Diet & Lifestyle

The Top Anti-inflammatory Foods List

Fact Checked
Written by &
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Alex Keller, ND
Blog Diet & Lifestyle
The Top Anti-inflammatory Foods List

Inflammation is your body’s response to injury, irritation, or infection. It’s a natural bodily response and an entirely normal part of the healing process. However, it’s also possible that low levels of unchecked, chronic inflammation could be silently wreaking havoc on your health. Chronic inflammation has been identified as a major contributor to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and other chronic illnesses. (36)

Luckily, incorporating anti-inflammatory foods into your diet is a practical (and tasty) way to offset harmful inflammation.

5 glasses with different fruits in them with raw fruits in front of the glasses

When it comes to picking out the top inflammation-fighting foods, try and taste the rainbow— most anti-inflammatory foods are naturally vibrant and colorful.

Top 13 anti-inflammatory foods

The 13 foods included below are among the best of the best when it comes to anti-inflammatory effects.

1. Avocados

Ah, avocados. How could they not make the list? Avocados come with a laundry list of health benefits, but it’s the sugars found in avocados that may make them particularly good at reducing inflammation. One study found that AV119, a patented blend of sugars found in avocado, was effective in blocking the proinflammatory response in keratinocytes, specific cells involved in the body’s innate immune response. (6)

In another study where participants ate hamburgers with or without a slice of Hass avocado on top, those who ate the burger with the added avocado topping had lower levels of inflammatory markers following the meal. (31)

2. Berries — açai, blueberries, strawberries, kiwi berries, raspberries, and blackberries

I’m sure this isn’t the first time you’ve heard that berries are overall very, very good for you. Their high antioxidant levels ⁠— specifically antioxidants called anthocyanins—are what make berries particularly beneficial when it comes to targeting inflammation. In one study where overweight men and women ate strawberries for six weeks every day, the results suggested that eating strawberries can offset the intake of unhealthy foods that trigger inflammation. (7)

Although there are countless varieties of berries, some of the most studied for their anti-inflammatory properties are:

  • Açai berries (30)
  • Blueberries (33)
  • Blackberries (4)
  • Black currants (28)
  • Raspberries (24)
  • Strawberries (7)
  • Kiwi berries (29)
kiwi berries in a black bowl

Kiwi berries are nutritional ninjas poised to be the next Açai popularity-wise. New research has shown kiwi berries have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory powers. (11)

Did you know?
Kiwi berries contain over 20 essential nutrients and a range of vitamins. (1)

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes and tomato juice are both chock-full of several antioxidants with powerful anti-inflammatory properties, such as vitamin C, lycopene, and potassium. Tomatoes happen to be the richest source of lycopene in a traditional Western diet. Lycopene is particularly effective at reducing inflammation, as well as the risk of certain cancers and heart disease. In one study with 106 obese and overweight females, drinking 330 ml of tomato juice daily for 20 days was shown to reduce levels of inflammation. (2)(14)(22)(41)

Did you know?
Cooking tomatoes in olive oil can increase your ability to absorb lycopene when you eat them, as the cooking process appears to make lycopene more available. (10)

4. Cherries

Does eating 45 cherries a day keep inflammation away? Studies have shown it can! Packed full of antioxidants like catechins and anthocyanins, cherries are very effective at decreasing oxidative stress and fighting inflammation. In one study, where participants ate 280 grams of cherries daily for a month, levels of inflammatory biomarkers were significantly reduced. The best part? The levels stayed low for 28 days after they had stopped consuming cherries daily! (9)(23)(25)

cherries in a bowl

Both sweet and tart cherries have been shown to contain antioxidants that reduce inflammation and combat chronic illness.

Did you know?
There have been at least sixteen published human studies that have examined the connection between cherry consumption and inflammatory markers. (25)(26)

5. Turmeric

Turmeric, a spice derived from the rhizome of the Curcuma longa plant, has long been recognized for its medicinal properties. The beneficial effects of turmeric include anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant activity. Turmeric is composed of approximately two to five percent curcumin, its most active component, commonly found in supplement form. However, research has found that several of the health benefits of this spice occur independently of curcumin, which suggests there may be additional benefits to consuming whole turmeric. (18)

6. Mushrooms — oysters, enokis, shiitakes, honey browns, and white buttons

Mushrooms are rich in selenium, B vitamins, copper, phenols, and other antioxidants that provide anti-inflammatory protection against inflammatory conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). (8)(13)(37)

Did you know?
Mushrooms can be a great way to lower inflammation naturally — but only if you don’t overcook them! Studies have shown that overcooking mushrooms can reduce the power of its anti-inflammatory compounds drastically. To reap the anti-inflammatory effects of mushrooms, aim to eat them lightly cooked or raw. (17)

woman cutting up a mushroom

Though there are thousands of varieties of mushrooms you could forage for worldwide, only a few are edible, grown commercially, and have been studied.

