The 10 Best Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Best Anti-Inflammatory Foods

Inflammation is a defense mechanism of the body which can be summarized as an immune system reaction to harmful events in the body. The immune system sends white blood cells, proteins, and fluids to an affected area, a reaction designed to ensure the body can fight off invading viruses, bacteria, and more. This reaction also causes swelling, redness, and fever, all designed to protect and heal the affected tissue.

However, while the primary function of inflammation is to heal, failure to eliminate the original issue can lead to chronic inflammation, which is not helpful to the body. Eventually, chronic inflammation can negatively impact tissues, organs, and cells and lead to the breakdown of vital strongholds of the immune system. This can leave the body at risk for disease, infections, and tumors and even make vaccinations much less effective.

Chronic inflammation can also cause problems such as:

  • Depression
  • Pain
  • Social withdrawal
  • Fatigue
  • Reduced libido
  • Sleep problems
  • High blood pressure
  • Insulin resistance

What Are the Top 10 Inflammatory Foods?

Eating certain foods can exacerbate chronic inflammation in the body. Even worse, these foods – commonly termed “inflammatory foods” – can actually trigger the body’s inflammatory response, much like an invading pathogen would.

To reduce your risk of chronic inflammation, steer clear of these foods:

  • Red meat
  • Processed meats (bacon, hot dogs, and sausage)
  • Fried foods
  • Vegetable oils
  • Refined sugar
  • Refined flour and grains (cereals, white rice, white bread, pasta)
  • Dairy products
  • Processed corn (high fructose corn syrup)
  • Sodas and other sweet drinks (including diet sodas)
  • Snack foods (crackers, chips, snack cakes, cookies)

Top Ten Foods That Fight Inflammation

While the list of inflammatory foods can seem extensive, there are also some foods that fight inflammation. When consumed regularly as part of a healthy diet low in inflammatory foods, these foods may decrease low-grade chronic inflammation.

Here are 10 of the top anti-inflammatory foods, starting at number 10.

10. Citrus Fruits

Citrus Fruits
Citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits, and tangerines have antioxidants called polyphenols, which are believed to possibly turn off the inflammation switch in the body. Additionally, they are rich in flavanones, which are great for the immune system. Drinking 100% orange juice is also a great way to source the body with anti-inflammatory nutrients. One study shows that drinking orange juice without sugar or coloring added may be associated with the minimization of interleukin-6, an inflammation marker.

How Much and How Often

The recommended daily intake of citrus fruit maxes out at five servings, which would be about 200 mg of vitamin C. It is suggested that intake stays below this, though, and not exceed it due to the amount of fiber from the fruit that could upset the digestive system. In addition, it is recommended that adults drink no more than one cup of 100% fruit juice per day.

9. Pomegranate

Inside the intriguing design of a pomegranate is a flourishing bed of pockets containing flavor-rich, juicy, ruby-red seeds waiting to burst with antioxidant properties. Studies have shown that pomegranates lower several inflammatory biomarkers that are associated with chronic disease.

More specifically, pomegranates are good for supporting prostate health and are believed to possibly protect against certain types of cancer, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes, thanks to the antioxidant punicalagin. The anti-inflammatory potency of a pomegranate is similar to that of blueberries, and pomegranates are a great low-calorie addition to an anti-inflammatory diet.

How Much and How Often

Like blueberries, one cup of pomegranate seeds per day is recommended, and pomegranate juice or seeds can be safely consumed daily. Drinking 8 oz to 12 oz of 100% pomegranate juice with no sugar added is considered a safe amount per day for most individuals.

8. Avocados

Avocados are high in carotenoids, which are hard-hitting, anti-inflammatory antioxidants. They also have monounsaturated fats, vitamin A, and vitamin E, all of which are great at staving off cell damage. The soluble fiber in avocados also lowers the risk of heart disease.

How Much and How Often

You only need to eat anywhere from half to one whole avocado per day to enjoy this fruit’s benefits. While it doesn’t hurt to consume more than that, the high fat content in avocados could produce stomach pain or discomfort if you eat too many in one day.

7. Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes

A sweet potato’s colorful pigment gives away their richness in polyphenols, which are believed to not only prevent inflammatory damage but also possibly reverse existing damage. Plus, sweet potatoes are a great source of fiber (one sweet potato includes around 4 g of fiber), and the additional benefits they deliver are pretty impressive. Sweet potatoes are a great food to combat vitamin deficiency and can improve mental health, vision, immunity, and skin conditions, and they can aid in weight loss.

How Much and How Often

An individual may eat one serving of sweet potato per day, which is one potato. Experts do not recommend eating more than one per day, because there are so many other foods to incorporate into a diet that can balance out nutrients and other benefits. Try having a sweet potato in the morning for a nutritious breakfast meal or swapping a sweet potato in for a regular potato during any meal.

