fish, adding these foods will be crucial to keeping an anti-inflammatory diet.
Here are 10 anti-inflammatory foods I’ve encountered on my healing journey and found to be powerful and efficient.
These colorful little superfoods are packed with a bunch of different vitamins, minerals, and disease-fighting micronutrients. They owe their anti-inflammatory properties, as well as their dark red and blue colors, to antioxidants called anthocyanins. These compounds help boost your immune system and keep it functioning on the optimal level as well as protect against chronic diseases.
Whether you go for raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, red currants, black currants, or all of the above, it doesn’t matter. Choose your favorites and fill up your bowl on a daily basis! You’ll get a significant amount of immune boosting vitamin C and vitamin A, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and a number of other potent micronutrients.
I love adding mine on top of smoothie bowls for an anti-inflammatory, vitamin-packed breakfast, snacking on them when my sugar cravings hit, or simply heating them up with some honey and drizzling over almond-cacao pancakes.
The world has gone crazy for avocados…and so have I! Avocado toasts are probably one of the best inventions ever and with the incredible anti-inflammatory properties and health benefits you get from eating them only makes them more delicious.
Avocados are quite the powerbombs, packing an incredible amount of potassium, magnesium, fiber, vitamin C, and healthy fats. A variety of studies showcases their antioxidant and disease-fighting properties, so it’s no wonder you can find them on the menu of every brunch place worldwide.
In addition to the glorious avocado toasts, I love to make a healthy version of key lime pie with avocado for extra creaminess, use it in salad dressings, or make my own guacamole.
3.Extra Virgin Olive Oil
The Mediterranean diet is definitely one of the healthiest in the world, and one of the major reasons for it is EVOO, or extra virgin olive oil. It’s rich in healthy monounsaturated fats which are linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, brain cancer, and other serious chronic diseases.
The main antioxidant found in olive oil is oleocanthal, and studies show a significant reduction in inflammatory markers in those who consume it on the regular as a part of their anti-inflammatory diet.
I love drizzling mine over hummus, using it to massage leafy greens, and even making a chocolate-olive oil cake. Yes, it’s a thing! And a delicious thing!
I think it’s already pretty obvious I’m a huge proponent of the antioxidant properties of cacao. It’s an amazing superfood with a high dose of theobromine (40x higher than berries!) which not only helps you fight free radicals, but also does wonders to reduce chronic inflammation and keep your heart and blood vessels healthy and youthful for years to come.
Cacao powder not only tastes delicious, but can be used in such great variety in your daily anti-inflammatory diet. You can drink it as a shake or a hot beverage, enhance your coffee, turn it into a sauce and drizzle over waffles and pancakes, use the cacao nibs on top of your smoothies, make healthy brownies and cakes, or turn it into chocolate bars. There’s so much you can do with it!
It’s no surprise that green tea is on this list as it’s often named one of the healthiest, anti-inflammatory foods (herbs) in the world. Rich in catechins and a compound called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) which is known to decrease inflammation by reducing pro-inflammatory cytokine production and damage to the fatty acids in your cells.
I love starting my day with a hot cup of tea and smelling its flavorful aroma, especially when there’s a note of jasmine in it! If you’re not a tea drinker, you can always get creative and turn to healthy desserts such as green tea muffins or pancakes and help reduce inflammation the sweet way.
Who doesn’t love a good, rich, homemade tomato soup! Especially during these colder months when it warms you up just the right way. Well, in addition to being delicious, tomato soup brings on a bunch of anti-inflammatory health benefits.
Tomatoes are high in potassium, vitamin C, and lycopene, an antioxidant with really impressive anti-inflammatory properties. Studies show its particular effect on the chronic inflammation which occurs in specific cancers.
So, next time you think about making a pizza, do it. Just add a generous heap of all-natural tomato sauce!
When it comes to fighting inflammation, you can’t ignore cruciferous vegetables. Broccoli is one of my absolute favorites as it can be used in so many delicious recipes. From hearty, creamy soups and homemade pasta sauces to warm winter salads and baking their little florets in the oven until they’re crunchy and crispy.
Broccoli is rich in sulforaphane, an anti-inflammatory antioxidant which reduces the levels of cytokines and other damaging molecules that attack your immune system and elevate your inflammatory markers. It’s also high in calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and other micronutrients that help keep your blood sugar and blood pressure in the optimal range, all helping combat inflammation through different cell pathways.
When cherries are in season, you can’t prevent me from buying them almost every single day. They’re these juicy, delicious treats I simply cannot resist! And knowing they are packed with anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting properties only adds on to my addiction.
They help reduce inflammation through a powerful combination of antioxidants catechins and anthocyanins. Studies show lowered inflammatory markers and improved cardiovascular health after only a month of increasing your intake, and if this isn’t reason alone to start adding them on top of your smoothies or simply snacking on them while you watch your favorite TV show, I don’t know what is!
One of my favorite spices, turmeric, has been known to reduce inflammation for hundreds of years. The active compound in turmeric is called curcumin and it’s linked to treating many different diseases such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and heart disease, as well as chronic inflammation overall.
One of the main ingredients in many Indian-based dishes, I love using turmeric in my plant-based curries and spreads, adding it to my hummus, as well as sprinkling them over my oven-baked sweet potatoes.
And last, but not least, mushrooms are one of my favorite anti-inflammatory foods. They are rich in B vitamins, selenium, copper, and a variety of antioxidants that help reduce inflammatory markers and with it, the risk factor for a plethora of chronic diseases.
Studies show how some specific mushrooms, such as lion’s mane, may even potentially reduce low grade inflammation related to obesity.
However, it’s important to note that cooking mushrooms apparently seems to significantly lower their anti-inflammatory effects so it would be best to eat them lightly cooked or raw.
Chronic inflammation is a huge issue we’re all faced with. Whether it’s through poor food choices full of processed foods, refined carbohydrates, excess sugars, fried foods, and partially hydrogenated oils, sedentary lifestyles or daily stressors we can’t seem to get rid of. These lifestyle routines promote inflammation and put you at risk of developing chronic diseases.
The most important thing is to become aware of how it’s affecting our overall health and wellness and make steps towards reducing inflammation and preventing heart disease, cancer, and other serious and chronic illnesses. Add these eight anti-inflammatory foods into your diet and feel better knowing you’re doing something wonderful for your health!