Powerful plants

7 foods scientifically proven to prevent inflammation

Berries, tea, tomatoes, and more.

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The food we eat can influence many things — how we feel, our risk factors for diseases, and even how long we live.

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Highly processed carbohydrates and sugars increase inflammation in the body, which can set the stage for conditions like heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease.

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Diets rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, and lean meats are linked to lower inflammation and longevity.

But some foods can give your body a specific anti-inflammatory boost.

Here are 7 foods that will help you fight inflammation:

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7. Tomatoes

Antioxidants like lycopene give this bright red fruit its rich, anti-inflammatory benefits.

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Higher lycopene levels in the body are negatively correlated with rates of breast and prostate cancer.

6. Coffee

Your daily cup of Joe also harbors high levels of antioxidants that can protect against inflammation.

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Light roast coffee seems to have the highest level of antioxidant activity, according to a 2017 study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food.

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Coffee boosts the body’s defenses in other ways too.

For example, a 2020 study in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention found an association between caffeinated coffee consumption and decreased risk of melanoma.

5. Green Tea

If you’re not a coffee drinker, green tea also has protective effects, thanks to one of its components — epigallocatechin-3-gallate.

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Also known as EGCG, this compound acts as an antioxidant and helps reduce inflammation.

A 2016 research review found green tea was linked to protections against inflammatory diseases in several animal, cellular, and human studies.

4. Honey

This sticky substance is revered across the world for its health benefits — anti-inflammation being one of them.

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Polyphenols — naturally occurring compounds in honey and plants — can take credit for honey’s ability to prevent chronic inflammatory diseases.

3. Olive Oil

An abundance of the compound oleocanthal is the secret to olive oil’s noted anti-inflammatory properties.

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Try cooking tomatoes in olive oil for the ultimate snack — one study found that this increased the body’s intake of the antioxidant lycopene.

2. Berries

Blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries are known to be high in antioxidants.

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In fact, the polyphenols that give berries their distinctive colors are the key to their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

1. Fermented Foods

Foods like kimchi, kefir, and yogurt give your microbiome a boost, and can in turn prevent inflammation.

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A July 2021 study published in Cell suggests a 10-week diet rich in fermented foods can help lower inflammation and boost immune responses.

Read more stories about food here.

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