7. Salmon and other fatty fish

Salmon, a commonly-consumed fatty fish, is an excellent source for protein as well as long-chain omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). EPA and DHA have been shown to have strong anti-inflammatory properties once your body metabolizes the acids into compounds called protectins and resolvins. (44) To reap the anti-inflammatory effects of salmon, aim to have it once a week for at least eight weeks in a row. (15)

Not a salmon lover? Other cold-water fatty fish that provide high levels of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids include:

  • Anchovies
  • Sardines
  • Herring
  • Mackerel (35)

8. Lentils and kale

If you are looking for a meal that is a one-stop-shop for all things micronutrients, then whip up something with lentils and kale! Studies have shown that the combination of lentils and kale is particularly effective and complementary when it comes to combating inflammation — being they are both jam-packed with phytonutrients, minerals, and other vitamins. (34)(36)

9. Dark chocolate and cocoa

Dark chocolate and all things cocoa are not only delicious, but they are also nutritious! The cocoa found in chocolate is full of antioxidants, which can help reduce inflammation in the body⁠ —and quickly. In one study, smokers who drank a cocoa drink experienced a significant improvement in endothelial function a mere two hours after ingestion. (20) Endothelial cells line the arteries and play a role in regulating inflammation throughout circulation. (32)

To get the most anti-inflammatory health benefits from your chocolate, try and opt for a bar of dark chocolate that contains 70% cocoa or higher. (27) A diet high in sugar has been shown to increase inflammation, so it’s important to look for chocolate with as little sugar as you can find. (36)

Did you know?
The flavonols found in dark chocolate and cocoa are what’s responsible for chocolate’s strong anti-inflammatory properties. (11)(20)

10. Broccoli

Broccoli is an absolute nutritional dynamo that deserves the title of superfood. Studies have shown that eating this cruciferous vegetable regularly is associated with a decreased risk of heart disease and certain cancers. It’s also one of the best natural sources for sulforaphane — a powerful antioxidant with notable anti-inflammatory properties. (16)(21)(45)

Did you know?
Broccoli may be particularly good at alleviating and controlling inflammation caused by Crohn’s disease. (12)

11. Grapes

All grapes — the red, purple, and green ones —are packed with, you guessed it, antioxidants! Specifically, grapes are full of anthocyanins and resveratrol, both of which have been shown to reduce inflammation. In one study where people with heart disease consumed a liquid grape extract daily for a year, participants experienced a decrease in inflammatory gene markers. (5)(40)

Did you know?
You can freeze grapes. Frozen grapes can make for a tasty snack, or they can jazz up a glass of water or be thrown into smoothies.

12. Chili peppers and bell peppers

Chili peppers are packed with antioxidants and vitamin C, two key nutrients responsible for their significant anti-inflammatory effects. Hot chili peppers are also a great source of sinapic acid and ferulic acid, which can reduce inflammation. (3)(39)

Though if you can’t handle the heat of chili peppers, know you can also opt for bell peppers. Bell peppers have been shown to contain capsaicin, which may have anti-inflammatory effects in individuals with inflammatory conditions. (38)

Did you know?
Scientists are heavily studying the anti-inflammatory effects and therapeutic application of water extract from bell peppers. (19)

red, green, yellow peppers in a bowl all together

Peppers ⁠— spicy and mild varieties alike – are some of the best natural anti-inflammatory foods.

13. Chia seeds

Chia seeds are a superb source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a type of omega-3 fatty acid found in certain plant foods. In the body, small amounts of ALA are converted to the bioactive fatty acids EPA and DHA. (35)

The ALA present in chia seeds makes them a great choice to sprinkle on yogurt or cereal or mix into your morning smoothie. (42) Other plant-based foods that contain ALA include walnuts, flax seeds, flaxseed oil, and soybeans. (43)

Easy meal ideas with the best anti-inflammatory foods

We’ve come up with some simple meal ideas that incorporate the top anti-inflammatory foods from this list. Consider the following meal and snack ideas:

Breakfast: A smoothie with strawberries, avocado, kale, and apple; or a chia bowl or oatmeal with berries and little dark chocolate nibs
Lunch: lentils with brown rice and kale; or grilled salmon and broccoli
Snacks: fresh berry fruit salad; an apple and a piece of 70% chocolate; chia seed pudding; or guacamole on a whole-grain toast with black pepper
Beverages: certain herbal teas (e.g., ginger, turmeric) or green tea

There are lots of different and delicious anti-inflammatory food options you can try —remember to mix it up to maximize your wellbeing!

