Nuts; fatty fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel; and fruits and vegetables, such as berries, apples, tomatoes and leafy greens, can reduce inflammation and thus the risk of chronic diseases, according to Harvard Health Publications. These foods contain antioxidants and/or beneficial plant compounds called polyphenols that fight inflammation.
Harvard Health Publications and WebMD suggest the Mediterranean diet as a beneficial anti-inflammatory diet because it primarily consists of many anti-inflammatory foods, including fatty fish, olive oil, green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale, tomatoes, fruits and nuts. WebMD notes that some spices, such as ginger and curry, can also reduce inflammation.
Normal, protective inflammation arises when a person's immune system detects and fights foreign particles in the body. Chronic inflammation, however, occurs even when there are no foreign particles and is associated with many major diseases. Harvard Health Publications states that cancer, heart disease, arthritis, depression, Alzheimer's and diabetes have all been linked to chronic inflammation. An anti-inflammatory diet can reduce the risk of these diseases as well as promoting better health overall.
WebMD and Harvard Health Publications agree that some foods contribute to inflammation and should therefore be avoided, including sugar-sweetened beverages, refined carbohydrates such as white bread, fried foods, red meat, processed meat like hot dogs and sausages, and unhealthy fats like margarine and shortening.