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What are anti-inflammatory foods?

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Quick Answer

Olive oil, whole grains, fruits, vegetables and fish, especially salmon, herring, sardines and anchovies, are foods that may help lower inflammation in the body, according to WebMD. Polyunsaturated fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids found in walnuts, soybeans and canola oil, help suppress inflammatory chemicals.

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Replacing saturated and trans fats with omega-3 fatty acids decreases LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels, states WebMD. High blood levels of these substances promote the inflammation that is thought to be a critical factor in heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish high in omega-3s twice a week. Flavonoids, carotenoids and vitamin C found in fruits and vegetables are potent antioxidants, an important part of an inflammation-fighting diet. Blackberries, peppers, squash, sweet potatoes and broccoli are especially high in antioxidants.

A study showed that individuals who eat oatmeal, brown rice and barley can lower their levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation, notes WebMD. Whole grain pastas and breads also contain selenium, an inflammation-fighting antioxidant. Studies show that a compound in olive oil works in the same way as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to stop the production of the chemicals that induce inflammation. Extra-virgin olive oil contains the highest amount of anti-inflammatory nutrients.

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