The bottom line

Keep in mind that low levels of inflammation can easily go unnoticed. By regularly incorporating a variety of anti-inflammatory foods into your diet, you can reduce the risk of chronic inflammation, a process associated with many chronic health conditions. To learn more about the specifics of the anti-inflammatory diet, read our post on the Fullscript blog.

Fullscript simplifies supplement dispensing

Create your dispensary today I'm a patient
Save time.
Help more patients.
Access free evidence-based protocols
right in your Fullscript account!
Browse the protocols

New to Fullscript? Sign up now.

  1. An, X., Lee, S. G., Kang, H., Heo, H. J., Cho, Y.-S., & Kim, D.-O. (2016). Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of various cultivars of kiwi berry (Actinidia arguta) on lipopolysaccharide-stimulated RAW 264.7 cells. Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology, 26(8), 1367–1374.
  2. Burton-Freeman, B., & Sesso, H. D. (2014). Whole food versus supplement: Comparing the clinical evidence of tomato intake and lycopene supplementation on cardiovascular risk factors. Advances in Nutrition, 5(5), 457–485.
  3. Chen, C. (2016). Sinapic acid and its derivatives as medicine in oxidative stress-induced diseases and aging. Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity, 2016, 1–10.
  4. Dai, J., Patel, J. D., & Mumper, R. J. (2007). Characterization of blackberry extract and its antiproliferative and anti-inflammatory properties. Journal of Medicinal Food, 10(2), 258–265.
  5. de Sá Coutinho, D., Pacheco, M. T., Frozza, R. L., & Bernardi, A. (2018). Anti-inflammatory effects of resveratrol: Mechanistic insights. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 19(6), 1812.
  6. Donnarumma, G., Paoletti, I., Buommino, E., Fusco, A., Baudouin, C., Msika, P., … Baroni, A. (2010). AV119, a natural sugar from Avocado gratissima, modulates the LPS-induced proinflammatory response in human keratinocytes. Inflammation, 34(6), 568–575.
  7. Ellis, C. L., Edirisinghe, I., Kappagoda, T., & Burton-Freeman, B. (2011). Attenuation of meal-induced inflammatory and thrombotic responses in overweight men and women after 6-week daily strawberry (Fragaria) intake. Journal of Atherosclerosis and Thrombosis, 18(4), 318–327.
  8. Elsayed, E. A., El Enshasy, H., Wadaan, M. A., & Aziz, R. (2014). Mushrooms: A potential natural source of anti-inflammatory compounds for medical applications. Mediators of Inflammation, 2014, 805841.
  9. Ferretti, G., Bacchetti, T., Belleggia, A., & Neri, D. (2010). Cherry antioxidants: From farm to table. Molecules, 15(10), 6993–7005.
  10. Fielding, J. M., Rowley, K. G., Cooper, P., & O’Dea, K. (2005). Increases in plasma lycopene concentration after consumption of tomatoes cooked with olive oil. Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 14(2), 131–136.
  11. Fisher, N. D., & Hollenberg, N. K. (2006). Aging and vascular responses to flavanol-rich cocoa. Journal of Hypertension, 24(8), 1575–1580.
  12. Folkard, D. L., Marlow, G., Mithen, R. F., & Ferguson, L. R. (2015). Effect of sulforaphane on NOD2 via NF-κB: Implications for Crohn’s disease. Journal of Inflammation, 12, 6.
  13. Ganeshpurkar, A., & Rai, G. (2013). Experimental evaluation of analgesic and anti-inflammatory potential of oyster mushroom Pleurotus florida. Indian Journal of Pharmacology, 45(1), 66–70.
  14. Ghavipour, M., Saedisomeolia, A., Djalali, M., Sotoudeh, G., Eshraghyan, M. R., Moghadam, A. M., & Wood, L. G. (2012). Tomato juice consumption reduces systemic inflammation in overweight and obese females. British Journal of Nutrition, 109(11), 2031–2035.
  15. Grimstad, T., Berge, R. K., Bohov, P., Skorve, J., Gøransson, L., Omdal, R., … Hausken, T. (2010). Salmon diet in patients with active ulcerative colitis reduced the simple clinical colitis activity index and increased the anti-inflammatory fatty acid index – a pilot study. Scandinavian Journal of Clinical and Laboratory Investigation, 71(1), 68–73.
  16. Guerrero-Beltrán, C. E., Calderón-Oliver, M., Pedraza-Chaverri, J., & Chirino, Y. I. (2012). Protective effect of sulforaphane against oxidative stress: Recent advances. Experimental and Toxicologic Pathology, 64(5), 503–508.
  17. Gunawardena, D., Bennett, L., Shanmugam, K., King, K., Williams, R., Zabaras, D., … Münch, G. (2014). Anti-inflammatory effects of five commercially available mushroom species determined in lipopolysaccharide and interferon-γ activated murine macrophages. Food Chemistry, 148, 92–96.
  18. Gupta, S. C., Sung, B., Kim, J. H., Prasad, S., Li, S., & Aggarwal, B. B. (2012). Multitargeting by turmeric, the golden spice: From kitchen to clinic. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, 57(9), 1510–1528.
  19. Hazekawa, M., Hideshima, Y., Ono, K., Nishinakagawa, T., Kawakubo‑Yasukochi, T., Takatani‑Nakase, T., & Nakashima, M. (2017). Anti‑inflammatory effects of water extract from bell pepper (Capsicum annuum L. var. grossum) leaves in vitro. Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine, 14(5), 4349–4355.
  20. Heiss, C., Kleinbongard, P., Dejam, A., Perré, S., Schroeter, H., Sies, H., & Kelm, M. (2005). Acute consumption of flavanol-rich cocoa and the reversal of endothelial dysfunction in smokers. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 46(7), 1276–1283.
  21. Hwang, J. H., & Lim, S. B. (2014). Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities of broccoli florets in LPS-stimulated RAW 264.7 cells. Preventive Nutrition and Food Science, 19(2), 89–97.
