Foods that can fight inflammation

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(PIX11) – Inflammation can protect your body and help it heal.

But if it gets out of control, inflammation – part of the body’s immune response – can be damaging, as in rheumatoid arthritis. Inflammation is also thought to play a role in obesity, heart disease and cancer.

Here are 14 foods that can curb potentially harmful inflammation, according to Health Magazine:

  • Fatty fish: Salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to help reduce inflammation. If you’re not a fan of fish, fish-oil supplements can provide similar benefits.
  • Whole grains: As opposed to refined grains, white bread, cereal, rice and pasta, whole grains have more fiber.
  • Dark leafy greens: High in vitamin E, greens like kale, spinach, broccoli and collard greens may play a role in protecting the body from cytokine, pro-inflammatory molecules.
  • Nuts: These are rich in fiber, calcium and vitamin E.
  • Soy: Estrogen-like compounds found in soy may help lower CRP and inflammation levels in women, studies have suggested. But avoid heavily processed soy. Instead, chose soy milk, tofu and edamame.
  • Low-fat dairy: For people who can tolerate it, low-fat and nonfat milk are a vital source of nutrients. And the probiotics found in yogurt can reduce inflammation in the gut.
  • Peppers: Capsaicin found in bell peppers is the same chemical used in topical creams that reduce pain and inflammation. But some doctors believe these veggies can exacerbate inflammation in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, so check with your physician first.
  • Tomatoes: They’re rich in lycopene, which has been shown to reduce inflammation in the lungs and throughout the body. Cooking tomatoes releases even more lycopene than if the veggies are eaten raw.
  • Beets: Fiber, vitamin C and plant pigments called betalains gives beets their inflammation-fighting powers.
  • Ginger and turmeric: These spices are common in Asian and Indian cooking.
  • Garlic and onions: Garlic has been shown to act similarly to NSAID pain medications, like ibuprofen; and onions contain similar anti-inflammatory chemicals.
  • Olive oil: The compound that gives olive oil its taste has been shown to have a similar effect as NSAID painkillers.
  • Berries: Because they’re low in fat and calories and high in antioxidants, all fruits can help fight inflammation. But berries in particular have been shown to pack an inflammation-fighting punch.
  • Tart cherries: These pucker-producing rubies have the “highest anti-inflammatory content of any food,” according to researchers at Oregon Health & Science University.

Click here to read more from Health Magazine.

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