Anti-inflammatory foods are packed with nutrients that lower inflammation and promote healing. Most of them also bring with them a long list of vitamins and minerals that support your overall health. Pro-inflammatory proteins often destroy the insulin-producing tissue in the pancreas early in the development of type 2 diabetes. Consequently, managing inflammation is an important part of caring for type 2 diabetes.
Part of a balanced diet is making sure you get a mix of anti-inflammatory foods. Some can be eaten raw or whole while others will need to be cooked. Grill, bake, use a crockpot, but vary your cooking methods to give your taste buds some variety so they’ll come back for more.
Bright and beautiful, these natural wonders will add some sweetness to your diet as well as powerful antioxidants called anthocyanins. They’re all bite-sized, so they make a great snack, cereal topper, or addition to a healthy smoothy.
Make a rainbow of color with:
Blueberries: increase the number of anti-inflammatory cytokines. They can also reduce oxidative stress and boost the number of your body’s natural killer cells.
Strawberries: have been shown to reduce inflammatory markers that contribute to diseases like heart disease.
Raspberries: on the list for anthocyanins.
Blackberries: Like the other berries, these beauties can feed your immune system and boost your heart health.
Fish (especially the fatty ones)
Fatty fish are full of the powerful omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA. EPA and DHA reduce inflammatory cytokines while improving liver and kidney health. If you’re looking for a quick hit try:
Don’t be fooled by the long name. Cruciferous vegetables feature some classic foods that have been gracing your plate for years. Broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, and kale are the four powerhouses with which you’re probably the most familiar. Broccoli, for example, reduces cytokines with its high content of sulforaphane. It and the other cruciferous vegetables also contribute to a lowered risk of heart disease and cancer.
Avocados are loaded with healthy nutrients whether you’re trying to reduce inflammation or not. They have carotenoids and tocopherols that lower your chances of cancer along with a natural sugar that regulates inflammatory responses in the keratinocytes.
This fabulous finger food does wonderful things for inflammation. Like raspberries, they contain anthocyanins with its antioxidant powers, but they bring resveratrol to the mix to lower cholesterol too.
You can’t forget tomatoes. They’re overflowing with vitamin C, potassium, and lycopene. Lycopene is a big hitter when it comes to fighting inflammation as it also helps prevent several different cancers. If you’re going to cook your tomatoes, try adding some olive oil to increase the amount of lycopene your body absorbs.
From fish and fruit to vegetables and berries, a diet full of anti-inflammatory foods need not be boring. Mix and match, but remember our list isn’t exhaustive. This is only the beginning. Pick a few of your favorites. Start snacking, adding them to meals, and using them as your go-to food when you need a quick pick up.
Susan Austin is a family research specialist with Family Living Today. A mother of three and small business owner in Texas, Austin spends her days juggling work and family life -- sometimes expertly, sometimes not.