  22. Ip, B. C., & Wang, X. D. (2013). Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis and hepatocellular carcinoma: Implications for lycopene intervention. Nutrients, 6(1), 124–162.
  23. Jacob, R. A., Spinozzi, G. M., Simon, V. A., Kelley, D. S., Prior, R. L., Hess-Pierce, B., & Kader, A. A. (2003). Consumption of cherries lowers plasma urate in healthy women. The Journal of Nutrition, 133(6), 1826–1829.
  24. Jean-Gilles, D., Li, L., Ma, H., Yuan, T., Chichester, C. O., 3rd, & Seeram, N. P. (2012). Anti-inflammatory effects of polyphenolic-enriched red raspberry extract in an antigen-induced arthritis rat model. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 60(23), 5755–5762.
  25. Kelley, D. S., Adkins, Y., Reddy, A., Woodhouse, L. R., Mackey, B. E., & Erickson, K. L. (2013). Sweet bing cherries lower circulating concentrations of markers for chronic inflammatory diseases in healthy humans. The Journal of Nutrition, 143(3), 340–344.
  26. Kelley, D. S., Adkins, Y., & Laugero, K. D. (2018). A review of the health benefits of cherries. Nutrients, 10(3), 368.
  27. Khan, N., Khymenets, O., Urpí-Sardà, M., Tulipani, S., Garcia-Aloy, M., Monagas, M., … Andres-Lacueva, C. (2014). Cocoa polyphenols and inflammatory markers of cardiovascular disease. Nutrients, 6(2), 844–880.
  28. Kim, B., Lee, S. G., Park, Y. K., Ku, C. S., Pham, T. X., Wegner, C. J., … Lee, J. Y. (2016). Blueberry, blackberry, and blackcurrant differentially affect plasma lipids and pro-inflammatory markers in diet-induced obesity mice. Nutrition Research and Practice, 10(5), 494–500.
  29. Latocha P. (2017). The nutritional and health benefits of kiwiberry (Actinidia arguta) – a review. Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, 72(4), 325–334.
  30. Lee, J. Y., Kim, N., Choi, Y. J., Nam, R. H., Lee, S., Ham, M. H., … Lee, D. H. (2016). Anti-inflammatory and anti-tumorigenic effects of açai berry in Helicobacter felis-infected mice. Journal of Cancer Prevention, 21(1), 48–54.
  31. Li, Z., Wong, A., Henning, S. M., Zhang, Y., Jones, A., Zerlin, A., … Heber, D. (2013). Hass avocado modulates postprandial vascular reactivity and postprandial inflammatory responses to a hamburger meal in healthy volunteers. Food & Function, 4(3), 384–391.
  32. Linton, M. F., Yancey, P. G., Davies, S. S., Jerome, W. G., Linton, E. F., Song, W. L., … Vickers, K. C. (2019). The role of lipids and lipoproteins in atherosclerosis. In Endotext [Internet]. Retrieved from
  33. McAnulty, L. S., Nieman, D. C., Dumke, C. L., Shooter, L. A., Henson, D. A., Utter, A. C., … McAnulty, S. R. (2011). Effect of blueberry ingestion on natural killer cell counts, oxidative stress, and inflammation prior to and after 2.5 h of running. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 36(6), 976–984.
  34. Migliozzi, M., Thavarajah, D., Thavarajah, P., & Smith, P. (2015). Lentil and kale: Complementary nutrient-rich whole food sources to combat micronutrient and calorie malnutrition. Nutrients, 7(11), 9285–9298.
  35. National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. (2019). Omega-3 fatty acids. Retrieved from
  36. Pahwa, R., Singh, A., & Jialal, I. (2019). Chronic inflammation. In StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island, FL: StatPearls Publishing. Retrieved from
  37. Schwartz, B., & Hadar, Y. (2014). Possible mechanisms of action of mushroom-derived glucans on inflammatory bowel disease and associated cancer. Annals of Translational Medicine, 2(2), 19.
  38. Spiller, F., Alves, M. K., Vieira, S. M., Carvalho, T. A., Leite, C. E., Lunardelli, A., … de Oliveira, J. R. (2008). Anti-inflammatory effects of red pepper (Capsicum baccatum) on carrageenan- and antigen-induced inflammation. Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, 60(4), 473–478.
  39. Srinivasan, M., Sudheer, A. R., & Menon, V. P. (2007). Ferulic acid: Therapeutic potential through its antioxidant property. Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition, 40(2), 92–100.
  40. Tomé-Carneiro, J., Gonzálvez, M., Larrosa, M., Yáñez-Gascón, M. J., García-Almagro, F. J., Ruiz-Ros, J. A., … Espín, J. C. (2013). Grape resveratrol increases serum adiponectin and downregulates inflammatory genes in peripheral blood mononuclear cells: A triple-blind, placebo-controlled, one-year clinical trial in patients with stable coronary artery disease. Cardiovascular Drugs and Therapy, 27(1), 37–48.
  41. Trejo-Solís, C., Pedraza-Chaverrí, J., Torres-Ramos, M., Jiménez-Farfán, D., Cruz Salgado, A., Serrano-García, N., … Sotelo, J. (2013). Multiple molecular and cellular mechanisms of action of lycopene in cancer inhibition. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2013, 705121.
  42. Ullah, R., Nadeem, M., Khalique, A., Imran, M., Mehmood, S., Javid, A., & Hussain, J. (2016). Nutritional and therapeutic perspectives of chia (Salvia hispanica L.): A review. Journal of Food Science and Technology, 53(4), 1750–1758.
  43. U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2018). Omega-3 fats – Good for your heart. Retrieved from
  44. Weylandt, K. H., Chiu, C.-Y., Gomolka, B., Waechter, S. F., & Wiedenmann, B. (2012). Omega-3 fatty acids and their lipid mediators: Towards an understanding of resolvin and protectin formation. Prostaglandins & Other Lipid Mediators, 97(3–4), 73–82.
  45. Zhang, X., Shu, X. O., Xiang, Y. B., Yang, G., Li, H., Gao, J., … Zheng, W. (2011). Cruciferous vegetable consumption is associated with a reduced risk of total and cardiovascular disease mortality. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 94(1), 240–246.