6. Turmeric

Turmeric contains the natural anti-inflammatory agent curcumin and is a great alternative to prescription medications to treat pain from arthritis and other conditions that result in chronic inflammation. It can be taken as a supplement or added to food, and it also helps support brain development. It is even believed to be successful in treating Alzheimer’s disease and depression. In addition, turmeric may help fight heart disease, inhibit cancer growth, and improve non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

How Much and How Often

One tablespoon of turmeric is equal to 6 g of carbs, 1 g of protein, and 2 g of fiber and has less than 30 calories. As a powder, it can be added to smoothies or other recipes. However, using a turmeric supplement rather than adding it directly to your food is perfectly fine, and it can be taken daily in amounts ranging from 500 mg to 2,000 mg per day. More than 8 g per day is not recommended.

5. Green Tea

Green Tea
Green tea is an excellent source of epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), an impactful compound that is known for its anti-inflammatory effects. However, its important to be careful not to consume too much green tea because excessive amounts are believed to elevate chronic inflammation. Other benefits of green tea include reducing the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, as well as aiding in weight loss.

How Much and How Often

Drinking three to five cups of green tea will deliver the optimal amount of health benefits. Alternatively, if you don’t prefer to drink green tea, you can get all the same benefits with green tea supplements.

4. Whole Grains and Oats

Whole Grains and Oats
Incorporating ancient grains into your diet, such as buckwheat, amaranth, sorghum, and barley can be beneficial for inflammation control. For example, buckwheat contains more than three times more fiber than all-purpose wheat flour, and it is gluten-free. It contains the phytochemicals quercetin and rutin, both of which are antioxidants that may reduce inflammation.

Like the ancient grains, whole-grain oats offer a great alternative to sugar-rich breakfast and snack options.

How Much and How Often

A one-cup serving of cooked buckwheat has about 155 calories, and a half cup of cooked oats delivers 4 g of fiber for just 150 calories. Oat groats (the whole oat seed with the husk removed) and other groats can deliver the most potent dose of anti-inflammatory properties. These are also a great source of several other nutrients and have other nutritional benefits, as well. Try swapping out half of the regular amount of white flour with buckwheat flour made from buckwheat groats in a familiar recipe to begin incorporating it into your diet. For example, you’ll find buckwheat pancakes to be just as delicious and more beneficial than traditional white flour pancakes.

So, What Are the Top 3 Anti-Inflammatory Foods?

While all the foods in this list have a host of health benefits, these are the three top anti-inflammatory foods.

3. Beans

Beans that are rich in fiber, like black beans, garbanzo beans, and cannellini beans, appear to help combat spikes in blood sugar and boast a wide variety of antioxidants. Half a cup of cooked beans yields about 7 grams of protein, equivalent to the same amount of protein in 1 ounce of meat. Plus, beans will keep you fuller for longer due to their high fiber content and can help lower cholesterol. Even canned beans are a great source of peptides, protein, fiber, and other nutrients.

How Much and How Often

The United States Dietary Guidelines recommend eating three cups of beans per week or ½ cup of beans per day. Vary your bean menu to reap the full potential of the benefits beans offer.

2. Omega-3s

Eating foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids can be an effective way to combat chronic inflammation in the body. They do this by inhibiting the release of two proteins in the body that are known to be conducive to inflammation: C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-6. Certain types of fish are rich in omega-3 fatty polyunsaturated fatty acid and can be a great dietary addition to improve your mood.

The best types of fish to eat as part of an anti-inflammatory diet include:

  • Tuna
  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Anchovies
  • Herring
  • Mackerel
  • Other cold-water fish

Nuts are another great food for fighting inflammation and are packed with omega-3s. Nuts help stabilize blood sugar and prevent the formation of free radicals in the body. Hemp seed and flax seed are also great sources of omega-3s and can be added to foods when prepping and cooking or added as a topping on salad.

Try some of the following nut recommendations if you need a quick, easy, and energizing snack:

  • Almonds
  • Pecans
  • Walnuts
  • Brazil nuts
  • Cashews
  • Hazelnuts

How Much and How Often

Incorporate the above types of fish into your diet at least twice a week in portions of around 3 oz to 4 oz. For other types of foods rich in omega-3s, women should eat about 1.1 g per day, and men should try to consume about 1.6 g per day.

What Is the #1 Most Anti-Inflammatory Food?

What is the strongest natural anti-inflammatory? In our quest to find the most anti-inflammatory food – i.e. the food with the most effective inclusion and delivery of free-radical fighting antioxidants – one group of foods rises to the top of the list time and time again. That food is, of course, berries!


Berries are known to have high levels of antioxidants, vitamin A, and vitamin C, as well as flavonoids and phytochemicals like anthocyanidin, ellagic acid, and quercetin. These antioxidants are believed to be the driving force behind the anti-inflammatory potency of berries.

