7 Inflammation-Fighting Foods Nutritionists Love
As you may know, researchers believe that inflammation in the body plays a role in a slew of negative health conditions like heart disease, obesity, cancer, and more. Some foods, however — as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle — can actually help fight inflammation, and they're super tasty to boot. We tapped nutritionists to share their favorite inflammation-fighting foods, read on, and load up.
You don't have to tell us twice to eat this green-fleshed fruit. "Avocados contain carotenoids and tocopherols, which are linked to reduced cancer risk," says nutritionist Lisa De Fazio, RD. "In addition, one compound in avocados has been shown to reduce inflammation in young skin cells," she adds, recommending that you mash avocados up and use that as a creamy sandwich topper (try it in lieu of mayo) or slip some into a smoothie for a thicker texture without yogurt.
2. Canned Tomatoes
You may think fresh vegetables are always best, but canned tomatoes offer some unique health benefits. "Lycopene is a [powerful] antioxidant found in tomatoes. Cooked tomatoes have more lycopene than raw. Try using low sodium V8 and canned, crushed tomatoes as the base for your next pot of chili," advises nutritionist Lauren Popeck, RD at Orlando Health.
3. Wild Salmon
"Astaxanthin is the antioxidant found in salmon — what makes it pink — that is most powerful when it comes to fightinginflammation and improving blood flow," shares nutritionist Lisa Hayim, RD. Popeck also notes that you should aim to eat fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon and sardines two-to-three times a week.
"A powerhouse when it comes to anti-inflammatory foods, it is a 'warming' food that helps to warm the body and therefore breakdown the accumulation of toxins in the organs," explains Daily Harvest's Nutrition Advisor, nutritionist Amy Shapiro, RD. "It doesn't hurt that it also tastes great and feels good going down when your feeling under the weather. I add ginger to salad dressings so I can add to my salads and double down on anti-inflammatory foods," she says, adding that she's also a fan of the frozen food subscription service's ginger green smoothie.
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"Although all fruit contains potent antioxidants that mop up free radicals that damage your cells and cause inflammation as well as help reduce TNF-alpha, a marker of inflammation, brightly-colored berries contain anthocyanins, which are anti-inflammatory powerhouses," offer The Nutrition Twins, nutritionists Lyssie Lakatos, RD, and Tammy Lakatos Shames, RD, and authors of The Nutrition Twins' Veggie Cure. Beyond snacking on them, try adding them to salads for a punch of color and touch of sweetness.
6. Almonds or Unsweetened Almond Butter
Not much could top almond butter smothered on a few slices of apples for an afternoon snack. "I love these on their own, with a small piece of dark chocolate or with fruit, for a powerful antioxidant combo," says nutritionist Rebecca Scritchfield, author of Body Kindness. "The vitamin E in almonds contributes to their antioxidant properties."
7. Brussels Sprouts
It's time to befriend this oft villainized veggie. "Brussels sprouts and other cruciferous vegetables are rich in sulfurophane, which increases the activity of the liver's Phase 2 detoxification enzymes which clear free radicals from the body and reduce the toxic, inflammation-producing load," say The Nutrition Twins. "For easy, delicious Brussels sprouts, place them on a sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, and toss. Then roast for 35-to-40 minutes, until crispy on the outside."
Catch y'all at the supermarket.