6 Best Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Inflammation is a natural process in the body that is part of the immune system. Inflammation happens naturally when the body is working to heal itself. When we see or feel inflammation it is usually in the form of swelling, redness, or even warmth or pain as immune system cells rush to the site of the injury or infection to speed healing. This can happen on the surface or inside the body. While inflammation is a necessary part of the healing process, too much inflammation or chronic inflammation can damaging to our health.

Sometimes the body will attack itself (an autoimmune response) or confuse certain foods or medicines for viruses or bacteria which can flare up the immune system and trigger inflammation. This can lead to chronic inflammation which is not part of the healthy healing process and can actually cause disease.

Chronic inflammation has been linked to a host of diseases including Alzheimer’s, cancer, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, and diabetes. Fortunately, there are things we can do to reduce inflammation in the body which may help us avoid or even manage these types of illnesses. These foods have been studied and well-documented for their healthy anti-inflammatory properties. Read on to learn more about the best anti-inflammatory foods and how to incorporate them into your diet.

1. Tomatoes

The antioxidant lycopene found in tomatoes has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Tomatoes have been shown to reduce the development of cancer and benign tumors, and prevent heart disease. Eating fresh tomatoes, tomato juice, or tomato sauce can deliver a daily dose of heart-healthy lycopene, reduce blood pressure, and lower cholesterol. Whenever possible, choose vine-ripened, organic tomatoes.

If you prefer to consume tomato juice or tomato sauce, just be careful to avoid sodium and sugar. Many processed tomato products like sauce and juice have added salt and sugar, which can offset the benefits of the tomato. Fresh tomatoes or home made tomato juice or sauce is your best option.

A word of caution with tomatoes: some people are sensitive or allergic to nightshade vegetables like tomatoes, eggplant, and peppers. People who have this dietary restriction may actually experience an inflammatory response when they eat these vegetables. If you suspect that you have a dietary sensitivity to nightshade plants, seek out the medical advice of an allergist to confirm. If you are sensitive to nightshade plants, then skip the tomatoes.