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5 Amazing Anti-inflammatory Foods

Most of us think of the term anti-inflammatory in relation to pain relief, especially for relief from arthritis and joint pain. Anti inflammatory medications that reduce pain and swelling are well accepted, but the term anti-inflammatory to describe food is not as easily understood.

Here’s an overview of what you should know about anti inflammatory foods…

Anti-inflammatory foods won’t relieve the pain in your arthritic knee the way an anti-inflammatory medication will. Anti-inflammatory foods help to reduce the slow-burn impact of low-grade inflammation in the body which underlies most chronic illness.

Low grade systemic inflammation is increased by poor dietary choices, high sugar, high alcohol consumption, shallow breathing, stress, environmental toxins and so much more. Anti-inflammatory foods help offset this type of inflammation (Stromsnes, 2021).

Think of anti-inflammatory foods as protective and preventive rather than directly healing. Prevention is their superpower.

Here are 5 of our favourite anti inflammatory foods, and why we love them:


Known for their Vitamin C, blueberries contain other disease-fighting nutrients including flavonoids, resveratrol, polyphenols and anthocyanins. All have anti inflammatory activity, but it’s the anthocyanins that make blueberries number 1 on our list. The anti-inflammatory benefits of blueberries is well documented with moderate consumption linked to reduced risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, healthy weight maintenance and improved brain and gut health. (Kalt, 2019). Half a cup a day is enough to get you going!


All leafy greens have anti inflammatory properties but broccoli has been a stand out for decades, due to its detoxifying and cancer-protective qualities. One particular compound in broccoli, sulforaphane appears to be the most bioactive in this regard. It’s present in broccoli and in the highest concentration in broccoli sprouts – the still-growing seedlings of a broccoli plant. (Fahey & Kensler, 2021, Greany et. al., 2016, Houghton, 2019). You can add broccoli sprouts to salads and smoothies, but they can be a little hard to come by. Luckily, broccoli sprouts are available in supplement form which makes it easier.

Fresh Salmon

Salmon is famously high in Omega 3, the source of its anti-inflammatory properties. We can’t produce Omega 3 so we must get it from food. Omega 3 isn’t considered an essential nutrient, but the standard western diet has caused an imbalance between Omega 3 and Omega 6 in our bodies, increasing chronic inflammation. Omega 3 rich foods like salmon help balance this ratio. (Ricker, 2017).

Flax Seeds

Another source of Omega 3, flax seeds contain a second fatty acid, alpha linolenic acid or ALA. Like Omega 3, ALA is not essential, but it goes a long way to offset inflammatory processes in the body. The fibre in flax seeds help too (Kotare, 2012, Goyal et. al., 2014). Again, you can add flaxseeds or flax meal to your diet pretty easily, and flaxseed oil is widely available as a supplement.


Walnuts look like tiny brains, and if you’re smart, you’ll eat them! Walnuts contain a range of healthy fatty acids including ALA, as well as melatonin, polyphenols and a mixture of fibres. Studies of diets that include walnuts demonstrate a reduction in multiple inflammatory compounds and higher numbers of anti-inflammatory compounds – a double win! Adding a handful of walnuts to your day is pretty easy!

We shouldn’t overcomplicate food and healthy eating. Choosing to eat healthier foods is the easiest way to prevent illness and support health and anti-inflammatory foods are some of the healthiest.

Now you know 5 of the best, all you have to do it eat them!

Some of our favourites...


Fahey, J. W., Kensler, T. W. (2021). The challenges of designing trials with broccoli sprouts and turning evidence into public action, Frontiers in Nutrition,

Goyal, A., Sharma, V., Upadhyay, N., Gill, S., & Sihag, M. (2014). Flax and flaxseed oil: an ancient medicine & modern functional food. Journal of food science and technology, 51(9), 1633–1653.

Greaney, A.J., Maier, N.K., Leppla, S.H. and Moayeri, M. (2016). Sulforaphane inhibits multiple inflammasomes through an Nrf2-independent mechanism. Journal of Leukocyte Biology,( 99), pp. 189-199.

Houghton,C. A., (2019), Sulforaphane: Its “Coming of Age” as a Clinically Relevant Nutraceutical in the Prevention and Treatment of Chronic Disease, Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, Article ID 2716870, 27 pages

Kalt, W., Cassidy, A., Howard, L. R., Krikorian, R., Stull,A. J., Tremblay, F., Zamora-Ros, R. (2020). Recent Research on the Health Benefits of Blueberries and Their Anthocyanins, Advances in Nutrition, 11(2), pp. 224 236,

Katare, Charu & Sonali, Saxena & Agrawal, Dr & Prasad, GBKS & Bisen, Prakash. (2012). Flax Seed: A Potential Medicinal Food. Journal of Nutrition & Food science. 2. 10.4172/2155-9600.1000120

López-Chillón MT, Carazo-Díaz C, Prieto-Merino D, Zafrilla P, Moreno DA, Villaño D. (2019). Effects of long-term consumption of broccoli sprouts on inflammatory markers in overweight subjects. Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 38(2), pp:745-752. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2018.03.006. PMID: 29573889

Ricker MA, Haas WC. Anti-Inflammatory Diet in Clinical Practice: A Review. (2017). Nutrition in Clinical Practice, 32(3), pp. 318-325. doi: 10.1177/0884533617700353. Epub 2017 Mar 28. PMID: 28350517

Stromsnes K, Correas AG, Lehmann J, Gambini J, Olaso-Gonzalez G. (2021). Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Diet: Role in Healthy Aging, Biomedicines, 30, 9(8) p. 922. doi: 10.3390/biomedicines9080922. PMID: 34440125; PMCID: PMC8389628

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