33 Anti-inflammatory Foods You Should Be Eating

Olivia Salvatore
By Olivia Salvatore

Inflammation is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it’s your body’s natural defense mechanism against infections and injuries. On the other hand, chronic inflammation can lead to a host of health issues, including heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis.

The good news? Your diet can play a significant role in combating inflammation. Here are 33 anti-inflammatory foods you should be eating to keep your body in tip-top shape. Curious to know which superfood was considered sacred by the Aztecs? Keep reading to find out!

1. Turmeric

This golden spice has been used in Indian medicine for thousands of years.

Benefits: Contains curcumin, a powerful anti-inflammatory compound.

Tip: Pair turmeric with black pepper to enhance curcumin absorption.

2. Ginger

Ancient Chinese and Indian healers used ginger as a potent anti-inflammatory agent.

Benefits: Reduces muscle pain and soreness.

3. Berries

Berries are packed with antioxidants called anthocyanins.

Benefits: Reduce inflammation and protect cells from damage.

4. Fatty Fish

Omega-3 fatty acids in fish like salmon and mackerel are known for their anti-inflammatory properties. Aim to eat fatty fish at least twice a week.

Benefits: Lower the risk of heart disease and reduce inflammation.

5. Leafy Greens

Dark leafy greens like spinach and kale are rich in vitamins and antioxidants.

Benefits: Reduce inflammation and support overall health.

6. Olive Oil

Olive oil is a staple of the Mediterranean diet, known for its heart-healthy benefits.

Benefits: Contains oleocanthal, which has similar effects to ibuprofen.

Tip: Extra virgin olive oil is best as a finishing oil, meaning you don’t heat it; you just drizzle it.

7. Nuts

Nuts like almonds and walnuts are packed with healthy fats and antioxidants.

Benefits: Reduce inflammation and lower the risk of heart disease.

Tip: Nuts are high in calories. You don’t need much for a health boost.

8. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are high in lycopene, a powerful anti-inflammatory antioxidant.

Benefits: Protect against chronic diseases, including cancer.

Tip: Cooking tomatoes increases the amount of lycopene your body can absorb.

9. Bell Peppers

Bell peppers, especially the brightly colored ones, are rich in antioxidants.

Benefits: Reduce inflammation and oxidative damage.

10. Cherries

Cherries, particularly tart cherries, have been shown to reduce markers of inflammation.

Benefits: Help with muscle recovery and reduce symptoms of arthritis.

11. Avocados

Avocados, and avocado oil, aren’t only rich in healthy fats but also contain carotenoids and tocopherols.

Benefits: Lower inflammation and improve heart health.

12. Broccoli

Broccoli is part of the cruciferous family and is loaded with anti-inflammatory nutrients.

Benefits: Contains sulforaphane, which fights inflammation.

13. Garlic

Garlic has been used for its medicinal properties since ancient times.

Benefits: Contains allicin, which helps reduce inflammation.

Tip: Crush garlic before cooking to activate its beneficial compounds.

14. Green Tea

Green tea is rich in polyphenols, particularly epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). You can even grow your own tea!

Benefits: Reduces inflammation and boosts metabolic health.

15. Grapes

Grapes contain resveratrol, a powerful anti-inflammatory compound.

Benefits: Protect against heart disease and cancer.

Tip: Frozen grapes are amazing when it’s hot out!

16. Beets

Beets are rich in betalains, which give them their vibrant color and anti-inflammatory properties.

Benefits: Reduce inflammation and support detoxification.

17. Turmeric Tea

Also known as “golden milk,” turmeric tea is a popular anti-inflammatory beverage.

Benefits: Combines the benefits of turmeric with other anti-inflammatory spices like ginger and cinnamon.

Tip: Make turmeric tea by simmering turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon in milk.

18. Cinnamon

Cinnamon has been prized for its medicinal properties for thousands of years.

Benefits: Reduces inflammation and blood sugar levels.

Tip: Sprinkle cinnamon on your oatmeal, coffee, or smoothies.

19. Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate with high cocoa content is rich in flavonoids.

Benefits: Reduces inflammation and supports heart health.

Tip: Choose dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa for maximum benefits.

20. Flaxseeds

Flaxseeds are one of the richest plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids.

Benefits: Reduce inflammation and improve digestive health.

Tip: Add ground flaxseeds to your yogurt, or baking recipes.

21. Pomegranates

Pomegranates have been cultivated since ancient times and were considered a symbol of fertility and prosperity.

Benefits: Rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, pomegranates help reduce inflammation and lower the risk of chronic diseases.

Tip: Enjoy pomegranate seeds on their own, sprinkle them on salads, or blend them into spinach/kale smoothies for a tart, refreshing burst of flavor.

22. Whole Grains

Whole grains like oats and quinoa are packed with fiber and nutrients.

Benefits: Reduce inflammation and support digestive health.

Tip: Swap refined grains for whole grains in your diet.

23. Pineapple

Pineapple contains bromelain, an enzyme with anti-inflammatory properties.

Benefits: Helps reduce inflammation and aids digestion.

24. Apples

An apple a day keeps the doctor away, thanks to its anti-inflammatory benefits.

Benefits: High in fiber and antioxidants, apples support heart health.

Tip: Eat apples with the skin on to maximize nutrient intake.

25. Carrots

Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant.

Benefits: Reduce inflammation and support eye health.

26. Papaya

Papaya contains papain, an enzyme that helps reduce inflammation.

Benefits: Supports digestive health and reduces inflammation.

27. Kiwi

Kiwi is loaded with vitamin C and other antioxidants.

Benefits: Reduces inflammation and boosts immune health.

Tip: Consider eating the kiwi skin. It’s jampacked with nutrition.

28. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene and other anti-inflammatory compounds.

Benefits: Support eye health and reduce inflammation.

29. Mushrooms

Mushrooms like shiitake and maitake are known for their anti-inflammatory properties.

Benefits: Boost the immune system and reduce inflammation.

30. Chia Seeds

Chia seeds were a staple in the diet of ancient Aztecs and Mayans.

Benefits: High in omega-3s and fiber, chia seeds reduce inflammation and improve digestive health.

31. Blackberries

Blackberries are packed with anthocyanins, powerful anti-inflammatory antioxidants.

Benefits: Reduce inflammation and support cognitive function.

32. Oranges

Oranges are famous for their high vitamin C content.

Benefits: Reduce inflammation and boost immune health.

Tip: Eat a whole orange instead of drinking highly processed orange juice. Eating an orange gives you the full benefits of the fruit along with its healthy dietary fiber. A glass of orange juice is mostly just sugar that your body doesn’t have to work to break down.

33. Pumpkin

Pumpkin isn’t just for Halloween; it’s a nutritional powerhouse.

Benefits: High in beta-carotene, vitamins C and E, and fiber, pumpkin supports immune function and reduces inflammation.


There you have it, 33 anti-inflammatory foods that are as delicious as they are beneficial. Integrating these foods into your diet can help reduce chronic inflammation, boost your immune system, and improve your overall health. Plus, the variety ensures you’ll never get bored – from the ancient Aztecs’ beloved chia seeds to the Romans’ favorite aphrodisiac, arugula.

Did you know that chronic inflammation is linked to conditions like heart disease and diabetes? By making smart dietary choices, you can take proactive steps toward better health. 

So why wait? 

Start incorporating these anti-inflammatory superfoods into your meals today and give your body the love and care it deserves. After all, a healthier you means a happier you!

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