What Are the Best Anti-Inflammatory Foods?

Do you have chronic pain?  Is there a possibility that part of that pain could be from inflammation?  If so, you can do something about that by eating foods that fight inflammation.  So what are the best anti-inflammatory foods?

What Are the Best Anti-Inflammatory Foods?

Why I Want to Eat Foods That Fight Inflammation

If you have read any of my posts on this website, you know I suffer from chronic pain.  This pain is in my right buttock mostly.  It is like sciatica, but it never goes away, as I understand most sciatica does eventually.  

On top of that, I have intestinal issues.  Just recently I have had a “flareup” in my diverticula.  Fortunately it is not diverticulitis (an infection of the diverticula), but was instead diagnosed as diverticulosis (an inflammation of the diverticula).  

I was told after my computed tomography (CT) scan that nothing is done to heal inflammation.  They were willing to prescribe antibiotics, but that is for an infection.  And I wasn’t interested in taking them if I didn’t have an infection.  

So I was determined to do all I could to reduce the inflammation in my intestines, and at the same time, reduce the inflammation in my buttock.  Which led me to find foods that would assist in that endeavor.  

But First . . .

Did you know that one of the best healthful practices is drinking water?  I’m mentioning this first because it is an easy fix and should be promoted in all health care plans.  But usually isn’t.  People I know are probably tired of hearing me go on about this, but it is so vital and so easy.  

I keep track with an app called My Water.  I have the free version that is just the basics, but it helps me remember to drink water throughout the day.  To find out if you are drinking enough water, check out this water calculator website called hydrationforhealth.  

So start drinking more water.  In fact, get up right now and drink some.  And carry around a glass today.  Then come back to this article.  You’ll be surprised how much better you feel!  You’re welcome.  

And Now, The Best Anti-Inflammatory Foods!

Listed in no particular order, I made this list from researching a few websites.  Some lists included the same foods.  I’m not sure why all the lists weren’t the same.  I am including as many as I can in hopes you can find some that interest you, and that you can eat.

I personally avoid grains.  This is because of what my gastroenterologist told me.  Want to know what he said?  Read my article Are You Living with Diverticulitis?  Yeah, I miss my tortillas and bread, but I will give them up to feel well.

So these are recommended only if you can eat them.  If they have some side effects on you, avoid them!  You are trying to get well, not get sicker.  And with so many choices, hopefully you can find some foods to assist your anti-inflammatory fight.

What Are the Best Anti-Inflammatory Foods?

Berries – Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and so on.  The closer to the natural state, the better.  The old wisdom used to be that if you have diverticulitis you shouldn’t eat berries because of the little seeds.  So take that into consideration.  Berries are high in vitamin C, which makes them a wonderful antioxidant and therefore an anti-inflammatory food.  

Fatty Fish – The best fish are ones that are high in oil, so they are called fatty fish (cuz no one ever saw an overweight salmon!).  The fish high in oil are high in omega3,  which are the good fats.  They are an anti-inflammatory compound which will help fight inflammation.  

Cruciferous VegetablesThese are the vegetables everyone loves to hate; broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, cabbage, kale, bok choy, and garden cress.  But because they are an anti-inflammatory, and we know we all need veggies in our diet, I recommend you add them to your plate.  

Avocados – I understand you either love these or you don’t.  So many ways to eat them though!  Guacamole comes to mind, as well as in salads, as avocado toast, or just by themselves.  These babies have lots of antioxidants too from their healthy fat.  They are so powerful, they can offset bad food choices!  

Peppers – All kinds of peppers are helpful, so you don’t necessarily have to eat some hot chili pepper, although those are wonderful foods.  Again, I stay away from the really hot ones because of the diverticulitis.  Experiment to find out which ones work for you.  They are high in vitamin C and therefore great antioxidants.

Mushrooms – These also see like foods some people just don’t like.  I was sort of surprised that they were on the list.  After all they are fungi!  But throughout history many cultures have used mushrooms for treatment of various health issues.  They are rich in compounds that are anti-inflammatory.  If you want a detailed discussion here is a link of a National Institute of Health article.  

