15 Anti-Inflammatory Foods

What to eat to fight inflammation and protect yourself from disease

Anti-inflammatory foods have quite a few benefits, including properties that help to boost your immune system and reduce inflammation. Health conditions, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and depression, are among those linked to chronic inflammation.

An anti-inflammatory diet may be one way to counter inflammation in the body. Foods that are high in antioxidants, which work to prevent cell damage, may help.

This article reviews 15 anti-inflammatory foods worth adding to your grocery list and their related health benefits.



@ampics / Twenty20

Almonds are a great source of monounsaturated (healthy) fats, vitamin E, and manganese. They’re also rich in magnesium and plant protein.

In research studies, eating almonds has been associated with a lower risk of heart disease. They may improve the balance of fatty acids in your blood.

Almonds can also give you a "full" feeling. They’re a little higher in calories than many other anti-inflammatory foods, but eating a handful of them may help you stick with a healthy weight loss plan.



@jeff.garroway / Twenty20

The avocado is an anti-inflammatory food that is rich in heart-healthy fats. It's also a good source of magnesium, fiber, and potassium.

Half an avocado adds nicely to your daily intake of vitamins C, A, E, and B-complex vitamins. Bonus: They're low in sodium.

Avocados also contain polyphenols that work as antioxidants. Antioxidants fight cell damage in your body. Add avocado slices to a sandwich or salad, or make a tasty guacamole.


Two broccoli florets and kitchen cleaver on dark wood
Westend61 / Getty Images

Broccoli is a member of the cruciferous family of vegetables. It's high in phytochemicals called glucosinolates. Phytochemicals are plant-based antioxidants.

Broccoli is also an excellent source of vitamin C, potassium, calcium, and vitamin A, all while being low in calories.

It's easy to get more of this anti-inflammatory food into your diet because it's so versatile and can be used cooked, especially in recipes, or be eaten raw.

Studies show that eating a diet high in cruciferous vegetables, including broccoli, is linked to a lower risk of some types of cancer.


Part of wickerbasket with blueberries (Vaccinium myrtillus) on wooden table
Westend61 / Getty Images

Blueberries contain a lot of polyphenols. These plant-based chemicals, including flavonoids, anthocyanins, phenolic acids, and tannins, prevent and repair cell damage. They trigger antioxidant activity and may help to prevent cancer and heart disease.

Lab studies show the chemicals in blueberries may also slow the growth of cancer cells and lower inflammation.

This anti-inflammatory pick is also low in calories and adds vitamin C, vitamin E, and fiber to your daily diet. 


Arx0nt / Getty Images

Beta-carotene is one of the main reasons carrots made this list of anti-inflammatory foods.

A powerful antioxidant, beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A in the body. This vitamin is essential for your health.

Carrots also contain zeaxanthin and lutein. A diet rich in these antioxidants may help reduce your risk of cancer by preventing damage to the healthy cells of your body.

Since carrots are low in calories and a good source of fiber, they can also help you lose weight if necessary. That's important because obesity is a risk factor for heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers. 

Dry Beans

Row of spoons with different dried pulses
Westend61 / Getty Images

Dry beans, such as navy beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, and black beans, are an excellent source of plant protein, minerals, B-complex vitamins, and vitamin K.

They're also chock-full of fiber, and they contain polyphenols that work as antioxidants.

Since beans are high in protein, they're perfect for meatless meals.

Research suggests that dry beans are an anti-inflammatory food that may prevent some types of heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.


Crate of Freshly Harvested Kale Vegetable Varieties Hz
YinYang / Getty Images

Kale is an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K. It's also rich in calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin C . Kale is low in sodium and calories. An extra benefit: Kale has a bit of fiber. 

Kale contains glucosinolates that may help prevent cancer. It also has lutein and zeaxanthin, which may help lower your risk of cataracts and macular degeneration.

Also, lutein may help prevent atherosclerosis, a buildup of hard plaque in your blood vessels.

Add kale to a salad or eat kale chips as a snack for an anti-inflammatory benefit.

Olive Oil

Olive oil bottle and branch
101dalmatians / Getty Images

Olive oil is part of the Mediterranean diet, which has been linked to heart health and long life. It also includes many anti-inflammatory foods for arthritis.

It's rich in monounsaturated fats that are good for your blood vessels. It also has polyphenols that work to protect the cells in your body.

Olive oil helps to reduce inflammation. It lowers cholesterol, and its polyphenols may help prevent some cancers.

