As you may know (or maybe you don’t) inflammation was a key topic of my Masters thesis. In fact, my work was presented at a national scientific meeting and published in a nutrition journal.
I find inflammation truly fascinating because nearly every single disease has some link to increased inflammation in the body at a cellular level. One of the most potent inflammatory sources is the food we eat so we can do a great deal to help reduce inflammation by eating more anti-inflammatory foods.
I came across a couple of excellent research studies that have classified food into an anti-inflammatory index. I have used those studies to make up this detailed list of anti-inflammatory foods that you can include more of in your everyday diet.
The Anti-Inflammatory Index
I’ve listed the foods or nutrients in descending order from the most anti-inflammatory, so for example, magnesium is the most anti-inflammatory nutrient. Of course this is not a definitive list of every single food or nutrient there is but these are the key nutrients they found to be anti-inflammatory. Below you will find detailed food lists for some of these nutrients.
|Omega 3 fats||-0.384|
Now let’s dig into each nutrient and list some of the food sources.
Magnesium is the top anti-inflammatory nutrient so here are the foods highest in magnesium.
|Sun dried tomatoes||105|
|Brown rice flour||177|
Beans and Legumes
I won’t be including foods with turmeric because turmeric is a spice that can be eaten both fresh or from the dried spice. There are lots of ways you can use turmeric in cooking and since it is one of the most anti-inflammatory spices I will be sharing lots of turmeric recipes here soon.
Beta carotene and Vitamin A
Beta Carotene is a version of Vitamin A, so these are the foods highest in beta carotene and Vitamin A.
Amount equivalent to 1 cup of each food.
|Food||Beta Carotene (ug)|
|Sweet potato without skin||30,976|
|Sweet potato baked in skin||25,126|
|Peas and carrots frozen||13,136|
|Frozen, carrots, collards, kale – boiled||11,971-11,470|
|Spinach – boiled||11,318|
|Kale – boiled||10,625|
|Butternut Squash/pumpkin- baked||9,368|
That’s all types of tea but I do also think drinking green tea is better for you. It doesn’t contain as much caffeine and is very high in antioxidants as well.
The best place to get dietary fiber is from fruit and vegetables. You will also see that amongst the other food lists there are many fruits and vegetables, so eating plenty of those provides an anti-inflammatory effect. A minimum of 5 serves of vegetables a day should be consumed. One serve is equal to 1/2 cup broccoli or 1 cup lettuce or spinach. You should easily be able to eat way more than 5 serves but this should be a minimum guide.
Quercetin is a flavonoid. A flavonoid is a group of plant pigments that give fruits and vegetables their colour. Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants helping the body fight free radicals, which can damage cells. All types of fruit and vegetables may contain a certain amount of quercetin. The ones in the list are the highest sources.
|Broccoli – raw||3.21mg|
|Green beans (raw)||2.73mg|
|Buckwheat flour –wholegrain||2.72mg|
Red wine has long been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects BUT that’s only if it’s consumed moderately – no more than 2 glasses a day. Unfortunately, most of us can’t stick to just 2 glasses, after which it becomes inflammatory.
Luteolin is another type of flavonoid. These are just a few of the foods that have been studied for luteolin levels.
Amount equivalent to 1 cup of each food.
|Seaweed – spirulina||5.60mg|
|Red bell pepperd||3.22mg|
|Sweet potato – boiled||3.08mg|
|Canned asparagus drained||2.95mg|
Omega 3 Fats
You’ve probably heard of the anti-inflammatory benefits of Omega 3 fats. The most common way to take these is in supplement form such as cod liver oil or other fish oils. Krill oil is also an omega 3 and can be taken in supplement form. The benefits of omega 3s are found in the EPA and DHA and of course…there are also food sources you can include more of and most of these are fish, hence the reason why people often find it easier to take a supplement.
|Herring – pacific||1.788gEPA/1.272DHA|
|Red salmon fillets with skin- sockeye alaska||0.977EPA/1.642DHA|
|Pink salmon canned||0.718EPA/0.685DHA|
|Farmed pink salmon||0.586EPA/1.284DHA|
|Tuna canned in water||0.198EPA/0.880DHA|
Vitamin D is mostly synthesised via our skin, which is why getting sun on our skin is so important. Many people are becoming deficient in Vitamin D because in our modern world we don’t get enough sun exposure. We’ve all heeded the sun smart message a little too much because even though sunscreen may provide protection, it also blocks the synthesis of vitamin D. Vitamin D is not wide spread in food but only found in a few food sources.
Equivalent to 1 cup of ingredient.
|Red salmon tinned||715IU|
|Canned pink salmon -drained||493IU|
|Canned tuna in olive oil – drained||393IU|
|Vegetables highest in Vitamin C||Mg per cup|
|Mollusks, oysters (eastern)||90.95mg|
|Mollusks, oysters (pacific||16.62mg|
|Tahini (sesame seed paste)- unroasted||10.45mg|
B vitamins – B6, niacin, folate, riboflavin, thiamin
Vitamin B6 – Prunes, bluefish, banana, potato, watermelon, chicken breast, tuna, meats, legumes
Niacin – Chicken breast, tuna, fish, ground minced meat, liver, sunflower seeds, mushrooms, peanut butter, nuts and protein foods
Folate – Beans and lentils, asparagus, green leafy vegetables, seeds, liver
Riboflavin – Liver, clams, mushrooms, plain yogurt, milk, cheese, eggs
Thiamin – Pork loin, acorn squash, brown rice
Garlic and Ginger
Of course garlic and ginger don’t have food lists either because they are both spices. Use these more in cooking as well for their powerful anti-inflammatory actions.
There are a few other things that are lower down on the anti-inflammatory food index but if you focus on including more of the top foods, starting at the top of the list with magnesium, then you will definitely notice a reduction in your inflammation before too long.
If you want all of this info in a take home guide, grab your copy below and get started 🙂