10 of the most powerful anti-inflammatory foods to keep in your kitchen

Turmeric, ginger, caraway seeds and peanuts are displayed in...
Turmeric, ginger, caraway seeds and peanuts are displayed in... / Frank Bienewald/GettyImages

Could the secret to feeling better every day lie in your kitchen? It absolutely could. Everything you put in your body influences your chemistry, and chowing down on more anti-inflammatory foods is an excellent way to replace the ultra-processed stuff that spurs inflammation while boosting your energy levels and improving your overall health and well-being. 

Fortunately, you don’t have to look far — these foods are readily available in any grocery store. What should you add to your dinner plate? Chow down on these 10 most powerful anti-inflammatory foods and keep them in your kitchen.

Why You Should Eat More Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Systemic inflammation lurks behind many of today’s most deadly diseases, and whether it is a symptom or a cause remains a matter of scientific conjecture. However, what’s clear is how it makes you feel — utterly yucky.

Unfortunately, the ultra-processed foods that form the staples of many diets today spur inflammation. They’re full of things like bleached flour and sugar that wreak havoc on your blood glucose levels and salt and other additives that do not-so-nice stuff to your body, like raising your blood pressure. Conversely, the benefits of an anti-inflammatory diet include the following:

  • Less chronic pain and lower disease risk: Many doctors recommend an anti-inflammatory diet for patients with arthritis.
  • Improved mental health: Science has found an association between inflammation and mental disorders like anxiety and depression. 

The 10 Most Powerful Anti-Inflammatory Foods Everyone Needs in Their Kitchens

While many natural foods have anti-inflammatory properties, the ones on the list below belong in nearly everyone’s kitchens.

1. Turmeric and Ginger

These two Asian root herbs aren’t just for curries. They are among the most potent anti-inflammatory foods known to humankind. Turmeric is so strong that it can aid in workout recovery by reducing lactic acid buildup. Ginger is a primary ingredient in Trikatu, an Ayurvedic remedy so potent that doctors have investigated its use in COVID-19 treatment.

Both of these herbs are a snap to add to your daily diet. How? Shred a bit of the fresh root into your morning coffee or tea grounds. You’ll add a hint of chai flavor and oodles of anti-inflammatory food goodness.

2. Kale and Broccoli

Deep, leafy greens are also among the most anti-inflammatory foods you can eat, so bring on the salad. Did you know that many of them, such as broccoli, brussels sprouts and kale, all hale from the same original mustard plant? That’s a good thing, as they offer superior nutrition, and you can even find delicious hybrids like brokali when you want to get creative in the kitchen.

3. Red Wine or Grape Juice

Red wine and grape juice contain a polyphenol called resveratrol that has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It may reduce the risk of cancer by discouraging cell growth. Unfortunately, too much of the hard stuff increases your liver cancer risk, so stick to grape juice if you tend to overindulge. However, feel free to enjoy a single glass of the hard stuff with dinner.

4. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is also high in polyphenols and makes a fabulous salad dressing when mixed with a bit of unflavored yogurt, olive oil and herbs. It also contains natural probiotics that may improve your gut health, with benefits for the rest of your body, like improved mental well-being.

5. Garlic

Garlic contains several anti-inflammatory agents, allicin and diallyl disulfide, which protect the body in various ways. These properties emerge predominantly when you crush the fresh cloves, so skip the store-bought spice jar and stick to the real deal. It also improves the flavor of your pasta and pizza.

6. Bell and Hot Peppers

Bell and hot peppers are both anti-inflammatory, though in different ways. Bell peppers contain more vitamin C than oranges, especially the red variety. Hot peppers have capsaicin, the same anti-inflammatory compound found in many over-the-counter pain relief creams.

7. Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds contain polyphenols that fight inflammation. They’re also rich in minerals your brain needs, like magnesium, selenium and zinc, and replacing your salad croutons with these crunchy buddies may improve your mood. Additionally, they’re plant-based alternatives to meat that are packed with protein — a black bean burger with ground walnut and hemp seed has the texture of the real deal without cruelty or planetary impact.

8. Olive Oil

Olive oil is among the healthiest oils you can eat. It’s rich in monounsaturated fats, which are the kind your heart and brain need to function at their best. It’s also rich in polyphenols, food molecules that lower inflammation.

9. Green Tea

Green tea is an amazing source of ECGC, a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant substance. Studies in animals show that it lengthens life span, and people in regions that drink much of it tend to live longer on average. One recent study offers additional evidence to confirm that green tea’s longevity benefits extend to humans, too.

10. Dark Chocolate

How sweet it is to see this item on a list of anti-inflammatory foods. While you should avoid milk chocolate with its heavy sugar content, dark chocolate is good for you. Make it even better by serving it fondue-style and dipping in strawberries — berries are also anti-inflammatory.

Anti-Inflammatory Foods to Keep in Your Kitchen

You can improve how you feel each day by altering your diet. Including more anti-inflammatory foods while increasing your consumption of healthy ones is the perfect way to better your overall health and well-being.

Keep these staple anti-inflammatory foods in your kitchen. When you ask, “what’s for dinner,” you’ll always have the right ingredients to whip up something tasty and healthy.

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