It's an amazing oil to add to your kitchen. It's not always best for cooking but it's perfect for salad dressings and for finishing vegetable side dishes.


Navel Oranges on rustic pine wood table
Ken Gillespie Photography / Getty Images

Oranges are a great source of vitamin C and potassium. They also contain fiber, calcium, and folate. The fiber and folate in oranges may help keep your heart healthy. Vitamin C is essential for immune system function. It also builds strong connective tissue and keeps blood vessels healthy.

Oranges and orange juice are excellent in an anti-inflammatory diet.

You don't need to save them for breakfast. Oranges make a great snack and can be added to lots of dishes and salads.

Anti-Inflammatory Fruits

Oranges, along with grapefruits, are high in a certain type of flavonoid called narirutin. As a type of polyphenol, these flavonoids have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Other types of flavonoids are found in most berries, as well as some varieties of grapes and apples.


Cedar Wrapped Salmon
Lauri Patterson / Getty Images

Salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids—more than any other type of fish or seafood. Studies suggest people who eat more of these fatty acids may be less likely to suffer from dry eyes.

It's also good for the heart because the healthy fats lower inflammation and keep cholesterol in check.

The American Heart Association suggests eating fatty fish, such as salmon, sardines, and mackerel, at least twice a week. Salmon is a great choice because it is a good source of an antioxidant called astaxanthin.


Fresh organic spinach on wooden background
istetiana / Getty Images

Spinach is another anti-inflammatory food and is one of the best-known superfoods. It contains lutein, which is related to vitamin A and beta-carotene.

Spinach also gives you iron, vitamin K, and folate. It is very low in calories, so it may help with weight loss. 

Research shows that people who eat green, leafy vegetables like spinach may have less risk of macular degeneration. It's a good idea to add plenty of fresh or cooked spinach to your diet.


Strawberries in metal bowl
Diana Miller / Getty Images

Strawberries are low in calories and high in fiber. They contain vitamins and minerals your body needs to function normally, including a lot of vitamin C.

They also have anti-inflammatory properties. 

Just about all berries are good for you because the pigments that give them their color also contain antioxidants that can help to reduce inflammation.

Sweet Potatoes

Row sweet potatoand knife on jute, wood
Westend61 / Getty Images

Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamins and minerals. Like most orange-colored vegetables, they're high in vitamin A and beta-carotene, a potent antioxidant.

Sweet potatoes are also an excellent source of vitamins C and K, potassium, and B complex vitamins.

They have plenty of fiber and aren't too high in calories. A baked sweet potato is an excellent side dish choice. Or, you can top it with baked beans and broccoli and eat it as a meal.

Swiss Chard

Swiss Chard
Carlos Gawronski / Getty Images

Swiss chard is a colorful, leafy green vegetable to add to your anti-inflammatory shopping list.

Swiss chard is an excellent source of vitamins A and K and several minerals. It's very low in calories.

Research shows that Swiss chard may have flavonoids that work as antioxidants to lower inflammation.


Walnut pieces and nutcracker on cutting board, close-up
Gregor Schuster / Getty Images

Walnuts are a good source of healthy fats, protein, vitamin E, minerals, and phytochemicals called sterols. They also contain monounsaturated and omega-3 fatty acids that are good for your heart. 

Walnuts are energy-dense, so you may need to watch your portion size. Even though they are high in calories, a handful can help you feel full longer. In that way, they may actually help you to lose weight while they fight inflammation.


What you eat can help to reduce the inflammation in your body. Dark leafy greens, dried beans, and brightly colored fruits and vegetables contain plant-based nutrients that fight inflammation. So do healthy sources of fat such as avocados, nuts, olive oil, and salmon.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What foods cause inflammation?

    Fried foods, refined carbohydrates like white flour and pasta, sugary drinks, red meat, processed meat, and fats like margarine and shortening are believed to increase inflammation.

  • What can I drink to reduce inflammation?

    Water, tea, coffee, milk, acidic juices, smoothies, and moderate amounts of alcohol (specifically red wine) can help fight inflammation.

  • Are eggs anti-inflammatory?

    Yes. Eggs are a source of vitamin D, which has anti-inflammatory effects, as well as protein and B vitamins. Certain antioxidant carotenoids (including lutein) also are found in eggs.

  • What are some good anti-inflammatory snacks?

    Berries all have high amounts of anti-inflammatory anthocyanins. Tart cherries and plums have them too. If you want a different texture and crunch, try kale chips or apples. Nuts and dark chocolate also contain antioxidants.