Grapes – These contain anthocyanins, which reduce inflammation.  I suppose that is what makes wine good for you.  I’m not recommending drinking wine.  But a handful of grapes is a nice snack.  And you are fighting inflammation.  Although any color is good, red and Concord have the highest level of anthocyanins.  

What Are the Best Anti-Inflammatory Foods?

Dark Chocolate – At least this is chocolate!  I know, it’s not to everyone’s liking, but you can get a chocolate fix and fight inflammation in one food.  The higher the chocolate content, the more benefits.  One study said that 84% chocolate seemed to have the most benefits.  Enjoy!

Tomatoes – These are high in vitamin C, potassium and lycopene. Lycopene has powerful antioxidant properties as well.  Tomatoes cooked in olive oil helps even more in the absorption of lycopene.  Makes me want to cook some pasta and add an olive oil tomato sauce!

Cherries – These contain polyphenols and vitamin C which contribute to their  anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.  The polyphenols fight free radicals which contribute to inflammation.  

Walnuts – I eat these for a snack because they are high in protein and low in saturated fat.  They are rich in omega like the oily fish and therefore are great for fighting inflammation. They are also known to reduce the bad cholesterol. 

What Are the Best Anti-Inflammatory Foods?

Pomegranate – I admit I don’t eat these much.  They seem like too much work.  I know you can buy the juice, but it is really expensive.  Also, even though you can eat the seeds, I am afraid to because of my diverticulitis issues.  But I read that they especially reduce inflammation in the digestive tract, so I guess I better start eating them or drinking the juice.  

Green Tea/Matcha – I wrote an article on the benefits of green tea.  See How is Green Tea Good for You?  This article provides extensive information about green tea and matcha.  I’ve been drinking it iced lately with a little honey, because I find it to be slightly bitter.  

Turmeric – This spice contains cucumin which is an inflammation blocker.  There are studies that show it is as effective as some anti-inflammatory drugs!  And that is without the usual side effects.  Use it in cooking, drink it in warm water, or take a supplement.

Whole Grains – This is one that I have to stay away from; all grains seem to be a problem for me.  But if they aren’t a problem for you, then whole grain bread, quinoa, oats and rice are all great options.  Have you tried Dave’s Killer Bread?  It’s got tons of different grains in it, and it is very nutritious.  

Thrive Market

Here is a link to a program called Thrive Market. They have hundreds of products available, including organic, natural, vegan, sustainable and much more. You get a free gift if you join! If you purchase a membership, I receive a referral fee. Just click on the image below.


I hope this list has been helpful to you.  What do you think?  Have you used any of these foods for inflammation relief?  I would like to hear back from you if so.  Or if you have any questions, please leave them in the comments.  Thank you.

And here’s a video of what foods to avoid!

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2 thoughts on “What Are the Best Anti-Inflammatory Foods?”

  1. Hi, Barbara,

    I can attest to this. I remember my doctor once told me about the properties of many of the foods you mention. I try to eat a balanced diet that includes as many healthy foods as possible, although I’m not a fan of mushrooms, cruciferous vegetables, or fish. I think it’s just a matter of creativity and finding ways to consume them.

    I’m sorry to hear you suffer from sciatica. An aunt of mine has the same problem, and she says the pain is unbearable at times.

    When thinking about health, medication often comes to mind, but we usually overlook the benefits of natural remedies. If we all ate more healthily, did exercise, and slept more, our lives would be so much different. It’s a pity that the lives we lead won’t always let us do this.

    Thank you for sharing. I’ll bookmark this for future reference.

    • Thank you for taking the time to read my article. I really hope it is helpful. I hope as well that some of this might help your aunt. I agree that it is imperative that we take care of ourselves through healthy eating and exercise. And these anti-inflammatory foods can assist us in a natural way to take care of ourselves. To your health! Barbara


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