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The 13 best anti-inflammatory foods you can eat

Die 13 besten entzündungshemmenden Nahrungsmittel, die Du essen kannst

Inflammation can be a good thing and a bad thing. On the one hand, it helps your body defend itself against infection and injury, but on the other hand, chronic inflammation can lead to weight gain and serious illness (1). Stress, pro-inflammatory foods and too little physical activity can further increase this risk.

However, studies have shown that some foods can fight inflammation. Here are 13 anti-inflammatory foods:

1. berries

Berries are small fruits that are packed with fiber, vitamins and minerals. Although there are dozens of types of berries, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and currants are the most common berry fruits.

Berries contain antioxidants called anthocyanins. These compounds have anti-inflammatory effects that can reduce the risk of a whole range of diseases (2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

The human body produces natural killer cells that help the immune system to function properly. One study found that men who consumed blueberries daily produced significantly more of these killer cells than men who did not eat berries (5).

In another study, overweight men and women who ate strawberries had lower levels of certain inflammatory markers associated with heart disease (6).

Summary: Berries provide antioxidants known as anthocyanins. These compounds can reduce inflammation, improve immune system function and reduce the risk of heart disease.

2. oily fish

Fatty fish is an excellent source of protein and the long-chain omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. Although all types of fish contain some amount of omega-3 fatty acids, the following fish are among the best sources:

  • Salmon
  • sardine
  • herring
  • mackerel
  • Anchovies

EPA and DHA reduce inflammation, which can lead to metabolic syndrome, heart disease, diabetes and kidney disease (7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12). The body metabolizes these fatty acids into compounds called resolvins and protectins, which have anti-inflammatory effects (10).

In clinical studies, it was observed that people who consumed salmon or EPA and DHA supplements had reduced levels of C-reactive proteins, which are considered inflammatory markers (11, 12). However, in another study of subjects suffering from irregular heartbeat who took EPA and DHA daily, no differences were observed in the levels of inflammatory markers compared to the placebo group (13).

Summary: Fatty fish contains large amounts of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which have anti-inflammatory effects.

3. broccoli

Broccoli is extremely nutritious. Broccoli is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family, which also includes cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. Scientific research has shown that eating plenty of cruciferous vegetables is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease and cancer (14, 15).

This could be related to the antioxidant effects of the antioxidants contained in these vegetables. Broccoli is rich in sulforaphane, an antioxidant that fights inflammation by lowering levels of cytokines and NF-kB, which promote inflammation (16, 17, 18).

Summary: Broccoli is one of the best sources of sulforaphane, an antioxidant with strong anti-inflammatory effects.

4 Avocados

Avocados may be one of the few supposed superfoods that actually deserve the title. They are packed with potassium, magnesium, fiber and heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids. Avocados also contain carotenoids and tocopherols, which have been linked to a reduced risk of cancer (19, 20, 21). In addition, a compound found in avocados may reduce inflammation in young skin cells (22).

One study found that people who ate a slice of avocado with a hamburger had lower levels of the inflammatory markers NF-kB and IL-6 than those who ate only the hamburger (23).

Summary: Avocados provide a number of beneficial compounds that may protect against inflammation and reduce the risk of cancer.

5 Green tea

You've probably heard that green tea is one of the healthiest beverages you can drink. It reduces the risk of heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer's disease, obesity and other diseases (24, 25, 26, 27).

Many of these benefits can be attributed to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of compounds found in green tea, and in particular a compound called epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). EGCG inhibits inflammation by reducing the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and preventing damage to fatty acids in cells (26, 27).

Summary: The high EGCG content of green tea reduces inflammation and protects against cell damage that can lead to disease.

6. peppers and chili peppers

Bell peppers and chili peppers are packed with vitamin C and antioxidants that have powerful anti-inflammatory effects (28, 29, 30). Peppers also contain the antioxidant quercetin, which can reduce a marker of oxidative damage in people suffering from the inflammatory disease sarcoidosis (31).

Chili peppers contain sinapinic acid and ferulic acid, which can reduce inflammation and contribute to healthier aging (32, 33).

Summary: Bell peppers and chili peppers are rich in quercetin, sinapinic acid, ferulic acid and other antioxidants with strong anti-inflammatory effects.

7. mushrooms

Although there are thousands of species of mushrooms, only a few are edible and commercially cultivated. These include truffles, button mushrooms and shiitake mushrooms. Mushrooms are very low in calories and rich in selenium, copper and all the B vitamins. They also contain certain phenols and other antioxidants that provide anti-inflammatory protection (34, 35, 36, 37, 38).

A special type of mushroom known as hedgehog spiny beard can potentially reduce underlying inflammation that can be observed in obesity (36).

One study concluded that cooking mushrooms can significantly reduce their levels of anti-inflammatory compounds, so it may be best to eat mushrooms raw or only lightly cooked (37).