21 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Harvard Health. Foods that fight inflammation.

  2. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Antioxidants: In Depth.

  3. Lee-Bravatti MA, Wang J, Avendano EE, King L, Johnson EJ, Raman G. Almond consumption and risk factors for cardiovascular disease: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Adv Nutr. 2019;10(6):1076-1088. doi: 10.1093/advances/nmz043.

  4. Dreher ML, Davenport AJ. Hass avocado composition and potential health effects. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2013;53(7):738-50. doi:10.1080/10408398.2011.556759

  5. Renaud EN, Lammerts van Bueren ET, Myers JR, et al. Variation in broccoli cultivar phytochemical content under organic and conventional management systems: implications in breeding for nutrition. PLoS ONE. 2014;9(7):e95683. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0095683

  6. American Institute for Cancer Research. Broccoli and cruciferous vegetables: Reduce overall cancer risk.

  7. American Institute for Cancer Research. Foods that fight cancer: Blueberries.

  8. Mallet JF, Shahbazi R, Alsadi N, Matar C. Polyphenol-Enriched Blueberry Preparation Controls Breast Cancer Stem Cells by Targeting FOXO1 and miR-145. Molecules. 2021 Jul 17;26(14):4330. doi:10.3390/molecules26144330. 

  9. Ahmad T, Cawood M, Iqbal Q, et al. Phytochemicals in Daucus carota and their health benefits-review articleFoods. 2019;8(9):424. doi:10.3390/foods8090424

  10. Bouchenak M, Lamri-Senhadji M. Nutritional quality of legumes, and their role in cardiometabolic risk prevention: a review. J Med Food. 2013;16(3):185-98. doi:10.1089/jmf.2011.0238

  11. Ganesan K, Xu B. Polyphenol-rich dry common beans (phaseolus vulgaris L.) and their health benefits. Int J Mol Sci. 2017;18(11):2331. doi:10.3390/ijms18112331

  12. Santangelo C, Vari R, Scazzocchio B, et al. Anti-inflammatory activity of extra virgin olive oil polyphenols: Which role in the prevention and treatment of immune-mediated inflammatory diseases? Endocr Metab Immune Disord Drug Targets. 2018;18(1):36-50. doi:10.2174/1871530317666171114114321

  13. Saita E, Kondo K, Momiyama Y. Anti-inflammatory diet for atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease: Antioxidant foods. Clin Med Insights Cardiol. 2015;8(Suppl 3):61-5. doi:10.4137/CMC.S17071

  14. Mitra S, Lami MS, Uddin TM, Das R, Islam F, Anjum J, et al. Prospective multifunctional roles and pharmacological potential of dietary flavonoid narirutin. Biomed Pharmacother. 2022 Jun;150:112932. doi:10.1016/j.biopha.2022.112932.

  15. Heydari B, Abbasi SA, Shah R, et al. Effect of purified omega-3 fatty acids on reducing left ventricular remodeling after acute myocardial infarction (OMEGA-REMODEL study): a double-blind randomized clinical trial)J Cardiovasc Magn Reson. 2015;17(Suppl 1):O7. doi:10.1186/1532-429X-17-S1-O7

  16. Roberts JL, Moreau R. Functional properties of spinach (Spinacia oleracea L.) phytochemicals and bioactives. Food Funct. 2016;7(8):3337-53. doi:10.1039/c6fo00051g

  17. Basu A, Schell J, Scofield RH. Dietary fruits and arthritis. Food Funct. 2018;9(1):70-77. doi:10.1039/c7fo01435j

  18. Mzoughi Z, Chahdoura H, Chakroun Y, et al. Wild edible Swiss chard leaves (Beta vulgaris L. var. cicla): Nutritional, phytochemical composition and biological activities. Food Res Int. 2019;119:612-621. doi:10.1016/j.foodres.2018.10.039

  19. Arthritis Foundation. Best drinks for arthritis.

  20. Andersen CJ. Bioactive Egg Components and Inflammation. Nutrients. 2015 Sep 16;7(9):7889-913. doi:10.3390/nu7095372. 

  21. Ricker MA, Haas WC. Anti-inflammatory diet in clinical practice: a reviewNutr Clin Pract. 2017;32(3):318-25. doi:10.1177/0884533617700353

Additional Reading

By Shereen Lehman, MS
Shereen Lehman, MS, is a healthcare journalist and fact checker.