The information in this article is designed for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. This information should not be used to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting a doctor. Consult with a health care practitioner before relying on any information in this article or on this website.

Fullscript content philosophy

At Fullscript, we are committed to curating accurate, and reliable educational content for practitioners and patients alike. Our educational offerings cover a broad range of topics related to integrative medicine, such as supplement ingredients, diet, lifestyle, and health conditions.

Medically reviewed by expert practitioners and our internal Integrative Medical Advisory team, all Fullscript content adheres to the following guidelines:

  1. In order to provide unbiased and transparent education, information is based on a research review and obtained from trustworthy sources, such as peer-reviewed articles and government websites. All medical statements are linked to the original reference and all sources of information are disclosed within the article.
  2. Information about supplements is always based on ingredients. No specific products are mentioned or promoted within educational content.
  3. A strict policy against plagiarism is maintained; all our content is unique, curated by our team of writers and editors at Fullscript. Attribution to individual writers and editors is clearly stated in each article.
  4. Resources for patients are intended to be educational and do not replace the relationship between health practitioners and patients. In all content, we clearly recommend that readers refer back to their healthcare practitioners for all health-related questions.
  5. All content is updated on a regular basis to account for new research and industry trends, and the last update date is listed at the top of every article.
  6. Potential conflicts of interest are clearly disclosed.
Send this to a friend