While there is no poor choice when it comes to deciding which berries to consume, some do offer more benefits than others. Berries that are richer in purple, blue, and red hues have the strongest natural anti-inflammatory properties.

Blueberries are among the healthiest of berries and are readily available in most areas all year. They are a great choice for anyone trying to fight inflammation because they are high in vitamin K, magnesium, vitamin C, and rich in antioxidants. Not only are blueberries great inflammation fighters, but they can also help reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer, lower blood pressure, and increase brain function.

Another berry that is thought to contain as much as ten times more antioxidants than a blueberry is the açaí berry. Whether consumed as a juice, pulp, or berry, the açaí berry can be a very effective component of an anti-inflammatory diet. Not far behind in their high levels of antioxidants are blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, cranberries, and goji berries, all excellent inflammation fighters.

How Much and How Often

To get the most health benefits from berries, incorporate one cup of any of the berries mentioned above daily into a well-balanced and portion-conscious diet.

Extra Credit: Anti-Inflammatory Supplements

While consuming the healthy whole foods listed above is a wonderful way to ingest all the natural sources of anti-inflammatory compounds, you can up your game with anti-inflammatory supplements formulated to boast all the best properties of these foods and more. Even better, supplements are often targeted to produce the specific health and wellness benefits you seek. Here are a few outstanding anti-inflammatory supplements you can find right here in our Health & Wellness Shop.

BPC-157 Pure



BPC stands for Body Protection Compound, and that’s exactly what this supplement does. These oral capsules offer 500 mcg of one of the only naturally occurring peptides stable enough to be supplemented in oral form for immune, gastric, cardiac, and mental health benefits.

STAAR Labs Omega



If you’ve found it challenging to incorporate fish and nuts into your diet, you can opt for this omega-3 supplement that delivers docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an essential omega-3 fatty acid.




While this supplement is best known for its weight-loss and blood sugar control capabilities, SLM+ ingredients are also effective anti-inflammatory compounds. Compounds isolated from bitter melon extract and banaba leaf extract, as well as berberine HCL, have all been found to boast anti-inflammatory capabilities.




The benefits of green tea consumption were thoroughly noted above. However, this potent supplement isolates the active compound in green tea, EC3G, for its wealth of healthy effects on the human body, including anti-inflammatory properties.

Compounding Pharmacy of America Can Help You Find the Right Additions to Your Diet

When inflammation discomfort and pain flare up, try heat and cold therapies, over-the-counter pain options, or supplements, and take note of the foods you eat that may be causing your inflammation flare-ups. By omitting inflammation-causing foods from your diet and replacing them with anti-inflammatory foods, you can reduce inflammation, help heal your body, and benefit from an array of other positive effects that lead to optimal good health and well-being.

For a full selection of anti-inflammatory supplements, you can rely on the experts at Compounding Pharmacy of America. Shop our selection of vitamins and supplements today.

References :

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information. (2020). Inflammation. In StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing.
  2. Kim, H. J., & Cho, H. S. (2020). Anti-Inflammatory Effect of Quercetin on RAW 264.7 Mouse Macrophages Induced with Polyinosinic-Polycytidylic Acid. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 25(8), 1886.
  3. Office of Dietary Supplements – Omega-3 Fatty Acids. (2021, March 26). NIH Office of Dietary Supplements.
  4. Berry Good for Your Heart. (n.d.). Johns Hopkins Medicine.
  5. Li, Y., Yao, J., Han, C., Yang, J., Chaudhry, M. T., Wang, S., Liu, H., & Yin, Y. (2016). Quercetin, Inflammation and Immunity. Nutrients, 8(3), 167.
  6. Office of Dietary Supplements – Vitamin C. (2021, March 26). NIH Office of Dietary Supplements.
  7. Beans & Health Overview. (n.d.). Dry Bean Health Nutrition.

About Matt Poteet, Pharm.D.

Chief Operating Officer, The Compounding Pharmacy of America Matthew Poteet, Pharm.D. graduated with Honors from Lee University with a Bachelors of Science in Biological Science. After his undergraduate training, he completed the Doctor of Pharmacy program at Mercer University Southern School of Pharmacy, graduating in 2004. Dr. Poteet has spent much of his pharmacy career on staff at two of the most prestigious academic teaching hospitals in the Southeast; Emory University in Atlanta and Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. At these institutions he received extensive experience and training in sterile products compounding. He returned home to East Tennessee in 2010, where he has held the position of Pharmacy Director at two sterile products pharmacies in Knoxville. Matthew lives in Knoxville with his wife, Chris. Dr. Poteet is Tennessee’s first Board Certified Anti-Aging Pharmacist by the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine. Read More About Matthew Poteet, PharmD