9 Food Warriors to Combat Inflammation

healthy foods to combat inflammation
Medically Reviewed
December 6, 2023

As a clinical nutritionist at Nava Health, I have witnessed firsthand the transformative power of food in combating inflammation, the silent adversary that underlies many chronic health conditions.  

Inflammation is a natural bodily response to injury or infection. It helps the body heal and protect itself from harm. However, chronic inflammation, which is slow, long-term inflammation lasting for prolonged periods of several months to years, can be harmful. It can contribute to the development of many chronic diseases, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease. 

Chronic inflammation can be caused by many factors, including infections, autoimmune diseases, and lifestyle factors such as smoking, obesity, and stress. When the body is constantly in a state of inflammation, it can damage healthy cells and tissues.

This damage can lead to the development of chronic diseases. 

How to Treat Chronic Inflammation?

Nutritional counseling can be your secret weapon in the fight against chronic illness. It is a personalized roadmap to navigate the often confusing food world. A skilled clinical nutritionist can decipher your body’s unique needs, translate complex science into bite-sized actions, and build a sustainable eating pattern that nourishes you from the inside out. By optimizing your diet, you empower your body to prevent and manage chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and even some cancers.

Today, armed with an arsenal of nine nutritional powerhouses, my goal is to empower you to conquer inflammation and safeguard your health. 

Best Foods for Chronic Inflammation

1) Turmeric: The Golden Warrior

Turmeric, the vibrant spice that lends curry its golden hue, is a potent anti-inflammatory championed by ancient Ayurvedic medicine. Its active compound, curcumin, boasts remarkable anti-inflammatory properties, comparable to pharmaceutical drugs without the side effects. Curcumin’s superpower lies in its ability to modulate inflammatory pathways, quell the production of inflammatory mediators, and protect cells from oxidative stress, the root cause of inflammation. 

2) Ginger: The Fiery Healer

Ginger, a culinary staple with a zesty kick, is a formidable foe against inflammation. Its bioactive compounds, gingerols and shogaols possess potent anti-inflammatory properties, effectively reducing inflammation in various tissues throughout the body. Ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties extend to inhibiting the production of inflammatory prostaglandins and leukotrienes, further mitigating the harmful effects of inflammation. 

3) Berries: The Antioxidant Brigade

Berries are a treasure trove of antioxidants, the body’s defense against inflammation-inducing free radicals. Anthocyanins, the vibrant pigments that give berries their rich hues, are potent antioxidants that neutralize free radicals, preventing them from wreaking havoc on cells and tissues. Berries’ anti-inflammatory arsenal extends to their flavonoids, which modulate inflammatory pathways and protect cells from oxidative damage. 

4) Fatty Fish: The Omega-3 Crusaders

Fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines, are champions of inflammation reduction, armed with omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA. These essential fatty acids act as potent anti-inflammatory agents, suppressing the production of inflammatory molecules and promoting the resolution of inflammation. Omega-3s also enhance the production of specialized pro-resolving mediators, which actively dismantle inflammatory processes, restoring balance to the body. 

5) Leafy Greens: The Nutritional Powerhouses

Leafy green vegetables are packed with anti-inflammatory compounds, including vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Vitamin C, abundant in leafy greens, is a potent antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals, preventing inflammation. Also, leafy greens are rich in magnesium, modulating inflammatory pathways and promoting cellular repair. 

6) Broccoli: The Sulforaphane Superhero

Broccoli harbors an anti-inflammatory superhero – sulforaphane. When activated by chopping or chewing, this unique compound exerts potent anti-inflammatory effects by suppressing the production of inflammatory molecules and activating anti-inflammatory pathways. Sulforaphane’s anti-inflammatory prowess extends to its ability to detoxify harmful compounds, mitigating the detrimental effects of inflammation. 

7) Tomatoes: The Lycopene Legionnaires

Tomatoes, the vibrant stars of salads and sauces, are armed with a potent anti-inflammatory compound – lycopene. This antioxidant, responsible for tomatoes’ red hue, effectively neutralizes free radicals, preventing inflammation. Lycopene‘s anti-inflammatory arsenal extends to its ability to modulate inflammatory pathways and protect cells from oxidative damage. 

8) Garlic: The Allicin Ally

Garlic, the pungent culinary staple, harbors a potent anti-inflammatory compound – allicin. This sulfur-containing compound, released when garlic is crushed or chopped, effectively suppresses the production of inflammatory molecules and modulates inflammatory pathways. Allicin has the added anti-inflammatory benefit of enhancing the body’s antioxidant potential, reducing the harmful effects of inflammation. 

9) Tart Cherries: The Anthocyanin Avengers

Tart cherries are armed with anthocyanins, potent antioxidants that neutralize free radicals, preventing inflammation. Sour cherries’ anthocyanins are particularly effective in reducing post-exercise inflammation, promoting muscle recovery, and alleviating muscle soreness. 

Remember, conquering inflammation is an ongoing journey. Add these powerhouse foods to your toolkit as a part of your overall wellness strategy. It’s not just about what you eat, but how you eat.

Managing Chronic Inflammation and Weight Gain  – Nava Can Help!

A Nava Health, clinical nutrition counselor, can help you break unhealthy habits, overcome emotional eating, and discover the joy of mindful, delicious meals. Remember, prevention is often cheaper and more accessible than treatment, and investing in your nutritional health is investing in your future. So, take charge, seek guidance, and unlock the power of food to keep your body thriving. Schedule your nutrition assessment and get your health on track today!

Remember, when it comes to optimizing your health, a comprehensive approach is best. Partner with a healthcare provider like Nava Health, where clinical nutrition, along with conventional medicine and holistic therapies, are combined to help you achieve optimal results with overall wellness while reducing your risk for chronic disease 

Schedule an appointment today! 

Dana is a Doctor of Clinical Nutrition (DCN) and a Board Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS). Her passion for health and wellness started at a very young age and grew stronger once she started working with patients professionally. Her passion for personalized nutrition and precision medicine eventually expanded to education and academia.
Dana’s clinical and research focus is on digestive health, neuroendocrine-immune health, natural hormone balancing, reproductive health, and fertility.