Summary: Some edible mushrooms contain compounds that can reduce inflammation. Eating mushrooms raw or only lightly cooked could help you benefit from their full anti-inflammatory benefits.

8. grapes

Grapes contain anthocyanins, which reduce inflammation. In addition, they may reduce the risk of a number of diseases including heart disease, diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer's disease and eye disease (39, 40, 41, 42, 43). Grapes are also one of the best sources of resveratrol, another compound that has many health benefits.

One study found that people suffering from heart disease who took a daily grape extract showed a reduction in gene markers for inflammation, including Nf-kB (43). In addition, their adiponectin levels increased. Low adiponectin levels are associated with weight gain and an increased risk of cancer (44).

Summary: Several plant compounds found in grapes, including resveratrol, can reduce inflammation. They may also reduce the risk of a number of diseases.

9 Turmeric

Turmeric is a spice with a strong, earthy flavor that is often used in curries and other Indian dishes. Turmeric has also attracted a lot of attention in the medical field due to its pronounced anti-inflammatory effects. Turmeric has been shown to be very effective in reducing inflammation associated with arthritis, diabetes and other conditions (45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51). One gram of curcumin - the active ingredient in turmeric - combined with black pepper piperine has been shown in scientific studies to produce significant reductions in the inflammatory marker CRP in people suffering from metabolic syndrome (50).

However, it may be difficult to consume enough curcumin in the form of turmeric to achieve a clearly noticeable effect. In one study, no improvements in inflammatory markers were observed in overweight women who consumed 2.8 grams of turmeric per day (51).

Taking supplements containing isolated curcumin is much more effective. Curcumin supplements are often combined with piperine, which can increase absorption by 2,000% (52).

Summary: Turmeric contains a powerful anti-inflammatory compound called curcumin. Eating black pepper in combination with turmeric can significantly increase the absorption of curcumin.

10. extra virgin olive oil

Extra virgin olive oil is one of the healthiest fats you can eat. It is rich in monounsaturated fats and is a cornerstone of the Mediterranean diet, which has numerous health benefits. Studies have linked extra virgin olive oil to a reduced risk of heart disease, brain tumors and other serious illnesses (53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59).

In a study looking at the Mediterranean diet, levels of CRP and other inflammatory markers fell significantly in those who consumed 50 ml of olive oil daily (57).

The effect of oleocanthal, an antioxidant found in olive oil, has been compared in studies with anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (58).

It should be kept in mind that the anti-inflammatory benefits of extra virgin olive oil are much stronger than those of more processed olive oils (59).

Summary: Extra virgin olive oil provides pronounced anti-inflammatory benefits that may reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer and other serious illnesses.

11 Dark chocolate and cocoa

Dark chocolate is delicious and satisfying. It's also packed with antioxidants that reduce inflammation. These antioxidants can reduce the risk of disease and contribute to healthier aging (60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65).

Flavanols are responsible for the anti-inflammatory effects of dark chocolate and can keep the endothelial cells that line the blood vessels healthy (64, 65). In one study, a significant improvement in endothelial function was observed in smokers two hours after eating chocolate rich in flavanols (65).

However, one should make sure to choose dark chocolate that contains at least 70% cocoa - with more being better - to reap the full anti-inflammatory benefits. Summary: Flavanols in dark chocolate and cocoa can reduce inflammation and lower the risk of a number of diseases.

12 Tomatoes

Tomatoes are a nutritional powerhouse. They are rich in vitamin C, potassium and antioxidants with impressive anti-inflammatory properties (66, 67, 68, 69). Lycopene may be particularly useful in reducing levels of pro-inflammatory compounds associated with different types of cancer (67, 68).

One study found that consumption of tomato juice significantly reduced levels of various inflammatory markers in overweight, non-obese women (69).

At this point, it should be noted that cooking tomatoes in olive oil maximizes the amount of lycopene that the body can absorb (70). This is due to the fact that lycopene is a carotenoid that is fat-soluble. Carotenoids are better absorbed when combined with a fat source.

Summary: Tomatoes are an excellent source of lycopene, which can reduce inflammation and protect against cancer.

13 Cherries

Cherries are delicious and are a rich source of antioxidants such as anthocyanins and catechins, which fight inflammation (71, 72, 73, 74, 75). Although the health benefits of tart cherries have been studied more extensively than those of other cherry varieties, sweet cherries can also provide health benefits.

One study found that subjects who consumed 280 grams of cherries daily for one month had lower levels of the inflammatory marker CRP - which remained lower for 28 days after they stopped eating cherries (75).

Summary: Sweet cherries and sour cherries contain antioxidants that can reduce inflammation and lower the risk of certain diseases.


Even mild chronic inflammation can lead to disease. You should therefore do your best to keep inflammation under control by eating a wide range of antioxidant-rich foods.

Bell peppers, dark chocolate, fish and extra virgin olive oil are just a few foods that can help you reduce inflammation and lower your risk of disease.




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